The plight of the First Time Buyer continues into the New Year, with the Sunday Times reporting that, despite lenders introducing more competitive rates, deals remain costly and hard to obtain, largely due to the size of deposit now required. Experts in the Sunday Express also suggested that a squeaky clean credit record and minimal financial commitments are essential. The recent FSA proposals on affordability calculations and interest only mortgages, together with continuing fears that the eurozone crisis could spark another credit crunch mean that the situation is set to get tougher. At the other end of the scale, the Financial Times revealed that the FSA has added a proposal to its recent Market Review that could see borrowers who earn £1m plus or have net assets of at least £3m made exempt from the new affordability rules, or given the option to ‘opt-out’. Experts generally welcomed the idea, preferring the opt out option to a blanket exemption. Elsewhere the Times reported that mortgage lenders are expected to expand their Buy to Let product ranges this year in a bid to seize opportunities in the rental market, and lenders such as NatWest are also now offering improved rates and criteria for higher earners.
What the papers say - 7th and 8th January 2012