What the papers say - 13th and 14th December 2008

The weekend money pages were packed with finance-themed Christmas present ideas and there was plenty of advice for worried savers and analysis of the current mortgage market. The Mail on Sunday noted that although several leading building societies have won points with the Government for cutting mortgage rates swiftly in the wake of the latest base rate cut, not all have been as generous as they seem. Much to the anger of many borrowers, the gap between mortgage rates and the base rate remains bigger than it has ever been in 13 years. The Times revealed that of the main lenders, only HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Woolwich have cut their standard variable rate by the full point, or more. In spite of this, trackers are still the most popular choice for both new homebuyers and existing homeowners who need to remortgage, but the market remains limited. The Sunday Mirror looked into how borrowers can find a good deal at the moment, as Britain witnesses the lowest interest rates in more than half a century. The advice to borrowers is to act quickly if they see a deal that suits them. Finally, the Sunday Times revealed that even homeowners who have owned their property for more than ten years are at risk of not securing the best possible deal. Experts were quick to warn that mortgage deals have become sparse for those with less than 25% equity in their homes.

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