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.

New mortgages for public sector heroes

NHS staff, police officers, firefighters and teachers are among those who’ll be eligible to apply for a new ‘Hero Mortgage’ from specialist lender Kensington. ...

First-time buyer numbers continue to rise

The number of first-time buyers getting onto the property ladder is on the up, helped by low mortgage rates which make owning a home more affordable. ...

House of Lords calls for stamp duty review

Steep stamp duty costs are encouraging homeowners to improve rather than move, potentially reducing the number of smaller homes available to first-time buyers, a House of Lords report warns. ...

What the papers said about 40-year terms and Buy-to-Let rates

The financial press took a look at the pros and cons of longer mortgage terms this weekend, following research produced by Santander that suggested almost half of buyers would consider taking a mortgage over a period of 40 years. ...

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. ...

25-year mortgages no longer the standard

Lenders are increasingly offering mortgages with terms of up to 40 years, helping homebuyers on tighter budgets to get onto the property ladder. ...

House price growth remains sluggish in March

UK house prices edged higher in March, according to Nationwide, rising by a modest 0.2% during the month as ongoing Brexit uncertainty continues to take its toll. ...

Are banks really offering 100% mortgages?

100% mortgages have hit the headlines recently with the launch of Lloyds Bank’s new ‘Lend a Hand’ scheme, but can homebuyers really purchase a property with no deposit? ...

First-time buyer numbers jump

Growing numbers of first-time buyers are getting onto the property ladder, new figures show, helped by low mortgage rates and government schemes such as Help to Buy. ...

First-time buyers look to parents for help

One in five (22%) first-time buyers is hoping their parents will cough up more than half the funds they need to get onto the property ladder, according to recent research. ...

Beyond the Bank of Mum and Dad

Thousands of first-time buyers every year manage to get onto the property ladder with help from their parents, but not everyone is lucky enough to have financial support from family. ...

New ‘Help to Own’ scheme proposed

Landlords should be incentivised to sell to tenants at a discount under a new scheme proposed by conservative think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies. ...

What will the Budget mean for the property market?

The Chancellor Philip Hammond will unveil his Autumn Budget on October 29th, with many speculating that he could announce a range of measures affecting the property market. ...

What does the future hold for Help to Buy?

Lenders are urging the government to clarify the future of the Help to Buy scheme, warning that major changes could risk “significant market disruption.” ...

Is your self-employed paperwork up to date?

The number of self-employed people in the UK continues to grow, but getting a mortgage if you work for yourself isn’t always straightforward. ...

Get set for Gas Safety Week

This year’s Gas Safety Week, which runs from September 17-23, aims to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances, which can cause fires, explosions, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. ...

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. ...

House prices see biggest monthly fall since 2012

UK house prices fell at their sharpest rate for six years in August, according to Nationwide’s latest monthly House Price Index, bringing the average cost of a home to £214,745....

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. ...

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. ...

Buying cheaper than renting in all parts of the UK

First-time buyers who manage to get onto the property ladder could save an average of more than £2,200 a year compared to renting, with buying now cheaper than renting in all areas of the UK. ...

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. ...

What the papers say about First Time Buyer Stamp Duty Relief

This weekend's Financial Times highlighted the main findings of our First time Buyer stamp duty research, namely: 18% of FTB are calibrating their purchases to take advantage of tax relief by buying beneath the exemption threshold. ...

Millennials join forces to buy property

More than half of millennials – those aged between 18 and 35 - are considering buying a home with friends or family to achieve their aim of getting on the property ladder. ...

What the papers said about borrowers young and old

Both ends of the lending spectrum were covered in this weekend’s financial press, and in particular the criteria that is enabling different generations to either get onto the property ladder, or stay on it. ...

What the papers said about first-time buyers

The Observer reported this weekend on the falling number of young home-owning families, as many of today’s millennials struggle in the face of higher property prices. ...

More help needed for ‘Generation Rent’

Four in 10 millennials are living in rented private accommodation at the age of the 30, according to a recent report by think tank the Resolution Foundation....

Post Office launches new no deposit mortgage

The Post Office has introduced a new ‘Family Link’ mortgage aimed at first-time buyers that can afford monthly mortgage payments but who don’t have a deposit to put down. ...

Help to Buy equity loans approach 5th anniversary

Buyers, including many first timers, who signed up for the government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme in its early stages will soon start being charged interest on their loans. ...

What the papers said about rate changes and the Bank of Mum and Dad

The financial press reported this weekend on the increasing popularity of ‘Joint Borrower Sole Proprietor’ (JBSP) mortgages, which allow the income of family members – usually parents – to be taken into account, while the property title is held only in the child’s name. ...

M&S introduces first mortgage range

M&S Bank has launched its first mortgage range, which includes fixed and tracker deals for those moving home or remortgaging, as well as for first-time buyers. ...

Mortgage terms are getting longer

First-time buyers are increasingly taking out mortgages with terms much longer than the usual 25 years to help make their monthly payments more affordable. ...

Stamp duty exemption benefits more than 16,000 so far

The stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers announced in the budget has benefited over 16,000 homebuyers in the first six weeks since it came into effect, according to the government. ...

What are your mortgage resolutions?

Many people put sorting out their finances at the top of their list of New Year financial resolutions, and reviewing your mortgage can be a great place to start. ...

First Time Buyer Stamp Duty Cut

In the November 2017 Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an immediate reduction in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) that will benefit the vast majority of first time buyers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and mean 80% of first timers will pay no stamp duty at all. ...

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 the papers said about ISA’s and remortgaging

The Guardian and Times both reported this weekend on newly released Government figures, which show that a million Help to Buy ISA accounts have been opened since December 2015. These accounts, they suggest, have helped struggling First-Time Buyers save £1.8bn. ...

Property prices show signs of cooling

The traditional spring bounce in the housing market failed to materialise this year, according to Halifax’s latest house price index, which showed prices have fallen for the third quarter running....

First-time buyers continue to buoy mortgage market

First-time buyers and those remortaging continue to drive lending activity, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), whilst the number of home movers and buy to let borrowers is falling. The number of buy to let purchases is nearly half what it was a year ago, the CML said, averaging around 6,000 purchases a month over the last 12 months. Buy to let figures have fallen dramatically following the introduction of the second home stamp...

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... ...

Five questions to ask when viewing a house

Buying a property is likely to be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s vital you choose carefully. Here are five things you should ask when viewing a property....

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. ...

Explaining the terms - completion and exchange

When buying a property in England or Wales, two of the most important terms to get to grips with are ‘exchange’ and ‘completion’. Only once you’ve done both of these will you be able to get your hands on the keys to your new home. Here’s what you need to know....

Making sense of solicitors’ quotes

You’ve found a property you want to buy and got your mortgage application ready to go, so now you need to hire a solicitor and make sense of their quotes...

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...

4 tips for mortgage money saving

A mortgage is one of the most expensive commitments many of us will ever take out, but even some of the savviest households fail to consider cutting the costs of their mortgage. ...

Why do we pay Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a controversial issue for some. Originally introduced as a historic tax in 1694, it is something that is unavoidable if you are buying a house.You must pay this tax by the official moving-in date (or possession date) of your new home.The stamp duty that we recognize today was first introduced in 2003, and has just undergone the biggest change since it was introduced. How does stamp duty work? If involved in the purchase p...

How to build up your credit score and save for a mortgage

As a first time buyer, having a good credit score is key to securing a mortgage. Lenders will look carefully at your credit rating when assessing your application; as this will allow them to establish whether or not you have a good record of keeping up to date with loans and other credit commitments. A poor credit report could mean no mortgage so it’s important to make sure that yours is as good and as accurate as it can be. Make sure your credi...

What First Time Buyers should know about saving for a deposit

Being a first time house buyer is a daunting prospect. There’s a mine of information to get your head around, lots of financial terminology, and most crucially - a lot of saving to do. As it’s your first time, it’s all new to you, of course. But everyone has to start somewhere, right? And hopefully, it’ll lead to the home of your dreams, so it’s well worth the budgeting and planning. How much am I likely to need? One thing that’s for certain is...

10 Point Checklist for First Time Buyers in 2014

There have been so many changes to the property market within the last few years, that for first time buyers coming into the market right now, it’s like a whirlwind. Knowing the right places to look; the appropriate checks to ensure you do; and the changes in mortgage rates and house prices; it’s almost like you need a degree to understand everything involved in the process of buying a house.So here’s a quick guide to the most important things yo...

Budget 2013: New help to buy scheme – how it works

The big news for prospective homebuyers in this week’s budget was the launch of the new help to buy scheme.  It is aimed at helping people buying their first home or move up the housing ladder – specifically those who are struggling to find a big enough deposit.There are two parts to the scheme an “equity loan” and a “mortgage guarantee” and both aim to improve the access to and affordability of mortgages.  Both are also open to a wider audience ...

House prices fall in September, but property and mortgage affordability is improving

UK house prices fell by 0.5% in September according Halifax’s latest monthly house price index, taking the average house price to £161,132.  Prices for the third quarter (July to September) were up 01% on the previous quarter – the first quarterly rise since the beginning of 2010 and on an annual basis, house prices are 2.3% lower than a year ago which is a slight improvement on last month. These figures follow Nationwide’s latest index, released...

What the papers say- 6th and 7th August 2011

The Times reported this weekend on the growing demand faced by parents to help their children get on to the property ladder, and the need for more products to allow them to act as guarantors or release equity from their own properties to help First Time Buyers. Lenders including Bath, Leeds and National Counties Building Societies, and the Mortgage Works currently offer guarantor products, but experts say there needs to be more choice available t...

What the papers say- 25th and 26th June 2011

There was widespread coverage in this weekend’s financial press of the new Government FirstBuy scheme, as well as another equity loan deal through Castle Trust. The Guardian looked at the FirstBuy deal, available to qualifying borrowers with a 5% deposit who will be eligible for an equity loan of up to 20% of the property value, with a 75% loan-to-value mortgage taken for the remainder. Experts stressed that First Time Buyer’s need to be fully aw...

Interest free mortgage?

A new proposition was unveiled this week by Castle Trust, a firm that hopes to bring a new type of mortgage to the market and investments that are linked to house price movement. The new ‘mortgage’ will be for 20% of the property value and will not charge any interest or require any monthly repayments.  Instead the borrower must pay back the loan when the property is sold, along with 40% of any growth in the property value. Take an example of som...

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

The Mail on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph both reported this weekend on recent figures released by the FSA revealing that, since the credit crunch began, almost 300,000 borrowers have switched their mortgage from Repayment to Interest only due to arrears or other financial problems. Lenders have tightened up on criteria for interest-only mortgages in recent months, with many now limiting borrowing to 75% loan-to-value, a change which could leave ma...

Firstbuy initiative to help over 10,000 first time buyers

The Chancellor unveiled a new scheme in his Budget speech designed to help first time buyers take their first step onto the property ladder.  The scheme, dubbed Firstbuy, offers an equity loan of as much as 20% of the property, in partnership with builders on their newly built properties.The equity loan does not carry any interest charge in the first 5 years and can be bought out by the first time buyer at a later date allowing them to step up to...

What the papers say- 26th and 27th February 2011

The financial press looked kindly on smaller lenders this weekend, with experts in the Financial Times and the Sunday Times reporting that the bigger banks currently only provide 29% of the top 500 deals. Building societies such as Monmouthshire and Leek United are offering some of the most competitive rates, and brokers say that smaller lenders are forward-thinking in their approach to product development. A more personalised service can also be...

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...

What the papers say- 11th and 12th December 2010

The Sunday Times reported this weekend on the Council of Mortgage Lenders recent estimation that 850,000 First Time Buyers have been unable to secure a loan since the credit crunch began. Experts say the solution now largely depends on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’, whether that be with a family offset mortgage, a gifted deposit or by acting as a guarantor – although this is harder in the current market as parents must be able to prove affordability ...

What the papers say- 2nd and 3rd October 2010

The Bank of England last week warned that major lenders were planning to impose even stricter criteria on mortgage lending, and this weekend’s financial press considered the impact this could have on both current and future homeowners. The Telegraph revealed that First Time Buyers are already paying thousands of pounds more to borrow the same amount of money as other borrowers, with interest rates as much as 2% higher for a 90% loan to value mort...

Nationwide reports tiny rise in house prices

Nationwide’s house price index for September indicated that house prices rose by just 0.1% in September.  This put the annual rate of inflation at 3.1%, down from 3.9% in August .  The three month rate of change turned negative at -0.9%, the first time since May 2009. Nationwide suggested that this is not something of immediate concern and does not necessarily herald a significant decline in prices.  It did however concede that the market favours...

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...

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- 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- 26th and 27th January 2010

State backed banks came under fire this week, with an investigation by the Daily Mail focusing on the products and services offered by Northern Rock, RBS and the Lloyds Group. All 3 banks have a Government guarantee that savers’ money will be protected and are therefore able to offer headline-grabbing savings and mortgage deals, dominating best buy tables and leaving smaller building societies struggling to compete. In terms of criteria however, ...

What the papers say- 9th and 10th January 2010

The ‘January sales’ have hit the mortgage market over the last couple of weeks, with banks such as HSBC offering discounted rates and reduced fees in a bit to attract customers. The Financial Times and Sunday Times warned borrowers that these products may still not be the best deals available, and experts advised consumers to search the whole market before signing up. Standard Variable Rates were a hot topic in this weekend’s press, with the Inde...

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