There were mixed reviews on the recent rate cuts in the weekend money pages, alongside some topical features on lender’s profits and consumer attitudes. The Mail on Sunday reported that Abbey, Nationwide, Britannia, Cheltenham & Gloucester, Leeds and Yorkshire building societies made cuts to their fixed-rate mortgages last week. The Observer agreed that this was a welcome boost to homebuyers and anyone remortgaging with a decent deposit, but the best fixed rates are still available only to borrowers with substantial equity in their home, usually 25 per cent or more. First-time buyers may still struggle but experts advised anyone with the capital to act now.
The Sunday Times looked at the big-name mortgage lenders who have been accused of employing underhand moves to boost their profit margins and raising their loan fees by as much as three times the level they were a year ago. Reportedly, lenders have raked in £3m in the past month by lifting fees on fixed-rate deals by an average £50, while grabbing headlines by cutting their loan rates.
The Independent on Sunday concluded that pessimism still prevailed amongst homeowners after a survey of 2,500 homeowners by London & Country found, that on average, people think house prices will fall by another 15 per cent over the next two years. In addition, nearly half of those surveyed by L&C felt the market downturn would continue until at least 2010. More generally, homeowners were feeling the economic pinch, with seven out of 10 saying they had cut back on their household expenditure.