News & Insight

Our expert views and commentary on what’s happening in the world of mortgages and sometimes beyond, along with our regular summary of what the papers say.

Guide to negotiating the price of a property

You’ve found the property you want to buy, but now you need to get it for the right price. We understand that haggling on the property price can be tricky... So here are our top tips to help you buy a property at the best possible price. ...

What buy-to-let landlords need to plan for

Buying a property to let out is very different to buying a property to live in, so if you’re planning to become a landlord, it’s really important to plan properly. ...

More changes on the way for landlords

More changes on the way for landlords.. Landlords who own four or more mortgaged buy-to-let properties can soon expect lenders to look across their whole portfolio if they want to apply for a mortgage on a new property....

What the papers say about the new Buy-to-Let rules, New Build and Critical Illness Cover

The Times focused on the new Buy to Let rules from the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) that will come into force this October. They will affect ‘portfolio landlords’ (those with 4 or more mortgaged properties). Previously, lenders might assess a new mortgage in isolation but will now have to undertake a review of all the client’s assets, liability, tax position, business plan and exit strategy. Buy to Let Mortgage lenders are beginning to announce how they will implement these changes,...

Leasehold Vs Freehold

If you’re looking to buy a home, it’s vital to understand the difference between buying a property which is freehold, and one which is leasehold. Let us explain the differences between the two, and the financial implications for homebuyers....

What is let to buy?

Let to buy can be an option for those who want to purchase a new home whilst keeping hold of their current property and letting it out. As someone looking to buy a new property, it can allow you to release some equity from your current home and put it down as a deposit on your new one.It’s a popular choice for couples who move in together later in life, perhaps once they both already have their own properties. In this case, you’d both move into o...

How to get a mortgage if you’re self-employed

Applying for a mortgage can be tricky, but if you’re a self-employed worker, freelancer or contractor, you could face extra challenges. Here's what you'll need to get a mortgage as a self-employed person... ...

2016 Review and Outlook

Last year isn’t one any of us are likely to forget in a hurry thanks to Brexit, but amidst all the political turmoil, homebuyers and owners enjoyed some of the lowest mortgage rates ever recorded. ...

How to save on your winter household bills

How to save on your winter household bills: As winter draws ever nearer and energy bills begin to climb, we wanted to share some simple steps to save money on your household bills with small changes that will make a big difference....

Santander tightens buy-to-let lending policy

Santander has announced it will tighten the rental calculation for landlords from 23rd November. This makes them the first major lender to declare policy changes since the Prudential Regulatory Authority published new requirements in September....

How to help your mortgage affordability

When you apply for a mortgage, lenders will look to your bank statements to help them decide how much you can afford to borrow. Follow these simple steps to boost your mortgage affordability...

What the new tax rules mean for landlords

As announced in the Budget, mortgage interest rate relief is going to be limited to the basic 20% income tax rate: higher and top rate tax payers no longer get full relief.The government has now published the detail of how the change will be phased in here which says in 2017 to 2018 the deduction from property income (as is currently allowed) will be restricted to 75% of finance costs, with the remaining 25% being available as a basic rate ta...

Buy to let tips

Buy to let applicants are subject to different criteria than someone looking for a residential mortgage. For example, you may need a larger deposit and a higher annual salary, and that’s just the beginning.However for those who find the right mix of property, finance and tenant a buy to let property can provide you with a steady source of income. The average UK rent yield is over 5%, which makes buy to let appear an attractive options with saving...

Cost of Renting to Outstrip House Price Growth

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently published its housing market forecast for the coming year.  They are not the only one and there are plenty of house price forecasts around at this time of year with many predicting a fairly flat market.RICS is a little more positive in suggesting that there could be an increase of 2% in house prices over the year.  It also anticipates that the number of housing transactions will rise mo...

Don't forget to FLS

Three months after the launch of the funding for lending scheme, what impact has it had? Government figures showed that at the end of October, 30 lenders had signed up to the scheme – up from 13 at the end of September – which is a decent proportion of the market and in lending terms should cover the vast majority (the notable exception being HSBC who’ve declared they want nothing to do with the scheme). The main consequence so far (as we forecas...

What did rate rigging mean for borrowers?

A record fine has been imposed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on Barclays for misconduct in the setting of London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR).  This took place over the course of a number of years and involved a ‘significant’ number of employees. The serious nature is clear as the FSA dished out its biggest ever fine of more than £59m and worryingly there is an expectation that other banks w...

Lenders favour buy to let in 2012

We’re almost through the second month of 2012, and what is abundantly clear is that lenders are really keen to develop their buy to let mortgage business this year. This isn’t of course too surprising as there were a number of signs at the end of 2011 that this would be the case.Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) confirmed there were 84,000 more properties bought with a buy to let mortgage in 2011 than in 2010, and buy to let mortgag...

What the papers say - 7th and 8th January 2012

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 mortg...

Make sure you get the best mortgage deal in 2012

With 2011 fast drawing to a close and attention turned to shopping, cooking and partying anyone can be forgiven for not considering their mortgage. But once we’re into the New Year there should be no excuse for making sure you get the best deal on what is likely to be your biggest monthly expenditure. Whether you have a mortgage on your own home or are a landlord you should take a few moments to take stock of the situation and see if you can save...

Buy to Let is the new black

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) data for quarter 2 of 2011 showed a significant increase in both the volume and value of new buy to let mortgages. The number of buy to let mortgages taken out increased from 27,600 in Q1 to 32,000 in Q2, and value from £2.9billion to £3.5billion.This has undoubtedly been fuelled by a greater demand for private rented accommodation and an increase in the amount of rent achievable. In addition buy to let landl...

What the papers say- 9th and 10th July 2011

Housing Minister Grant Shapps’ call last week for lenders to offer ‘mates mortgages’ to help struggling First Time Buyers prompted a lot of discussion in the financial press. Experts in the Guardian pointed out that most lenders already allow up to 4 applicants to purchase together, but in many cases only the 2 highest incomes are taken into account, so lending power can still be limited. The Independent on Sunday also highlighted the importance ...

Mortgage Trust Relaunch with New Buy to Let Mortgages

Mortgage Trust has just launched two competitive Buy to Let mortgage deals for landlords looking to remortgage.  There is a 2 year tracker and fixed rate to choose from, with initial rates of 3.99% and 4.99% respectively.  Both are available to 75% of the property value, carry arrangement fees of £1098 and offer free valuation and legal work for remortgage.Mortgage Trust is a brand that was synonymous with Buy to Let but temporarily stopped lendi...

Kensington launches 85% Buy to Let Mortgage

Kensington mortgages last week announced the launch of a new range of Buy to Let mortgages offering rates up to a maximum of 85% of the property value.  This marks a move into new ground for the post-crunch mortgage market.Buy to Let mortgages were hit hard by the credit crisis and a number of specialist lenders that had offered Buy to Let mortgages fell away, including the biggest Buy to Let player of them all, Bradford & Bingley. As criteri...

Rental Demand to Continue to Outstrip Supply

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is forecasting that rental demand will continue to outstrip the supply of rental property in 2011.  With relatively little new rental stock coming to the market and a continued strong demand the news will be welcomed by existing landlords as a sign that demand should hold up well.With first time buyers having to meet tougher lending requirements, many are struggling to buy their own property.  ...

New lender enters the mainstream mortgage market

Precise Mortgages has confirmed that it has been granted approval by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to start offering residential mortgages to UK borrowers.  Precise already offers a range of Buy to Let mortgages, but will now be able to provide a range of deals to those seeking a mortgage on their own home.  It becomes the first non-bank lender this year to gain FSA approval to start residential lending.This welcome launch will bring new...

Top tips for interest only borrowers

This week has seen more research from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) into the FSA’s proposed plans to encourage more responsible mortgage lending.  The trade body said that if the FSA’s proposals had been in effect from 2005, “around 3.8million “good” loans would potentially not have been granted”.  In total, around half of all 8 million loans taken out between 2005 and 2009 would not have been approved if the tighter lending criteria had ...

Lender re-enters the Buy to Let Market

It was announced yesterday that Paragon, the Buy to Let lender will be opening its doors again to new mortgage business.  Paragon stopped any new mortgage lending in the wake of the credit crisis but always indicated that it fully intended to make a return to market when the time was right. It has secured a £200m line of warehouse funding and will retain its focus on the professional Buy to Let landlord.  Paragon was always a specialist in this ...

Signs of improvement in the buy to let market

Over the last month we’ve seen some encouraging signs in the buy to let market as a number of lenders have made improvements to the mortgage deals on offer to landlords....

Any Room for Optimism?

In the wake of an election result that posed as many questions as answers, much of the discussion moved to what impact the continued uncertainty could have.  Worries over the potential for a bad reaction from the markets prompted the question of whether this could hit UK mortgage borrowers in the pocket.  The protracted talks between parties to try and establish some form of stable Government did nothing to shift the ash cloud of uncertainty and...

What the papers say- 8th and 9th May 2010

As expected, political and economic uncertainty formed the basis of this weekend’s financial press, with the Times and the Observer looking at strategies for people worried about the impact of a hung parliament on their finances. A...

Less Is More (work than you'd like).

“Mortgage market in downward spiral” said Moneysupermarket.com this week, when revealing that the number of mortgage products now available stood at a measly 2,282, down from a whopping 27,962 two years ago. Now you could easily be forgiven for panicking when seeing those numbers, wondering if you’ll ever get another mortgage, but panic not, it’s not as bad as it seems. The figures quoted are accurate, but include specialist mortgages, such as ...

What the papers say - 17th June 2009

The midweek mortgage news was short and sweet, with the theme of rising interest rates continuing from the weekend press. The Daily Mail and Daily Express both discussed the increase in lenders Standard Variable Rates, with the average now running at 4.66% above the Bank of England Base Rate, compared with 1.9% above this time last year. The Telegraph looked at the popularity of longer term fixed rates, due mainly to a widespread feeling that the...

West Bromwich survives

Unlike its local football team, the West Bromwich Building Society appears to have engineered a last-minute survival, following rumours yesterday that it was on the brink of collapse and in need of Government rescue.  Although things came to a head yesterday, the society was under similar scrutiny about a month ago as concerns grew over the losses it had incurred – mainly through its foray into commercial and buy to let lending.The news today is ...

Someone stole my bank

It’s all change on the high street again so I suggest you take notes. Lloyds Banking Group (you know, what used to trip off the tongue as Lloyds Bank, C&G, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows, TSB, Intelligent Finance and others), announced today that they will close all C&G branches in November.Hmmm I hear you say, that’s bad news for those who will lose their jobs, and you’re right, but it’s not quite as straightforward as that. ...

Gloomy Buy To Let News Reflects Mainstream Market.

Buy to let mortgage lending fell for the three months to April, for the sixth consecutive quarter according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Buy to let lending accounted for £2.1 billion, 6% of all mortgage lending over the period, down from £4 billion in quarter 4 last year and £9.5 billion 12 months ago.Recent research has also indicated that borrowers who are active have much less choice as the number of buy to let mortgage deals has reduce...

What the papers say - 13th May 2009

The Daily Mail this week revealed that thousands of First Time Buyers who applied for help through the MyChoice Homebuy scheme have been told that there is no more money available. The scheme allowed housing associations to supply a low cost loan with the buyer funding the rest with a deposit and mortgage. The Government allocation for the 2008-09 tax year was quickly used up however, and many housing associations made promises to applicants base...

What the papers say – 4th and 5th April 2009

Easter generally sees the start of house buying season, and as such this weekend’s press examined the current state of the UK housing market. The Independent on Sunday reported that the average property price has fallen below £150,000 for the first time in 5 years, yet mortgage finance remains the biggest barrier, particularly to First Time Buyers with small deposits. The Sunday Express continues this by discussing the call from campaigners for a...

What the papers say – 28th and 29th March 2009

Reviewing household finances was the order of the day in this weekends Money papers, with articles providing advice on all areas from mortgages and savings to credit cards and energy bills....

Bradford and Bingley update and Q and A

On the 29th September, the UK Government announced that it was to nationalise Bradford & Bingley.  The Government will take control of the bank’s mortgage business, but its savings division and branch network has been bought by Banco Santander, the owner of Abbey.If you have a mortgage with Bradford & Bingley, or are in the process of applying for one, this Q&A should help (this also applies to Mortgage Express, B&B’s specialist a...

Homeowners consider letting as the housing market slows.

Homeowners, increasingly frustrated at the lack of sales opportunities, are becoming accidental landlords as they opt to let their home and move on, rather than wait for a buyer to materialise. A survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors claims that as sales have dried up, so the rental market has boomed, with new instructions to let increasing at the fastest pace in the survey's history. However while rents have continued to rise as h...

(Good) Mortgage News

Over the past few months we have become conditioned to expect that when lenders announce they are withdrawing mortgage products, the replacements will be more expensive.There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the cost of borrowing for lenders has remained stubbornly high, despite the Bank of England introducing £50 billion to try and ease the pressure, and secondly, lenders appetite for lending has shrunk.However, this week has been pleasan...

Mortgage and Property News

Buy To LetAccording to Paragon Mortgages, the specialist buy to let mortgage lender, this sector of the market is in good shape as rental yields in May reached the highest point since the start of 2006. The lenders Buy-to-Let Index reported that yields rose to 6.4% last month as rental incomes have risen steadily over the last 12 months as the slowing housing market fuelled strong tenant demand.In Paragon's Trends survey 74% of the landlords ques...

What the papers say - 25th June 2008

The Daily Mail, Financial Times and Daily Mirror have all reported today on Chancellor Alistair Darling’s comments expressing concern over the high set up fees charged by many lenders. The Council of Mortgage Lenders have said that although some products do carry high fees they are normally associated with lower interest rates and fees free products are still available.The Daily Express carries a question and answer section in which they ask if t...

A Beginner's Guide To The Credit Crunch – Part Two

In this part of our guide, we look at who has been affected by the credit crunch and howWho Has Been Worst Hit?This is where a lot of confusion has occurred. Most of the UK’s 12 million mortgage holders will still be able to fund a new purchase or arrange their remortgage, although often at higher rates. However, we have seen lenders withdrawing mortgage products from areas of higher risk.Borrowers looking for 100% or more of the property value w...

The Buy to Let Market

Market OverviewRecent figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed that mortgage borrowing on buy to let properties increased 18% for 2007 and grew stronger as the year progressed.In total, mortgage lenders lent over £45 billion on buy to lets last year, with new purchases accounting for just over 50% of the total, indicating that it remains an attractive investment for UK’s landlords. This assumption is supported by London & Country’s...

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