What the papers say - 30th and 31st August 2008

The general consensus in the weekend money pages was that the cost of borrowing is coming down, following decisions made by several large mortgage lenders to cut some of their rates. The Independent on Sunday reported that Britannia, Halifax, Nationwide and Abbey have been among the major high street lenders to cut the price of their two-year fixed rate mortgage deals, prompting a surge of interest from homeowners.

The Mail on Sunday also revealed that Alliance & Leicester has cut its fixed and tracker mortgage rates by up to 0.55 of a percentage point, but the Guardian reported that the bank was the first big-name mortgage lender to increase the minimum deposit it demands from new borrowers to 15%. Elsewhere, the Times looked at the merits and pitfalls of housebuilders’ incentives and experts reminded potential buyers that a big incentive does not necessarily provide good value for money. The Sunday Times suggested borrowers shop around for better valuations amid evidence that switching lenders can produce a 10% -plus increase in what your property is valued at. Reportedly, The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is calling for Rics to investigate “worrying fluctuations” in valuations from surveyors used by the biggest lenders.

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