The Times’ money section on Saturday asked property experts to explain the prospects for first-time buyers and those trading up. Although there are bargains to be found in every postcode, mortgage rates for those with small deposits are still relatively high but there are good deals for creditworthy homeowners with a large equity stake in their homes. Readers were reminded that the temporary increase-until September- in the 0 per cent stamp duty band to include properties up to £175,000 is another incentive for first-time buyers to jump into the market sooner rather than later. An article in the Mail on Sunday said that lenders are cutting back on the most crucial part of the market- first-time buyers. Despite government attempts to unblock the mortgage logjam, rates remain high and lending criteria is still strict. On a more positive note, the Observer revealed that several banks and building societies have cut the price of their fixed-rate mortgages in the past week, bringing many of them in line with the best trackers. Major lenders such as NatWest, Alliance & Leicester and Abbey have all made such cuts, while over the past couple of months lenders have withdrawn of pushed up the cost of trackers for new borrowers.
What the papers say - 24th and 25th January 2009