With lenders including Halifax, Co-Op Bank and Yorkshire Building Society increasing their Standard Variable Rates this month, the financial press this week has been full of warnings to borrowers to be vigilant in regards to their own mortgage. Experts in the Times, the Independent and the Financial Times advised homeowners to review their options as a matter of urgency and take advantage of low rates now. The gap between fixed and tracker rates is now fairly marginal, but brokers suggested that waiting to fix can carry a high price.
There was further bad news regarding ever tightening lending criteria, with the Guardian reporting that the Co-op Bank and its sister brands Britannia and Platform Homeloans have withdrawn completely from the interest-only market for all new customers. Experts warned in the Mail on Sunday that interest-only options are slowly diminishing, and urged borrowers not to bury their heads in the sand, but look at possible solutions including switching to a capital and interest mortgage, or even downsizing.
The Sunday Times revealed that those already faced with rising rates and stricter criteria are suffering further due to lender delays, with brokers suggesting that those with the best rates are struggling to keep up with the volume of enquiries. This is set to continue with the news that both Lloyds Banking Group and Santander have signalled their intention to reduce the amount they lend to homeowners this year, resulting in a much higher demand for the rest of the market.