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.

Interest rates held at 0.25%

The Bank of England left the base rate unchanged at 0.25% in it’s May meeting, but warned that rising living costs and falling wages will mean “challenging” times for many households this year. ...

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. ...

What the papers say – 29th and 30th August 2015

The Times reported this weekend on the recent slowdown in the Chinese stock market, with experts suggesting that recent activity could result in a push back of the date of the first interest rate rise. Mortgage brokers suggested however that further rate cuts are unlikely in the short term, and borrowers are still being urged to act now if they want to secure a competitive fixed rate. The Sunday papers focused on the growing trend for 35-40 ...

What the papers say – 1st and 2nd August 2015

There was a great deal of speculation once again in this weekend’s press regarding the future of interest rates. The Times, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph all looked at rate increases from a number of lenders over the last week, suggesting that the bottom of the market has been hit. Brokers reported most of their remortgage clients are opting for fixed rates now to protect themselves from future increases, and advised against waiting too lon...

Remortgaging grows in March

Figures from the Council of Mortgages Lenders show remortgaging picked up in March: 6% higher than a year earlier and a huge 19% up compared to the previous month – the first annual growth in nearly a year.No doubt this was fuelled by the ongoing price war between lenders which has been driving rates down steadily since late 2014, making (worthwhile) savings a realistic possibility for ever more borrowers.That’s particularly true at higher loan-t...

What the papers say – 9th and 10th May 2015

As expected, post-election predictions provided a focus for this weekend’s financial press, as industry experts looked towards the next 5 years. The Sunday Telegraph reported on pledges made by the Conservatives during their campaign, including doubling the number of First Time Buyers over the next parliamentary term by extending the Help to Buy scheme, and building 200,000 discounted starter homes.The Sunday Express claimed that a majority vote ...

What the papers say – 18th to 22nd April 2015

What the papers say – 18th to 22nd April 2015The Sunday Telegraph and Mail on Sunday both reported this weekend on the latest headline-grabbing deal to be launched by a high street bank. Coming in at under 2%, this deal becomes the lowest ever 5 year fixed rate, but experts suggested it is likely to be short lived due to high demand unless other lenders respond by sharpening up their own rates.The Buy-to-let market is also benefiting from low int...

What the papers say – 4th and 5th April 2015

Figures in this weekend’s Financial Times revealed that the average 2 year fixed rate has dropped to an all time low of 2.98%, due in part to a fall in inter-bank lending rates as well as the continuing intense competition between lenders for the top spot. This is good news for borrowers, with the Mail on Sunday reporting that this drop in average rates has reached right up to include higher loan-to-value mortgages as well. First-Time Buyers can ...

What the papers say – 28th – 29th March 2015

With inflation hitting zero for the first time, the Times looked this weekend at the potential impact on the cost of home loans. There has been suggestion that, should inflation become deflation, there is a chance of a further base rate cut, but brokers suggested that fixed rates themselves are unlikely to drop any further in the current climate. Borrowers were warned not to be complacent, and to review their mortgage options as soon as they are ...

What the papers say – 14th – 15th March 2015

The financial press reported this weekend on the gradual increase in rates seen during recent weeks. Experts in the Times and Financial Times reported that a rise in funding rates in the first couple of months of this year means that lenders are looking to increase their profit margin, and further cuts are unlikely for the foreseeable future. Borrowers looking to switch their mortgage are urged to take action now and grab themselves a low fixed r...

What the papers say – 7th – 8th February 2015

The financial press reported this weekend on the continuing run of rate cuts, which have also now extended to mortgages available up to 90% Loan-to-Value. Despite hitting all time lows however, the Financial Times revealed recent figures which show a drop in remortgage activity. Experts felt that this could be due to borrowers holding out for further cuts, or feeling put off by tougher lending criteria.The Times highlighted the increasing number ...

What the papers say – 10th to 14th January 2015

This weekend’s financial press focused on the increase in the number of longer term fixed rates available, and in particular the release last week of the lowest ever 10-year fixed rate, coming in at less than 3%. Experts in the Mail on Sunday suggested that, for those looking to stay in their homes, this represents excellent value at rates close to those available on 5 year deals. The Observer highlighted however that borrowers must be aware of t...

What the papers say – 8th and 9th November 2014

The Times reported this weekend on the latest leg of the ‘mortgage price war’, which has seen major lenders cutting their longer term deals, and offering competitive 10 year fixed rates at less than 4% - a move due in part, say experts, to cheaper funding and increased competition. Borrowers are advised to consider how long they are happy to be tied in for, as this type of deal can carry hefty Early Repayment Charges.For homeowners looking for a ...

What the papers say – 13th and 14th September 2014

The financial press has reportedly widely over the last week on concerns about the UK’s future as the Scottish referendum draws nearer. Industry experts suggested in the Times and Sunday Times that, in the event of a yes vote, there is unlikely to be any immediate change, but in the long term borrowers on both sides of the border could find themselves with foreign currency mortgages and subject to fluctuating exchange rates. Concerned borrowers m...

What would Scottish independence mean for mortgages?

The honest answer, of course, is no-one has the faintest idea. But we can have a guess.In the short term it could well push up the cost of borrowing for everyone: with a likely 18 months or more to resolve the terms of separation, that opens up a long period of uncertainty, which the markets hate.Ironically, that very uncertainty may well discourage the Bank of England from increasing base rate: the possible ramifications are unfathomable but cer...

What the papers say – 6th and 7th September 2014

The Telegraph reported this weekend that 5 year fixed rates have dropped to below 3% for the time this year, as expectation of a base rate rise pushes back to next Spring. Brokers suggested that further cuts to 2 year fixes could follow over the coming weeks, but urged borrowers considering longer term rates not to hold out for a better deal. The Times revealed that a 0.25% base rate rise could add £250 per year to a typical mortgage, so anyone w...

Base Rate increase getting closer

Interesting times for interest rate watchers.After a fairly subdued Inflation Report earlier in the month, and comments from Bank of England Governor Carney that were widely interpreted as ruling out any increase in Base Rate this year, money markets dropped significantly, sterling weakened, and mortgage lenders started reducing their rates again.So everyone relaxed, until this week when we found out that two members of the Monetary Policy Commit...

What the papers say – 28th and 29th June 2014

The recent measures announced by the Financial Policy Committee featured in this weekend’s financial press, with the Financial Times and Mail on Sunday reporting on the potential impact on borrowers. Experts suggested that a cap on the number of loans over 4.5 times income should prevent out of control lending but shouldn’t necessarily affect the willingness to lend, as affordability is now the key to anyone securing a mortgage, rather than incom...

What the papers say – 21st and 22nd June 2014

Indications of an earlier than expected rate rise were once again the focus of this weekend’s financial press, with experts in the Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph urging borrowers not to be complacent. A number of lenders have already increased their fixed rates over the last week, a trend which is set to continue, but competitive deals are still available so homeowners need to act now.The Sunday Times reported that around 3 millio...

And relax. Briefly...

The minutes of the June Monetary Policy Committee meeting carried unusual interest thanks to Mark Carney’s Mansion House speech, in which he suggested Base Rate could rise earlier than the markets expected.That led to a flurry of speculation (guilty!) that perhaps there was dissent growing within the Committee. Was there dispute over the outlook? Had someone actually voted for a rise?In fact, the minutes reflect a remarkably muted discussion. The...

What the papers say – 14th and 15th June 2014

With the Council of Mortgage Lenders reporting that around 67% of mortgage are currently on lender Standard Variable Rates, and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s recent comments regarding the potential for rates to increase earlier than expected, brokers are anticipating a busy period for remortgaging. Experts in the Sunday Times predicted a spike in fixed rates and urged borrowers to act now to protect themselves, perhaps by considering a l...

Time to prepare for higher mortgage rates

Since Mark Carney became Governor of the Bank of England, he’s been a strong proponent of the “lower for longer” school of thought when it comes to setting interest rates.So the fact that he used his recent Mansion House speech to indicate that Base Rate could increase earlier than markets are expecting – quite possibly later this year – suggests it’s pretty much a done deal.It’s even possible the Minutes of the June Monetary Policy Committee mee...

What the papers say – 17th and 18th May 2014

New rules introduced under the FCA’s Mortgage Market Review were the subject of discussion once again in this weekend’s financial press, with the Financial Times reporting an increase in the number of borrowers looking for terms of over 30 years. Brokers agreed that the application of new affordability rules mean that this trend is likely to continue. The Mail on Sunday also gave tips for borrowers to assess their own vulnerability to interest ra...

Here it comes . . .

It’d be wrong to say there’s disunity at the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, but it looks like the unanimity might be getting a little strained.The minutes of the Committee’s May meeting reveal a much greater debate about how soon Base Rate might be increased: “ . . .Committee members placed different weights on these considerations. . . “, and, “. . . for some members the monetary policy decision was becoming more balanced . . .”,...

What the papers say – 10th and 11th May 2014

The main focus of mortgage news in the weekend’s financial press was an increase in rates. The Times reported an increase on the average 2 year fixed rate of 0.09%, and brokers warned that, while borrowers should not panic, it is a sign that rates will continue to climb as we get closer to a time when the Bank of England will increase its base rate. The Independent on Sunday highlighted deals that are still available under 2%.The Sunday Times loo...

What the papers say – 12th and 13th April 2014

The implementation of new regulatory rules was once again a focus of this weekend’s financial news. Experts in the Guardian and Observer advised borrowers to reign in their spending for at least 3 months prior to applying for a mortgage, as items not previously seen as a commitment – such as regular payments to streaming services, subscriptions to online games and gambling payments - will now be taken into account.There was also talk of rising ra...

What the papers say – 5th and 6th April 2014

The introduction of new stricter lending rules at the end of this month featured in this weekend’s financial press, with experts in the Times urging borrowers not to rush into trying to secure a mortgage, as many lenders have already implemented their changes. Brokers reported in the Sunday Express and Sunday Times however that now is still a good time to consider switching as fixed rates have begun to edge up in recent weeks.The Telegraph looked...

What the papers say – 29th and 30th March 2014

Changes to pension rules were the main focus of this weekend’s financial press, following the recent Budget announcement that people will be allowed to withdraw lump sums from their pension pot to invest as they wish. Experts in the Financial Times and Sunday Times warned that those who plan to use the money to invest in property should think carefully about the tax implications as well as the net rental income that will be generated after loan a...

Base rate at record low for 5 years

March 2014 marks the 5th anniversary since the Bank of England cut UK interest rates to a record low of 0.5%.  Rates haven’t changed since and during that period, around a million first time buyers have embarked upon their home-owning journey. And whilst they will have been assessed by their lenders to ensure their mortgage will be affordable for them, none of them have yet experienced a rise in interest rates as a homeowner. Many will have opted...

What the papers say – 15th and 16th February 2014

With the Bank of England indicating last week that base rate is likely to stay at 0.5% until at least 2015, the financial press looked at the recent flurry of interest rate increases and whether this is likely to continue. The Observer reported that industry experts believe mortgage rates could still rise due to the withdrawal of the Funding for Lending initiative and the introduction of stricter lending criteria this year. Best buy rates are sti...

Oh no - good news . . .

The economy is growing, inflation is back on target and 167,000 extra people have jobs. Hooray.  Or perhaps Boo. The natural media response to this big tub of economic ointment is of course to start hunting for bluebottles - in this case a supposed incipient disaster for borrowers who’ve been just scraping by / living the high life (delete as appropriate), thanks to rock-bottom interest rates. The Bank of England, as if we could forget, set an un...

What the papers say – 25th and 26th January 2014

Talk turned once again to rising interest rates in this weekend’s financial press, following last week’s news that unemployment had fallen more sharply than expected. The Guardian and Sunday Times both reported on the varying forecasts, with some analysts predicting a bank rate rise as early as the end of this year. General consensus suggests a 2015 increase to be more likely, but experts recommended that anyone due to remortgage in the next few ...

What the papers say – 18th and 19th January 2014

The Times revealed this weekend that the Bank of England is considering the return of 25-30 year fixed rates in an attempt to combat increasing house prices. Brokers suggested that longer mortgage terms are becoming more common, especially amongst First Time Buyers, but borrowers should not necessarily lock in for that length of time. 5 year fixed rates are becoming popular due to an increasing uncertainty over when the Bank of England will incre...

What the papers say – 14th to 15th September 2013

The rate debate featured frequently in the financial press once again this weekend, with the FT looking at whether interest rates are likely to increase sooner or later. The new Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has made rate rises conditional on unemployment falling to 7%, but there have been growing signs in recent weeks that record-low fixed rates might soon head higher. This will depend on whether lenders access their finding thro...

Onwards and upwards?

A little time has passed since Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced the new policy of forward guidance for the Bank’s interest rate setting committee, the MPC. So how have the markets reacted in the early days?Here’s a quick recap of the new stance. The MPC will not even think about raising interest rates (or indeed selling any of its purchased assets, what you might call Quantitative Difficulting!) until the unemployment rate drops bel...

What the papers say – 10th and 11th August 2013

Last week’s announcement by Mark Carney, the new Governor of the Bank of England, featured heavily in the weekend’s financial press. His intention to keep base rate at 0.50% until the unemployment rate falls to 7% will spell bad news for savers, but the Times and Sunday Times reported that mortgage rates are likely to remain low in the short term. Brokers suggested that borrowers should take the opportunity to lock into a long term fixed rate, pa...

What the papers say – 3rd and 4th August 2013

The Times and the Guardian both looked this weekend at the growing market for UK holiday lets, now worth around £540 million per year. Leeds Building Society has become the latest lender to enter the market with a specific range of mortgages, joining others including Principality and Cumberland building societies. Some critics argue however that a deluge of outside buyers can have a detrimental effect on the social infrastructure of an area. Rec...

What the papers say – Week 22nd June 2013

The Times and Sunday Times both reported this weekend that buyers are having to wait as long as 5 weeks for properties to be valued. Industry experts put the delay down to a shortage of qualified surveyors as the housing market gains pace, and warn that if a vendor is not prepared to wait they may elect to put the property back on the market. Several companies say they are on a recruitment drive to address demand, but this is unlikely to provide ...

What the papers say – 13th and 14th July 2013

Niche mortgage deals were the focus of this weekend’s financial press, following the launch of the Leeds Building Society 0% mortgage. This deal offers a range of 3 and 5 year fixed rates where the payable rate is 0% for the first 3 or 6 months. Brokers in the Guardian and the Financial Times welcomed the new deal, suggesting that it could benefit First Time Buyers by giving them some breathing space after having used the bulk of their savings on...

No win for the MPC

Minutes of the July Monetary Policy Committee meeting were released this morning and make (moderately) intriguing reading. The headline is that for the first time in ages the Committee was unanimous in voting not to increase the Asset Purchase Programme (aka QE, aka printing money), after 5 months on the bounce of seeing three of the nine members voting for more QE. To be fair one of those three was former Governor King who’s no longer there, bu...

Sir Mervyn King bids farewell as Governor of the Bank of England

This weekend, Sir Mervyn King brings to a close his ten-year tenure as Governor of the Bank of England, the institution he joined in 1991. His successor, the Canadian Mark Carney, previously Governor of the Bank of Canada, takes over on Monday.At his final hearing before the Treasury Select Committee earlier this week, Sir Mervyn made it clear that it was too early to start talking about raising UK interest rates or ending the Bank of England’s Q...

Record lows for fixed rate mortgages

The mortgage market has been transformed over the course of the last year and recently there seems to have been a steady stream of more upbeat news.  That has predominantly focused on the falling mortgage rates, especially fixed rate deals which have plummeted to record lows.  Even now, mortgage lenders continue to jockey for position and nibble a touch more off their rates in order to claim the lowest rate on the market.As fixes have continued t...

Home sales reach highest level in three years

The amount of homes sold in the UK over the past three months reached its highest level since January 2010 according to the latest housing market survey from RICS, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.The survey which polls RICS own member surveyors says that sales are expected to rise over the next three months as more and more buyers return to the market.House prices riseIn a similarly upbeat note, Halifax’s latest house price figures, ou...

Have fixed rates hit rock bottom?

It’s been a long time since swap rates – money market rates that influence the cost of mortgages – have been worth talking about, but the last couple of weeks have seen 5-year rates jumping significantly. Only at the start of May 5-year money was comfortably below 1%, but are now knocking on 1.5%.They’ve actually been drifting upwards for a while, and have doubled since the trough of Q4 last year, but have taken off like a rocket in the last week...

Green shoots

Spring might not be in the air but it seems the banks are feeling frisky if last week’s credit conditions survey is anything to go by.There was better mortgage availability in the first quarter of 2013, we’re told – though I’m never entirely sure whether “available” means there were more of them around, or whether they were easier to get: a crucial distinction as any failed lothario will tell you.In fact it seems to be a bit of both, in that more...

House prices unchanged in march

The Nationwide House Price Index has indicated that UK house prices remained unchanged in March, taking into account seasonal adjustments.  That puts the average house price at £164,630 and although there is no monthly change it does represent an annual increase of 0.8%, which is the first positive house price growth since February last year.Nationwide puts that down to several reasons, one being that buyer demand has held up with improved rates ...

Borrowers locking into fixes as mortgage rates fall

New figures from the Bank of England highlight how mortgage rates have been improving in recent months as lenders have fought it out to offer best buy rates to borrowers.  The figures show that the average two-year fixed rate mortgage (for someone borrowing 75% of the property value) available to borrowers in February was 2.87%, down from 3.06% in January and 3.69% in August last year.The average cost of a five-year fixed rate (also to 75% LTV) i...

A happy new year? It looks like it

Goodness me, has January gone already? How on earth did that happen? It’s been a busy few weeks, and your devoted product team are feeling a tad punch-drunk from the constant shifting in the market. So the month end seems like a good time to reflect on how 2013 started and what hints – if any – it gives for the rest of the year. 2012 finished with gross lending of £142billion or so (an improvement on 2011), optimistic noises from lenders about lo...

Springboard to a new home?

Barclays is the latest lender to look at providing an innovative solution to the single biggest problem facing many first time buyers, a big deposit.  As the mortgage market has tightened, lenders have pulled away from offering mortgages to those with small deposits and only a handful offer mortgages to those with just 5% to put down. As a result first time buyers need to typically amass at least 10% of the purchase price.  In addition they can e...

Is It Time To Overpay Your Mortgage?

Paying off the mortgage early is something that most borrowers would welcome especially as the mortgage is usually the single biggest outgoing.  Recent research from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) suggests that a growing number of borrowers are taking action to try and reduce their mortgage debt more rapidly.  It found that around 2.3 million borrowers have made overpayments between 2005 and 2012 amounting to an estimated total sum of £31b...

Funding for Lending helps improve mortgage rates

Hardly a day goes by without a mortgage lender announcing an improvement to its mortgage rates.  This increased level of competition has on occasion seen some 2 year fixed deals drop just below 2% and 5 year deals below 3%.This improvement in lender appetite has certainly been assisted by the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS).  The FLS was announced by the Bank of England in July and launched in August to provide a source of cheap funding for lend...

What the papers say – 24th and 25th November 2012

The Times and Financial Times both reported this weekend on new low rates available from lenders including Santander and the Co-Operative Bank. Recent cuts mean that some fixed rates are now available for less than the cost of a variable rate deal, which experts agree is highly unusual. What it does do is remove the dilemma that home owners routinely face as to whether to fix or not. With the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) now ruling out the pro...

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 the papers say – 19th – 21st October 2012

There was further evidence of the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme filtering through to the consumer last week, with the launch of a 2 year fixed rate at just 1.99% through Tesco Bank. Experts in the Times welcomed the extra competition within the mortgage market, although rates this low do not tend to be around for long, so borrowers were advised to act quickly. Brokers in the Guardian also highlighted the fact that there is already an ex...

What the papers say – 15th and 16th September 2012

Continuing on from last week’s news of Government intentions to relax planning laws, the Telegraph and Sunday Times both reported on the reality of trying to raise the extra finance via the mortgage. Tighter lending criteria and lower property valuations could push a borrower into a higher loan-to-value bracket – which in turn could increase the rate, but could also make it difficult to raise any money at all. If a borrower already has a flexible...

Mortgage rates tumbling

Mortgage borrowers have not had a lot to cheer about this year as the tight market and continuing difficulties in the eurozone led to mortgage deals increasing in cost and criteria tightening.In recent weeks that wind has changed.  The announcement of the Funding for Lending Scheme brought some hope, offering lenders access to cheaper funding in return for growing the amount they lend.General money market costs have also gradually come back down,...

ING Direct hikes mortgage rate

ING Direct has become the latest lender to increase its Standard Variable Rate (SVR). Announced this week, its SVR is increasing by 0.49% from 3.50% to 3.99% - the change will come into effect from 18th July for new customers and 1st August for existing customers.Like a number of other of lenders who’ve raised their own SVR in recent months, ING blamed the rise on the increased cost of financing their mortgages due to recent adverse economic cond...

What the papers say – 9th – 10th June 2012

The Independent and the Sunday Times both reported this weekend on a recent survey from Lloyds TSB regarding the difficulties experienced by Second Time Buyers. It revealed that 1 in 6 are turning to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ in order to get financial help to make that move up the property ladder, despite many having already received help the first time round. High loan-to-value mortgages taken out in the last 5 years mean that there is little or...

What’s happening to fixed rates?

 Fixes have been climbing since the start of the year, as I’m sure everyone knows all too well, but a little-reported side to it is that they’ve become completely detached from the swap rates, as this illustration shows:  Even though everyone is bored with being told that there’s more to pricing fixed rates than what swap rates are up to, generally speaking the direction of travel is broadly similar, with a bit of a lag as wholesale prices f...

What the papers say – 5th – 9th May 2012

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 ...

Great Rates But For How Long?

Recent statistics have shown that the average rate available on a 5 year fixed rate have been falling in recent years.  The figures from data provider Moneyfacts show that the average rate available has dropped substantially in the last year and by more than 1 per cent since 2010.That’s great news for those borrowers looking ahead to the day when Base rate will have to rise from its current record low of just 0.50%.  When that day will come is st...

Time for panic-buying?

It’s not just Francis Maude triggering a spate of panic buying – if you’ve been hanging round the Bank of England's website you might feel the need to call your friendly mortgage adviser PDQ too. Once you’ve filled up the car of course.The Bank’s latest Credit Conditions Survey has just been released, and it doesn’t make cheery reading - at least, not if you’re wanting a mortgage in the not-too-distant future.The Survey, giving lenders' views on ...

What the papers say – 24th – 25th March 2012

The Financial Times and Independent on Sunday reported this weekend on further restrictions to lending criteria. Nationwide and Coventry Building Societies have become the latest lenders to restrict interest-only borrowing to 50% of the property value, and experts suggested that it will be increasingly hard for other mortgage providers to keep their current policies.  Borrowers who don’t meet the equity requirement could consider withdrawing cash...

How would a mortgage rate rise affect your finances?

If you’re one of the 1.2 million homeowners affected by the recent rises in lender Standard Variable Rates (SVRs), make sure you check to see what your new repayments will be.  You may have been enjoying a low and stable interest rate for a while, but that is about to change and it’s important that your prepared for any rise in your mortgage costs. If you’re with another lender and your mortgage is on or linked to a Standard Variable Rate, use o...

What the papers say - 18th and 19th February 2012

The Lloyds Banking Group became the latest set of lenders to introduce tougher criteria last week, when it announced that it would no longer accept cash savings, including ISA’s, as a suitable repayment vehicle, and would also further restrict the use of stocks and shares. The Guardian, Telegraph and Sunday Times all reported on these latest changes, and brokers warned that it was becoming increasingly difficult to secure an interest only mortgag...

What’s new in the mortgage market?

The last few years have been a difficult time for the mortgage market and the industry and borrowers alike have become used to the fact that there have been fewer mortgage options available as a result.However there have been some positive moves in the market in 2012 and some mortgage lenders are even showing a degree of innovation.  Just recently Norwich & Peterborough launched a new ten year fixed rate mortgage that it claims to be the lowe...

What the papers say – 28th and 29th January 2012

The Financial Times reported this weekend on the wide variety of mortgage news over recent weeks. Homeowners can now secure cheaper fixed rate deals than a year ago with some lenders, while others such as Nationwide have increased both tracker and fixed rates. The Times, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times and Sunday Express all carried news of the availability of sub-4% 10 year fixed rate deals, and brokers agreed that it was a good way to safeguard ...

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...

Troubles in Europe push mortgage rates higher

Once again this month the Bank of England Base Rate was held at 0.5%, but the ongoing chaos, panic and uncertainty surrounding the current debt crisis in Europe has been having a knock-on effect on the cost of mortgages.LIBOR, the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate at which banks lend money to each other, has been rising over recent weeks and few months – reflecting the increased risk that banks are associating with lending to other banks in the curr...

No movement from the MPC, but plenty elsewhere

The Bank of England announced no change to either base rate or the asset purchase scheme at their November meeting, to nobody’s surprise.Having just announced an unexpectedly large round of quantitative easing last month (which will take four months to carry out ), it’s unlikely we’ll see any further move before February 2012 – which, coincidently, will coincide with a quarterly Inflation Report. They do like to align changes with reports because...

Coventry launches new mortgage deals with no early redemption charges

Coventry Building Society, the UK’s third largest building society, has just launched a new range of capped and fixed rate mortgage deals that have no Early Repayment Charges (ERCs) within the capped or fixed rate period.This range of products is ideal for borrowers who are either looking for the security of a fixed rate or who would like to take advantage of a low tracker rate, but with the security of maximum monthly payments that a capped rate...

What the papers say- 22nd and 23rd October 2011

Housing Minister Grant Schapps has been criticised recently for encouraging mortgage lenders to offer longer term fixed rates of up to 30 years in order to give borrowers more security, and experts in this weekend’s financial press continued the discussion. Brokers pointed out that longer term rates are far too inflexible as they lock borrowers in for lengthy periods of time, during which interest rates as well as personal circumstances can chang...

Another push for long term fixed mortgages

You could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu on hearing that Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, is calling on lenders to provide more long term fixed rate mortgages of up to 30 years.  This was originally put forward by the Miles Review during Gordon Brown’s tenure as Chancellor, in a bid to bring more stability to the housing market by removing volatility in mortgage payments.A number of lenders supported that bid to break new ground in...

What the papers say- 8th and 9th October 2011

With the launch of the first 2 year fixed rate under 2%, experts in this weekend’s financial press were keen to warn borrowers that they need to lock in now before lenders start to push rates back up over the coming weeks. The Financial Times , Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times also highlighted the importance of looking at the total cost of a deal rather than just headline rates, as many of the lowest rates carry high arrangement fees that will n...

On your lender’s SVR? Make sure you review your mortgage

Whilst the Bank of England Base Rate has been at 0.5% for 30 months, not all mortgage rates are as mouth-wateringly low. Many lenders’ Standard Variable Rates (SVRs) are now between 4% and 6% - well above the current crop of best buy deals, meaning you could save a lot by remortgaging.If you are currently on your lender’s SVR, check the rate you are paying and then use our 1 minute mortgage check calculator to see if we think you can access a bet...

Choice of mortgage deals is on the up

Some encouraging news for borrowers this week as new figures from Moneyfacts showed that the number of mortgage deals available is at its highest level since February 2008.There are now 3,035 prime, residential mortgage deals available – a big improvement on the 1,209 deals around when things were at rock bottom back in 2009. The figures are particularly good news for first time buyers as one major area of improvement has been in the number of mo...

Gross Mortgage Lending 10% Higher Than a Year Ago

According to CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) figures released today, gross mortgage lending was an estimated £13.4 billion in August, a 10% increase from £12.1 billion in August 2010. This was also a 6% increase from £12.6 billion in July.This is the highest level of lending since July 2009 when total lending was £14 billion and the highest monthly total for August since 2008 when the total was £19.3 billion.In his market commentary CML chief e...

CML Data Reveals Improvements in Mortgage lending

CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) data released yesterday showed overall lending for house purchase in July increased both in volume and value versus June, and was at its highest level since August 2010. There were a total of 48,800 home purchase loans with a value of £7.3billion.In addition lending to first-time buyers was at its highest level in a year at 18,200 loans with a value of £2.3billion and remortgages too showed a marked improvement, ...

New 100% mortgage deal available to homebuyers

Earlier this week, Aldermore Bank, the specialist mortgage lender, launched a new 100% mortgage deal which allows first or second time buyers to buy a new home without the need for a deposit.The scheme, called the Family Guarantee Mortgage, offers a mortgage up to 100% of the property value, with any borrowing above 75% Loan to Value (LTV) being secured against the home of a guarantor which can be a parent, step parent or grandparent.If the prope...

First Time buyers would benefit from buying now – if they can find a deposit

Research just published by Halifax shows that first time buyers would be £110 a month better off if they bought a property and paid a mortgage and other costs compared to renting the same property.  This is in stark contrast to the position in 2008 when the average cost of buying was 29% more than renting. The reduction in costs for first time buyers is as a result of lower mortgage rates and house prices.In addition to this, affordability, which...

What the papers say – 27th- 31st August 2011

Following the launch of Chelsea’s 10 year fixed rate mortgage at just 3.99% The Times, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Express, Sunday Times, and Mirror discuss the merits of fixing for a decade. All agree it‘s a great deal if you don’t think you’ll move and you would have the opportunity to port the mortgage to a new property if your personal circumstances remained favourable. However if you’re not certain what the future holds the penalties for early re...

Fix below 4% for 10 years – why wouldn’t you?

Chelsea BS has launched a new ten year fixed rate mortgage with a rate of just 3.99%.  Whilst there are not many options in this sector of the market this is well ahead of the rest and again poses the question of how long borrowers should fix for.There can certainly be no argument that, with Bank of England Base Rate at an all time low, there is a good case for locking into a deal that provides security at a keen rate.  Removing the risk of risin...

What the papers say- 13th and 14th August 2011

With recent indications that interest rates could remain lower for longer, the Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph discussed the temptation for borrowers to stay on Standard Variable Rates as low as 2.5% rather than switch to a fixed rate, even at current record low levels. Experts were keen to point out that not all homeowners are benefiting from such low rates and may find a mortgage review well worth undertaking. Lenders such as Coventry Buildin...

What will be the Best Mortgage - Fixed or Variable?

Should I fix or go for a variable rate mortgage?  It is perhaps the most common question to be posed by mortgage borrowers, whether they are looking to buy a new property or thinking about switching their current mortgage to a new interest rate.  What they generally mean is not whether fixing is a good product choice for them but whether it will work out cheaper than a variable deal over the next 2, 3 or 5 years.It really is the perennial dilemma...

Mortgage rates keep getting better

Recent weeks have seen mortgage lenders competing to attract borrowers with the result that the mortgage deals on offer continue to improve.  This week moneysupermarket.com indicated that the average 2 year fixed rate is at its lowest level since Base rate hit its historical low of 0.5% in March 2009.Lenders have seen money market costs falling and have consequently been able to pass that on to customers by improving their mortgage deals.  Refres...

Mortgage lenders not passing on rate cuts to borrowers

Consumer group Which? has today accused mortgage lenders of not passing on interest rate cuts to borrowers.  Its research found that 95% of mortgage lenders failed to fully pass on cuts in the Bank of England base rate after it was cut from 5% to its current level of 0.5% between October 2008 and March 2009.Since then, more than a fifth of lenders have increased their Standard Variable Rate (SVR), despite no change in the Bank of England rate. Th...

What the papers say- 11th and 12th June 2011

Recent research has shown that two-thirds of borrowers are currently being turned away by high street lenders, and this weekend’s financial press was quick to pick up on the subject. The Independent reported that Skipton Building Society is rejecting 3 out of every 4 applicants trying to secure one of the only 95% deals on the market, and accused other lenders of cherry-picking customers for their best rates. In light of this, The Guardian discu...

What the papers say- 21st and 22nd May 2011

Rising inflation has stoked fears that the Bank of England could raise interest rates sooner than anticipated, and this weekend’s financial press looked once again at the dilemma faced by borrowers over what type of rate they should be going for. The Telegraph, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Times all highlighted the fact that fixed rates have fallen recently, making remortgaging a more attractive prospect. Experts welcomed the renewed competition, sa...

What the papers say- 14th and 15th May 2011

The Times reported this weekend that lenders including Lloyds Group and Nationwide have tightened up on interest-only criteria in anticipation of changes to FSA regulation; restricting loan-to-value to 75% and requiring proof of suitable repayment vehicles. Experts say there is still a place for interest-only mortgages, particularly for those whose income is set to increase over time or those that earn regular bonuses and plan to use them to redu...

Spring brings welcome competition to the mortgage market

As well as warm weather and long weekends, the last few weeks have given us a flurry of activity in the mortgage market and we’ve seen a host of lenders cutting interest rates and reducing arrangement fees – all of which is good news for those looking for a new mortgage deal.The Nationwide Building Society has announced that from tomorrow it is extending its £500 discount on mortgage product fees to all new customers buying a home.  Also this wee...

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...

New mortgage deals for homebuyers

For the last few years, securing a mortgage with only a small deposit has been very difficult, if not impossible for many home buyers.Mortgage lenders are still very cautious, but the market is slowly improving in terms of the choice available to borrowers.  This week the Council of Mortgage Lenders said that gross mortgage lending rose in March by 21% and it predicts that the availability of mortgage credit will improve over the next few months,...

Barclays cuts mortgage rates as lenders predict improving mortgage availability

Barclays has announced that from tomorrow it is cutting the rates on many of its Woolwich mortgage deals.  Some rates will be cut by up to 0.32%, and it is also launching new capped rate deals aimed at people looking to switch their mortgage before the Bank of England Base Rate rises.Also released today were the minutes from the Bank of England’s rate-setting meeting earlier this month when the Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep rates on hol...

What the papers say- 16th and 17th April 2011

The Sunday Times reported this weekend that borrowers are still opting for cheap variable rate rather than fixed rates mortgages. Experts suggested that many homeowners will be able to cope with several interest rate rises before they would be worse off than taking a fix. Others however will often prefer peace of mind and, depending on how rates move; the premium for taking a fixed rate could be a small one. Check out our calculator to see the ef...

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