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.

Base rate held in split decision

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep interest rates at 0.75% again in November, although two of the nine members voted in favour of a cut. ...

Sainsbury’s stops mortgage sales

Sainsbury’s Bank has become the latest lender to exit the mortgage market, just six months after Tesco announced that it was pulling out of mortgages. ...

Base rate left on hold in run up to Brexit

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to leave the base rate unchanged this month, at its last meeting before the UK is due to leave the European Union....

Demand for long-term fixed rate mortgages grows

Homebuyers and owners wanting the security of a long-term fixed rate mortgage now have a much wider range of options to choose from following the launch of several new 15-year deals. ...

Homeowners could save thousands by overpaying

Over half of homeowners never overpay on their mortgage, even though doing so could potentially save them thousands in interest and reduce their mortgage term. ...

Uncertainty causes mortgage market slowdown

First-time buyer and homemover mortgage numbers dropped slightly in June, with many people putting their plans on hold due to current political and economic uncertainty. ...

Interest rates unchanged in August

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to keep the base rate at 0.75% in August amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty. ...

Plan your remortgage now to cut costs

More than £26 billion worth of mortgage deals will come to an end in October, according to research by Yorkshire Building Society, the largest monthly amount of mortgages maturing this year. ...

Base rate kept on hold in June

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep interest rates on hold at 0.75% earlier this month, with ongoing Brexit uncertainty continuing to hamper economic growth. ...

Are you ready for higher interest rates?

Despite the fact that interest rates were kept on hold at 0.75% this month, the Bank of England has warned that rate increases could be “more frequent” if the economy picks up. ...

Are you stuck in the parent rent trap?

For the first time in nearly six decades, a child is at least as likely to be born into a rented home as a home owned by its parents, a report by insurer Royal London found. ...

What the papers said about the right time to switch

The Times reported this weekend that around £22.3 billion worth of mortgage deals will come to an end in April, meaning that potentially thousands of homeowners could be about to move onto more expensive Standard Variable Rates (SVR). ...

Interest rates kept on hold amidst Brexit uncertainty

The Bank of England voted unanimously to leave the base rate unchanged at 0.75% in March, with political and economic uncertainty making it impossible to know which way rates will move next. ...

Are you ready for April council tax increases?

Council tax bills are on their way up again from April, but if you’re worried about rising household bills, remortgaging could help reduce your outgoings. ...

What are your mortgage resolutions for 2019?

Your mortgage is likely to be your biggest monthly outgoing, so it’s a great place to start if you’re looking to cut costs. Here’s our rundown of some of the mortgage resolutions you might want to consider making. ...

New long-term fixes available for landlords

Landlords who are concerned about higher mortgage costs if interest rates rise have a wider range of fixed rate options to choose from following the launch of a new range of 10-year fixes. ...

Borrowers fix for longer

Longer term 5 and 10-year fixed rate mortgages are becoming increasingly popular, as borrowers seek to protect themselves from further interest rate rises. ...

Mortgage lending up in July

Gross mortgage lending reached £24.6bn in July, according to latest figures from trade body UK Finance, its highest level since March 2016. ...

What the papers said about rising rates

As expected, the weekend’s financial news focused primarily on last week’s decision by the Bank of England to increase the base rate for only the second time in a decade. ...

Bank of England raises interest rates

The Bank of England has raised the base rate to 0.75%, meaning higher monthly mortgage costs for millions of homeowners on variable rate deals. ...

Securing a fixed rate to protect against rising interest rates

Fixed mortgage rates remain at historic lows, with five-year rates available below 2% in May 2018. You don’t have to fix your rate for five years though to benefit from a low rate. Deals usually range from two years up to 10 years or longer, so you can pick a term to suit your needs. ...

Difference between SVRs and fixed rates grows

The gap between the best fixed rate mortgage deals and lenders’ standard variable rates has widened substantially over the past nine years, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). ...

Options improve for 95% remortgage deals

Homeowners with only a limited amount of equity now have a greater choice of remortgage options, with lenders including Virgin Money, Tesco and Atom Bank improving their offerings at this end of the market. ...

Remortgages up by a third in April

More than 40,000 homeowners remortgaged in April, according to latest figures from trade body UK Finance, up 36% compared to the same month last year. ...

Brexit could delay rate rises

Interest rates could be kept on hold for longer in the event of a “disorderly” Brexit, according to the Governor of the Bank of England....

What would a rate rise mean for you?

Expectations of a base rate rise in May were dampened following comments from the Bank of England governor Mark Carney, but it’s still vital for homeowners to consider the impact of higher rates. ...

What the papers said about preparing for change

With suggestions of an interest rate rise, possibly as soon as next month, the financial press reported this weekend on the levels of increased activity in the mortgage market. ...

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 – 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...

Debt charity warns of rise in mortgage arrears

National debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) has warned today that many homeowners risk falling into mortgage arrears this year due to budget pressures such as high inflation and wage freezes.It predicts that a rise in interest rates, which will lead to higher monthly mortgage payments for thousands of borrowers, will see many people struggling to keep on top of their mortgage payments.The charity said that last year it counse...

What’s the right mortgage deal for you if rates rise?

The debate around when interest rates will rise and by how much has continued in recent weeks and many borrowers have already decided that it’s time to secure themselves a fixed rate deal to protect against future rate rises. Thousands of others however will still be wondering what to do and trying to figure out when it’s the right time to review their current deal – especially those borrowers who have enjoyed low mortgage payments for the last c...

Mortgage affordability at its best for 10 years says Barclays

Mortgage affordability has hit its best level for 10 years, according to new research from Barclays.Having analysed more than one million customer accounts it found that people are currently paying 15.4% of their take home pay to cover their monthly mortgage payment – the lowest level since Barclays began the regular analysis ten years ago.The improved affordability was attributed largely to the current low interest rate environment – the UK has ...

What the papers say- 19th and 20th February 2011

This weekend’s financial press focused once again on the anticipated rise in interest rates. Mortgage brokers in the Independent, Sunday Express and Sunday Times reported that a lot of borrowers are now looking to secure a fixed rate to limit their exposure to increases, but many warned that they may have already missed the bottom of the market. Fixing is not for everyone of course, and as the gap between fixed and variable rates widens, many may...

UK inflation jumps to 3.7% in December

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said today that the UK Consumer Prices Index (CPI) annual inflation rate rose to 3.7% in December from 3.3% in November.  This was the biggest ever month-on-month rise and will put more pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates.According to the ONS, air transport and rising fuel, utility and food prices were the biggest drivers of inflation last month. Inflation has risen in each of the last ...

CBI says UK interest rates need to rise in 2011

Higher-than-expected inflation means the Bank of England should start raising interest rates from the spring of next year, according to latest forecasts by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).With recent pressure from energy and commodity prices as well as the impact of higher  VAT in the New Year, the CBI predicts that inflation will “significantly exceed the Bank of England’s 2% target in 2011”.  As a result, it believes that interest r...

What the papers say- 27th and 28th November 2010

The Financial Times reported this weekend on the increasingly attractive mortgages deals being offered by lenders such as Woolwich and Skipton, and borrowers were urged to consider their options now, particularly as some deals will be designed to increase year end business and therefore won’t be around for long. Choosing the right deal can be a difficult decision, so the Times looked at alternative options including products that allow you to sw...

UK inflation rises in October – what next for mortgage rates?

UK inflation rose last month as official figures revealed yesterday showed a surprise jump in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) from 3.1 per cent to 3.2 per cent in October. The CPI measure has been at or above 3 per cent for the whole of 2010 so what impact will this month’s increase have on interest rates and the cost of mortgages?Last week, we had the inflation report which came out a few days after the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committe...

New deals on offer for struggling first time buyers

Figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) this week showed that first time buyers’ share of the mortgage market fell in July to its lowest level for 3 years.  The number of mortgages taken out by First Time Buyers in July stood at 19,400 – down from 19,700 in June and from 20,100 July 2009. CML’s figures also show that buyers of their first home are, on average, putting down a deposit of 24% – this equates to around £40,000 depend...

Forecast of Base Rate Rising to 8% within 2 years!

The think tank, Policy Exchange, this week grabbed the headlines by bucking the trend and issuing a distinctly alternative view of what could happen with interest rates.Whilst many have suggested that Base rate has some time to go at the current low levels (see our recent blog), Dr Andrew Lilico, Chief Economist at Policy Exchange has painted quite a different picture.  He suggests that following another period of contraction the economy could be...

What the papers say- 4th August 2010

The debate surrounding interest rate predictions continued today, with two former policymakers warning that base rate could rise to as much as 3% by this time next year, following a period of economic stability.  As pointed out in both the Times and the Telegraph, this differs greatly from the majority of forecasts for a longer period of low rates, and will come as a shock to many homeowners.  Rather fortuitously then, the Daily Mail reported th...

When will interest rates rise?

The last month has seen some interesting news and views on the subject of interest rates and when we may see them on the up again.At the Monetary Policy Committee’s July meeting, the Bank Rate was left yet again unchanged at 0.50% - the 16th month in a row.  However, MPC member Andrew Sentence maintained his contrary position from the previous month and was the only member calling for an immediate increase of 0.25%.His call to start raising rates...

What the papers say- 3rd and 4th July 2010

It was time to dust off the crystal ball this weekend, as talk once again turned to future interest rates. Opinions varied as to the extent of any potential changes in rates and house prices, with some experts predicting a double dip over the next couple of years due in part to a lack of available mortgage credit. Others agreed that the market is certainly set to cool down but had a more positive outlook, suggesting that low interest rates will c...

What the papers say - 19th and 20th June 2010

Interest only mortgages are not quite extinct but they are certainly becoming harder to find, as discussed in the Times this weekend. Scottish Widows has become the latest lender to restrict interest only lending to loans below £500,000, bringing it in line with other parts of the Lloyds Banking Group. Lenders including HSBC and Santander now limit the LTV to 75%, while others have tightened up on their list of suitable repayment vehicles. Expert...

What the papers say- 5th and 6th June 2010

The tightening up of interest only lending was big news in this weekend’s financial press, following the announcement by Northern Rock that they will no longer accept future inheritance, dividends, capital repayments or bonuses as suitable repayment vehicles. The Lloyds Group has also recently introduced higher rates for interest only customers, whilst other lenders including Abbey and Coventry have restricted the loan to value to 75%. Experts in...

What the papers say- 17th and 18th April 2010

There was support in this weekend’s financial press for Labour’s plan to turn Northern Rock back into a building society if they win the election, with the Telegraph and Independent on Sunday looking at the benefits of the mutual in terms of both the products and service they offer. Some of the most competitive rates are offered by building societies such as Hanley Economic and Nationwide, although experts pointed out that this is not always the ...

What the papers say- 6th and 7th March 2010

Borrowers who rush to secure a fixed rate when the base rate starts to rise could end up paying over the odds, warned experts in the Observer this weekend. Despite some lenders dropping their rates recently, brokers are still advising homeowners to consider a tracker mortgage unless they are particularly nervous about increasing payments. Those who are taking advantage of low rates are urged to overpay now and reduce the shock of future rate rise...

What the papers say- 3rd March 2010

The Daily Express reported today on recent research by the Post Office, which revealed that at least 3 million borrowers in the UK do not know what interest rate they are currently paying. Thousands of homeowners assume that Standard Variable Rate is the best deal for them, but with many variable rates now above 4%, experts urged people to review their options and consider a medium term fixed rate to protect against future rate rises.  An increa...

What the papers say- 27th and 28th February 2010

There was further bad news for First Time Buyers this weekend, with the Times and Telegraph revealing that Halifax is shortly to withdraw from the guarantor market. This type of mortgage is an important option for those looking to get onto the property ladder for the first time, and the good news is that lenders such as RBS, Co-Op and Nationwide continue to offer these deals. Experts advised however that criteria is tight, with lenders looking to...

What the papers say- 20th and 21st February 2010

Recent improvements in fixed and tracker rates once again grabbed some of the headlines in this weekend’s financial press, with the Telegraph and Mail on Sunday sounding the alarm for borrowers who reverted to Standard Variable Rate in the last 18 months and have seen their payments increase over the last few weeks. Whilst experts previously advised people to stay on low variable rates, it would seem that anyone who doesn’t consider changing now ...

What the papers say- 23rd and 24th January 2010

Last week’s announcement by Skipton Building Society of their intention to increase their Standard Variable Rate from 3.50% to 4.95% led unsurprisingly to widespread coverage in this weekend’s financial press. The Society had previously maintained a ‘mortgage promise’, guaranteeing that their variable rate would be no more than 3% above the Bank of England Base Rate, but has removed this ceiling in response to ‘exceptional market conditions’. Exp...

Housing market continues steady recovery

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported that loans for house purchase reached 55,000 in October, the highest level since December 2007, and a near 100% rise from the trough of January 2009.They also released some interesting figures on the popularity of fixed rates. From a high of 80% of new loans in July, fixed rates were only chosen by 66% of new borrowers in October, a number which I suspect has fallen further since. Tracker deals seem ...

Mortgage Lending Grows.

Mortgage lending grew by 5% in October according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). The increase to an estimated £13.5 billion, is a common seasonal change, but is encouraging all the same. The October estimate is still well down on the £18.5 billion lent in October 2008.The CML expects comparisons to improve in the coming months as mortgage lending dropped dramatically in the latter part of 2008 and early 2009, but their forecast on total...

Northern Rock bid to reach lending target benefits borrowers

In the years 1-5 BC (before crunch) it was not unusual for lenders to reach their lending target before the end of the year, and turn off the flow of mortgages.This year things are a little different, and it could work to the borrowers’ advantage. Lenders were much more cautious earlier in the year, but with a few green shoots showing in the economy and the housing market stabilising, competition is returning as lenders strive to hit targets and ...

Lenders cut rates again!

This year has seen the market stabilise to an extent but exciting new mortgage rates have been thin on the ground.  Although there has been some gradual improvement in the mortgage deals on offer there has been a distinct lack of competition between lenders.  This has certainly been a contributory factor in maintaining the higher margins on products despite some easing in money market rates.However, the last two weeks has seen lenders such as Abb...

Interest Rates Unchanged

The Bank of England has decided for the seventh consecutive month, to keep interest rates on hold. The Monetary Policy Committee also announced no change to their quantitative easing program, following the £50 billion increase in August. The program remains under review, and is expected to be completed next month. These two key decisions came as no real surprise, but city experts point to next months’ announcement for possible change. By then, ...

What To Do, What To Do!

Recently, many economists, other clever people and city bankers have been almost universally optimistic about the prospects for interest rates, predicting little or no movement in the short term. This seems to have affected borrowers’ choice of mortgage, where we have seen the popularity of fixed rates fall. More borrowers are now opting for tracker mortgages, which follow movements in bank base rate by a given margin for a specific period (a ma...

What the papers say- 26th – 27th September 2009

Alternative methods of purchasing a property were the order of the day this weekend, with The Guardian reporting on the return of the 100% mortgage, albeit in the form of a shared ownership scheme. The Mansfield Building Society has teamed up with the South Yorkshire Housing Association to offer the product, allowing buyers to purchase 60% of a property without a deposit, whilst paying rent on the remaining 40%. The Independent looked at lenders ...

What the papers say- 8th – 9th August 2009

With the Bank of England holding the base rate at 0.50% for another month, and a general belief that interest rates will remain stable for the foreseeable future, the financial press this weekend reported on borrowers switching their preference back to tracker rates. Experts in The Times predicted however that the recent decision to pump an additional £50 billion into the UK economy could result in lenders reducing their fixed rates again.  On a ...

Bank Rate Held.

No surprise but it’s now official, the Bank of England are keeping interest rates at 0.5% for the 5th month in succession. The Monetary Policy Committee also announced an increase in the quantitative easing program of £50 billion, bringing the total at their disposal to £175 billion. £25 billion of the increase had already been earmarked for the program, but the additional funds came as a surprise, especially as many expected the program to be p...

What the papers say- 5th August 2009

Northern Rock hit the headlines again this week following news of a reported £725 million loss during the first 6 months of this year. Concerns have been raised over when the state-backed lender would be ready to sell back to the private sector, with the Financial Times suggesting that Alistair Darling will delay the sale until after the election. It also emerged that 1 in 10 Northern Rock borrowers are currently in negative equity, mainly due to...

What the papers say- 1st-2nd August 2009

The dilemma of deciding between fixed and tracker rates continued in the financial press this weekend, with experts in the Mail on Sunday predicting that the base rate will remain low for the foreseeable future. Borrowers were urged to act quickly whichever type of deal they decide on, as deals are currently changing on a weekly basis. Homeowners may be tempted to sit on a cheap standard variable rate until rates start to increase, claimed the Su...

Nationwide Buck The Trend And Lower Mortgage Rates.

Nationwide made Monday morning a little more pleasant this week by announcing some substantial cuts in their mortgage rates. Mainly targeting borrowers with a 40% deposit , they have reduced rates for both new customers and existing borrowers moving home. The cuts of up to 0.5% appear largely in their fixed rate deals, but some trackers have been reduced by up to 0.25%. The rate reductions are accompanied by the introduction of a non refundable...

Why we are paying more for our mortgages.

With bank rate remaining unchanged since March and the cost to lenders of funding mortgages so low, you would be forgiven for wondering why mortgages are becoming more expensive. In the face of mounting criticism for increasing mortgage rates, the lenders position has been laid out in the latest “News & Views” from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and it makes interesting reading. Lenders are less able to vary the rate they charge existing c...

Gordon Won’t Like That!

Despite the Government telling us that long term fixed rate mortgages were the best thing for us, lenders seem to have sided with brokers, as they’ve gradually withdrawn the few long term deals available. With Manchester Building Society withdrawing their 30 year fixed rate last week, the longest fixed rate available now is 15 years from Britannia Building Society, but even this is unlikely to be popular. The London & Country view has alway...

What the papers say- 22nd July 2009

The midweek financial news was short and sweet, with a warning to borrowers not to be drawn in by enticing offers and cheap headline rates. The Daily Express and Daily Mirror both looked at the new Lloyds ‘Easy Step’ mortgage – which has a fixed rate of 2.59% until Feb 2010 followed by a considerably higher rate of 5.59% until October 2012. Experts agreed that while this scheme offers low monthly payments in the first year, the subsequent jump in...

What the papers say- 18th and 19th July 2009

Mortgage lenders were accused of holding back economic recovery in the financial press this weekend, with recent figures revealing that banks are operating on the highest profit margin for 20 years. The Mail on Sunday reported that that the average 2 year tracker is now 3.27% above the Bank of England base rate – a significant rise from the average margin of 1.51% this time last year – and there appears to be little sign of margins narrowing. Exp...

What the papers say- 27th and 28th June 2009

This weekend’s financial press contained a wide variety of articles ranging from the obstacles faced by members of the armed forces through to the seasonal increase in subsidence, but the main focus once again was securing that much talked about good value fixed rate before they disappear. The Mail on Sunday suggested that time is running out for borrowers, with 2 yr fixed rates now at an average of 4.9%, an increase of 0.16% since last week, whi...

What the papers say- 3rd June 2009

With experts predicting a sharp increase in interest rates later this year, much of today’s financial press looked at securing a good mortgage deal at the right time. The Mirror suggested that, as many mortgage offers are valid for 3 to 6 months, borrowers are able to review their mortgage requirements well in advance of their current deal expiring, therefore giving them the opportunity to reserve a new rate while they are still competitive.The E...

Lenders increasing fixed rates – don’t delay!

The last couple of weeks have seen a spate of lenders increasing the rates on their fixed rate mortgages deals.  Since the Bank of England left interest rates on hold on 7 May, lenders such as Yorkshire Building Society, Royal Bank of Scotland and Britannia have all been raising fixed rates.After two months of no change in the Base Rate, it is likely that interest rates will remain at 0.5% for some time, but experts agree that they will have to s...

Bank Holds Interest Rate for Second Consecutive Month

The Bank of England announced today that interest rates would remain on hold at 0.5%, prompting fears that fixed rate mortgages might increase, as funding costs stagnate and a number of lenders withdrew deals.The banks statement came shortly after their European counterpart the ECB cut its interest rate by 0.25% to 1%.With interest rates at an all time low, but the economy still cooling rapidly, the bank also announced an extension of £50 billion...

What the papers say – 22nd April 2009

Budget speculation dominated today’s financial press, with The Times providing a guide on what to look out for, and The Mirror urging Alistair Darling to help out the millions of savers hit by plunging interest rates. Elsewhere the Daily Mail discussed the large number of homeowners opting for longer term fixed rates in a bid to secure a competitive rate now and give the market time to recover. The importance of consumer awareness was also a hot ...

Time to Fix Your Mortgage?

In April, for the first time in 7 months bank rate was held. Although this was largely expected, it has prompted many borrowers to think about, the next stage in the cycle, that of rising interest rates. While it is only a matter of time before mortgage rates started rising, it’s always difficult to spot the bottom of the cycle. It may still be some time before the Bank of England see the need to raise interest rates, but with the cost of fundin...

Base rate held! Time to consider a fix?

The Bank of England this month announced that rates would remain on hold at 0.5%, bringing to an end a 6-month run of unprecedented rate cuts. Since October last year, the Bank of England rate has fallen from 5% to just 0.5% as the UK economy fell into recession.Over the last few months, many borrowers have been in no rush to secure a new mortgage deal as rates gradually fell, but this hold decision suggests that the time to consider a switch may...

What the papers say – 25th March 2009

Today’s Daily Mail noted that lenders are now passing on the recent base rate cuts and suggests that, with economists predicting interest rate rises next year, borrowers may want to consider a five year fixed rate deal to ensure longer term stability. Homeowners hanging on for further reductions run the risk of paying higher rates if house prices continue to drop, giving them less equity in their property. The Daily Express looked at the upcoming...

What the papers say - 7th and 8th March 2009

Money writers were quick to offer advice to worried savers this weekend, following the Bank of England’s recent decision to cut the base rate to just 0.5 per cent. Borrowers with tracker mortgages were celebrating once again, whilst experts emphasised the importance of overpaying and noted that fixed rates might now start to be more competitive. The Daily Telegraph said that for savers who also have mortgage debts, an offset mortgage is becoming ...

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