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.

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....

Up or down? Where next for house prices

Homeowners may be wondering which way to turn after two of Britain’s biggest lenders produced conflicting views on which way house prices are going. ...

Demand for property slows in May

Political uncertainty may have led to many property buyers and sellers sitting tight in May, according to the latest UK Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyers (RICS) ...

Annual house price growth slows

The latest Nationwide House Price Index highlights a fall in property prices of 0.3% in March, the first drop since June 2015. ...

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...

Annual house price growth eases

The annual rate of growth has continued to ease, slowing from 5.8% in September to 5.2% in October, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index. ...

What the papers say – 10th and 11th October 2015

The Guardian reported this weekend on recent figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), which revealed that the number of borrowers taking out a mortgage for longer than 25 years has almost doubled in the last 5 years, with the highest demand coming from First Time Buyers. Experts said mainstream lenders were more relaxed about longer terms as a way to make payments more affordable, but borrowers should consider reducing the term at a la...

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 ...

Help to Buy ISA: some myths busted

Barely announced and still several months from reality, there are already some myths and misconceptions around the Help to Buy ISA. We’ve tackled some of the main ones.The £15,000 upper limit is inadequate as a depositWell, it’s true that in many areas – especially the south of England – trying to use the maximum of £15,000 as a 10% deposit is unlikely to get you very much, and probably even less in a few years time.However £15,000 will also give...

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...

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

The financial press reported this weekend on Government plans to launch a ‘Starter Homes Initiative’ – aimed at helping First Time Buyers aged under 40 onto the property ladder, by allowing them to purchase a New Build property at a 20% discount and with a 5% deposit. Experts in the Times expressed concern however that there will not be enough high Loan-to-Value mortgages available to support the initiative , particularly as most are currently pr...

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

The Chancellor’s recent announcement regarding changes to the stamp duty system featured heavily in this weekend’s financial press, although opinion on the potential benefits remained divided. The reforms will see stamp duty charged in a similar way to income tax, with different percentage rates charged to each portion of the price. The changes were generally welcomed, but critics in the Financial Times claimed that a major overhaul is still need...

All Change – the new Stamp Duty regime

Stamp Duty Land Tax, to give it it’s official title, has been seen as a perennial problem for homebuyers, and the housing industry has long lobbied for it to be overhauled.Now, finally, it’s happened.The old “slab” structure applied a stamp duty rate to the full property value which had the benefit of simplicity but created severe increases around the thresholds, the classic example being: Property valued £250,000 – stamp duty 1% = £2,500 P...

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

With average student debt now standing at around £44,000, graduates are finding it even tougher to get their foot on the property ladder. The Times looked this weekend at the different options available to First Time Buyers, including taking a mortgage jointly with a parent, or taking a specialist deal which allows parents to offset their savings against the mortgage - allowing them to help their child whilst retaining access to their savings.The...

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...

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...

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...

Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme is "already delivering"

The Government this week released its first official figures on the new Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme which it launched at the beginning of October, saying that it is "already delivering".In the 4 weeks since it was launched, a total of 2,384 homebuyers have put in offers under the scheme with 10 having already completed.The new mortgage guarantee scheme is available across the UK and can help people buy a new home with a deposit of as li...

What the papers say – 19th and 20th October 2013

The Guardian and the Times reported this weekend that RBS and its mortgage arm, NatWest, have seen high demand for their Help to Buy mortgages over the last couple of weeks. Some brokers have said however that feedback from customers suggests that rates are still too high, and many are continuing to save for a larger deposit and access to better products. The Telegraph also revealed that high house prices combined with strict affordability requir...

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...

First time buyer prices rise as home ownership remains out of reach for many

First time buyers are facing an increasingly uphill struggle to get on to the housing ladder, according to new a report commissioned by Shelter, the housing and homeless charity.The study looked at earnings, house prices, rents, and spending on essentials in different areas across the country. It found that couples without a child face an average of six and a half years of saving, and almost double that time in London (11 years).House pricesThis ...

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...

New house prices

Figures released by the Halifax today suggest that new build properties have increased in price by 12% in the last five years, now costing on average almost £234,000.In contrast Halifax’s house price index suggests the average overall price in January ’08 was £191,000 compared to £162,000 at the end of 2012 – a drop of around 15%. So it would appear new builds have been significantly outperforming the general market. This may not be a huge surpri...

Britons still ambitious to be homeowners

Recent CML research shows the percentage of the adult population aspiring to own a home is nearing its lowest level in the last 30 years. Despite this, at 79%, it remains the aspiration of the vast majority. 18 – 25 year olds have shown the largest change in sentiment, with a reduction of 10% aspiring to home ownership since 2007 and 3% in the last year. This is a concern for the housing market, as it is first time buyers who provide the stimulus...

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 ...

Falling mortgage rates help house sales hit two-and-a-half year high

House sales have hit a two-and-a-half year high according to new figures from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).In its latest House Market Survey, RICS said that February saw an uplift in house sales thanks to increasing market stability in recent months.  It also said that improving access to mortgage deals, as a result of the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme, “may be slowly encouraging would-be buyers to test the market.”...

Cost of Renting to Outstrip House Price Growth

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

2013 to be a "more stable and positive year" for mortgages says CML

2013 is forecast to be a more “stable and positive year” for both the housing and mortgage markets according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).  In its latest market update it said that lending to first time buyers and homemovers increased in October and it expects the recent improvements to continue into next year.The CMLs figures show a total of 49,500 house purchase loans being advanced in October, up from 43,500 loans in September and ...

The Mortgage Market Review

After a lengthy consultation process the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today published the final rules of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR).  These rules will come into effect in April 2014 and are designed to set the ground rules for mortgage lending not just now but going forward.The key aspects that they cover are as follows:AffordabilityThis is at the core of the MMR and requires lenders to carry out a robust assessment to ensure that...

It’s not just tough for first time buyers!

The plight of the first time buyer in the current market is one that is well known but it’s often forgotten that they are not the only sector of the market struggling with the current climate.  Just as first time buyers have to deal with the need for big deposits to access the best rates, so too are some second time buyers.As we hit the 5 year anniversary of the credit crisis, the first time buyers of 2007 may be struggling to make their next mov...

Home affordability at its best for 15 years

Recent figures have suggested that mortgage payments as a proportion of disposable earnings are at a 15 year low for new borrowers.  The calculations from Halifax looked at the typical mortgage payments for someone purchasing a new home and found that, in the second quarter of 2012, they represented just 26% of disposable earnings.That figure has been steadily falling and have nearly halved since the peak of the third quarter of 2007, when paymen...

False gloom? Credit Conditions Survey

The latest Bank of England credit conditions survey has just been released, giving a look at lenders’ hopes and fears for next three months. There’s a little bit of good news to begin with – in the 3 months to the end of May,  availability held up consistently with the start of the year. This is encouraging because in February lenders were predicting it would fall back. But it’s less cheery looking ahead. While availability is expected to remain ...

House prices rocket during the Queen’s reign

We couldn’t break for the weekend without mentioning the Jubilee!  Never ones to miss the chance to produce a stat, mortgage lenders have been looking at house price data over the last 60 years and although it will come as no surprise that they have increased, the scale of the rise is eye-popping.Nationwide’s house price index was first produced in 1952 and indicates that the average house price has risen from £1,891 to £166,022 in the last 60 ye...

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 ...

Demographics, house prices and mortgage design

I had planned to talk about the budget today but for one thing everyone’s at it and for another, aside from the 15% rate on those attempting to dodge stamp duty by buying through a company plus retrospective hits for anyone weaselling out of that (got my inner leftie popping the cork on a bottle of People’s Sparkling Turnip Wine, I can tell you), there was little of interest from a mortgage point of view. I suspect the 7% rate will be largely gre...

What the papers say – 17th – 18th March 2012

The Government NewBuy scheme was the talk of the financial press this weekend, and reaction was definitely mixed. Under NewBuy, the taxpayer and housebuilders provide security for new build properties worth up to £500k, which acts as an indemnity for the mortgage lender in case of future repossession. Borrowers require a deposit of as little as 5%, and experts suggested that rates are reasonably competitive in comparison with standard deals. It w...

Mortgages at their most affordable since 1997

Mortgage payments for new borrowers are now more affordable than they have been for 14 years according to new research from Halifax.The lender looked at average monthly mortgage costs as a proportion of disposable income for new borrowers – both first time buyers and homemovers.  It found that in the 4th quarter of 2011, typical mortgage payments were 27% of disposable income – well below the long term average of 37%, recorded over the past 27 ye...

FSA Publishes Common Sense Mortgage Rules

The Mortgage Market Review (MMR) is a major piece of work that the regulator has been conducting over the last couple of years in a bid to lay down the rules for mortgage lending to follow in future.The new rules have been received favourably as the consultation begins to move into the final phase before the rules are finally rolled out in early 2013.A key area is in assessment of the affordability of a mortgage and how that can be done so as to ...

A bridge too far?

Much consternation in media today following the Daily Mail’s front page story about helping so-called mortgage prisoners trapped by negative equity. John Humphries on the Today programme seemed particularly exercised by the idea when interviewing our own David Hollingworth. So what’s going on? And would a rather stretched metaphor help any? The first thing to bear in mind is that at the time of writing none of this is official. There’s no reason ...

Housing equity withdrawal remains in negative territory

Bank of England data released today shows that home owners are continuing to favour paying down their mortgages rather than borrowing more against the value of their homes.  Housing Equity Withdrawal (HEW) for quarter two of this year was again a negative figure of more than £9.1bn.  This compared to -£8.9bn in Q1 – another sign of the difficult conditions for the housing market.There is undoubtedly a reticence among borrowers to increase the siz...

Credit agency offers seven tips to help you get your first mortgage

Times are still tough for first time buyers and getting a mortgage is often the hardest part of getting on the property ladder.There’s been some good news recently with big lenders like Woolwich and Nationwide relaunching 90% LTV (Loan To Value) mortgage deals for new customers, but a 10% deposit still requires a big chunk of money when you think that the average house price is now around £160,000.If you’re in the process of buying your first hom...

What the papers say- 19th October 2011

With poor rates available for savers both the Daily Mail and Daily Express encourage borrowers to explore whether their savings will give a better return if they are used to offset their mortgage debt. They highlight how an offset mortgage works and how rates on offset mortgages, that used to charge a premium for this feature, have fallen and now compare favourably with standard mortgages. The Daily Mail covers the improved options now available...

Fewer vendors put their homes up for sale in September

The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) UK Housing Market survey for September revealed a fall in the number of new homes being put up for sale during the month as a result of the uncertain economic outlook. 5% more surveyors than the previous month reported that the supply of property fell rather than rose.Despite the reduction in supply there was an increase in new buyer enquiries with 3% more chartered surveyors reporting an increase...

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...

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...

Taxman to start checking mortgage applications

Yesterday saw the launch of the new Mortgage Verification Scheme – a new venture set up by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies Association and HM Revenue & Customs to help combat mortgage fraud.Under the scheme, mortgage lenders can choose to pass on an applicant’s details to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for further checking if they have insufficient evidence of the income being declared by the borrower and suspect frau...

Nationwide latest house price index shows fall

Nationwide, the UKs largest building society, announced this morning that house prices dropped by 0.6% in August and have dropped by 0.4% over the past year.House prices now stand at an average of £165,914.Nationwide expects the sluggish market to persist and the period of stability seen over the last 12 months to continue to the year end. Demand for homes is still subdued and it is only the gradual rise in the supply of available properties seen...

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...

House Prices rise but will our Property Obsession Wane?

The latest Nationwide House Price Index declared that house prices had edged up slightly in July, increasing by 0.2% over the month and giving a fall of 0.4% annually.  It points to the stability in what remains a slow market stemming from the fact that the amount of available property has only risen gradually. Whilst there is bound to be a lot of uncertainty for prospective buyers in the current economic climate that will naturally hold them ba...

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

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

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...

Nationwide says house prices up in May

Despite not even reaching the end of May the figures from Nationwide’s house price index are already out.  It indicates that house prices have risen marginally month on month by 0.3%.  Clearly that’s not a large movement especially considering the fact that prices were down 0.2% in April. Nationwide itself points to the fact that the movement is not significant stating, “Overall, the modest pace of house price growth in May suggests that the pro...

Home owners pay off record amounts of mortgage debt

New figures from the Bank of England show that homeowners paid off a record £7 billion of mortgage debt in the last quarter of 2010.  Overall, UK mortgage borrowers paid off more of their mortgage borrowings last year (£24.6 billion) than in any other year since records began.This latest record quarter continues a trend of increasing equity in property over the last two to three years as homeowners pay off more of their mortgages and put down lar...

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

First time buyers were given a boost in this weekend’ financial press, with the Telegraph and Sunday Times reporting on the new Lloyds Local Lend a Hand pilot scheme. The deal allows First Time Buyers to put down a deposit of 5% while the Local Authority provides a further 20%. Experts welcomed the initiative as a good alternative to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’, but some expressed concern over its launch at a time of public sector cuts and falling ...

Sellers return to housing market say estate agents

The number of people putting their house up for sale jumped in February, according to new figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).Available stock in the UK housing market saw a 25% year-on-year rise last month with an average of 70 properties available for sale per estate agent branch – up from 56 properties per branch in February 2010.Property sales also increased in February – rising to an average of 8 per branch from 6 pe...

2011 mortgage market round-up

The mortgage market has shown some promising signs of activity in the first two months of 2011, with remortgaging making a comeback.Speculation of an imminent rise in interest rates – and a subsequent rise in the cost of fixed rate mortgages – has led thousands of borrowers to grab a fixed rate deal that will protect them against future rate hikes. Last week the Bank of England released its latest lending figures that show approvals for remortga...

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 ...

Lloyds launches Mortgage Option for Negative Equity Borrowers

Lloyds Banking Group has launched a new option for existing mortgage customers affected by negative equity.  Research from the UK’s biggest mortgage lender indicates that next time buyers, or second steppers as Lloyds has tagged them, face as many challenges as those first time buyers to whom they hope to sell.Having made their first purchase in the last few years, many will now find that their equity has been eroded by falling house prices, in s...

What the papers say- 15th and 16th January 2011

Experts in this weekend’s financial press urged homeowners with variable rate mortgages to switch deals now, before a combination of rising interest rates and falling house prices dramatically increases the cost of changing. The Sunday Times reported that 5 year swap rates hit 2.87% last week, their highest since last May, and several lenders responded by repricing. Experts suggested that any drop in house prices could have a serious impact on av...

What the papers say- 13th January 2011

The Daily Express provided advice for potential first-time buyers this week with experts suggesting ways to improve affordability and credit score, including registering on the electoral roll, clearing debts where possible and checking credit reports thoroughly for any missed payments or financial links that a borrower may have been unaware of. Saving up for a deposit of at least 15% will of course help to secure a competitive rate. For those al...

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

It was time once again for experts in this weekend’s financial press to dust off their crystal ball and reveal their predictions for 2011. The Times and Sunday Telegraph both looked at the likelihood that there will be no real improvement in mortgage lending this year, and with house prices expected to drop, homeowners could soon find their choice of mortgage deal adversely affected. With an interest rate rise on the horizon as well, anyone who i...

The National Statistician Calls for a Single House Price Index

The National Statistician has this week called on the Government to introduce a single House Price Index for the UK.  There are currently two sets of official figures - one compiled by The Land Registry and the other by the Department of Communities and Local Government – and there are concerns that this can confuse the public.Jill Matheson, the Government's chief adviser on official statistics, says the two providers of official house price indi...

Support Shelter and send a personalised video message from Santa!

Santacam from Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, lets you send a special video message from Santa to a child to wish them a Merry Christmas!Sending a video is easy and only takes a couple of minutes – your child will love their personalised message and they’ll find out how they’ve fared on Santa’s behave-o-meter!Click here to visit the Santacam website and create your video.You can also make a donation to Shelter which is raising fund...

What's in store for house prices and interest rates in 2011?

Looking back on an eventful year, some of the statistics give the impression that not a lot has happened in 2010 – house prices have barely changed since a year ago, the number of mortgages being taken out is much the same as in 2009 and interest rates haven’t budged from their all-time low of 0.5 per cent (in fact the Bank of England has left rates unchanged for 21 months in a row). So what can we expect from 2011?  And what should borrowers be...

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 ...

Remortgaging is on the rise

After a long period in the doldrums, remortgaging is gradually becoming more and more popular.  At L&C, October saw a 15% increase in the number of homeowners coming to us to remortgage compared to September – and this month we’re likely to see an increase again.The Bank of England left interest rates on hold yet again last week and it’s now been 20 months that rates have remained unchanged at 0.5%.  The latest inflation report, released this...

UK House prices rise by 1.8% in October

Just what is going on with house prices at the moment?  According to Halifax, the UK’s largest mortgage lender, house prices rose 1.8% in October – this news contrasts sharply with Nationwide’s figures for the month which showed a drop in prices of 0.7%.The 1.8% fall reported by Halifax needs to be taken in the context of the record 3.6% drop that it announced in September (later revised down to -3.7%) , but such a huge swing from one month to th...

UK House prices fall by 0.7% in October 2010

House prices fell by 0.7% in October according to the Nationwide, the UK’s largest Building Society.  The three-month rate of decline also fell to -1.5%, from -1.0% in September.The annual rate of change in house prices now stands at 1.4% and the Nationwide commented that, “if the recent trend in house prices were to continue through November and December, the annual rate of house price inflation would drop to between 0% and -1% by the end of 201...

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...

What the papers say- 18th and 19th September 2010

Falling house prices and increasing rates were discussed once again in this weekend’s financial press, with the Telegraph reporting that home loans are set to become more expensive following a recent agreement by regulators that will require banks to hold more capital in reserve. Experts suggested that this will inevitably have a knock on effect on borrowers and urged anyone considering a new mortgage not to hold off for too long.  The Lloyds Ba...

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- 14th and 15th August 2010

It’s ‘crunch time’ for the UK housing market claimed the Financial Times this weekend, with brokers warning that a prolonged drop in house prices could make lenders jittery about lending at higher loan to values (LTV’s). The debate over the future of house prices continued in the Telegraph and Independent on Sunday, both of which highlighted the changes across different areas of the country, and predicted difficult times ahead for homeowners in p...

What the papers say- 28th July 2010

There was an element of doom and gloom in today’s Daily Mail, with economic forecasters predicting huge falls in house prices over the next few years, to levels below that of 2007. Some experts feel this is down to the cost of property in comparison to average earnings, which now stands at around 5 times income, much higher than the historic average of 3.7 times. Mortgage availability is also expected to be severely affected over the coming month...

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...

House Prices Rise Again

Nationwide’s house price index for June has pointed to a slight rise in house prices again and the average house price breached the £170,000 mark.  According to the lender, prices have risen over the first half of the year by a cumulative 3%.However it is important to put the figures into context and the tone of Nationwide’s data is generally more cautious.  The monthly change for June was just 0.10% and the annual rate of house price inflation f...

What the papers say - 26th and 27th June 2010

This weekend’s financial press saw the inevitable fall-out from last week’s austerity budget, with experts in the Times warning of the impact that cuts in public spending could have on house prices, particularly in areas of the North which are more dependent on the State for employment. There was positive news for homeowners however, as economists in the Sunday Times predicted a delay in any rise in base rate as a result of the budget. Experts in...

What the papers say - 12th and 13th June 2010

This weekend’s financial press carried a warning to homeowners to prepare for a double dip in house prices this year due to a lack of mortgage funding, an expected rise in Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and looming interest rate increases. The Times and Independent on Sunday predicted further mortgage rationing as lenders are forced to repay their Government support loans, and urged borrowers to consider remortgaging now while rates remain low. On a pos...

What the papers say- 14th April 2010

The Daily Mail reported today that the cost of buying a home has increased by £70,000 since Labour came into power in 1997. Gradual increases in Stamp Duty tax and house prices have both contributed and, although interest rates have dropped to a similar level as ’97, an increase in mortgage size means that the average buyer will pay £99,000 in interest as opposed to £36,700 13 years ago.  Despite the increased cost involved in buying, The Daily ...

House Prices

House prices increased by 0.7% in March, almost wiping out Februarys fall of 0.8% according to Nationwide’s latest House Price Index. The report now sets the average UK house price at £164,519, 9% higher than a year ago. The modest increase will be due in part to a lack of new stock coming to the market, rather than a thriving marketplace, especially as the number of mortgage approvals for house purchase dipped sharply in January, and only showe...

What the papers say- 31st March 2010

The Daily Mail reported today that high street banks are charging borrowers twice as much for life insurance as they would pay if they bought independently. Experts expressed shock at the difference in cost for what is essentially a straightforward policy where the main factor is price, and consumers were urged to shop around rather than taking a policy through their bank or lender for convenience. The Daily Express also looked at life insurance,...

What the papers say- 13th and 14th March 2010

Homeowners were warned in this weekend’s financial press to expect another drop in property prices after the forthcoming election. The Times reported that, whatever the outcome of the election, the next government will be forced to cut spending dramatically to deal with the public sector deficit, which is likely to lead to rising unemployment and another wave of mortgage shortages. Experts advised that First Time Buyers could be at risk as availa...

House Price Recovery Falters.

According to Nationwide’s House Price Index, UK house prices fell by 1% in February, bringing to a halt their 9 month run of increases.Nationwide’s chief economist, Martin Gahbauer, commented “There is evidence from a range of indicators that the market may have lost momentum in early 2010 as the stamp duty holiday ended and house hunters were obstructed by the icy weather,”He also cautioned that “At this stage, it is difficult to gauge how much ...

What the papers say- 13th and 14th February 2010

Homeowners were urged to take action in this weekend’s financial press following several changes in interest rates over recent weeks. The Telegraph pointed out that after 11 months of keeping Standard Variable Rates low, many lenders are under pressure, and warned anyone currently on a low SVR to prepare for a possible rate rise in the near future. The Independent on Sunday suggested that rising property valuations and an increase in lender compe...

House Prices Start the Year Strongly

According to the latest House Price Index from Nationwide, prices rose by 1.2% in January and are up 8.6% year-on-year.While buyers in general, and first time buyers in particular might be a little disappointed by the figures, as deposits will need to rise accordingly, it’s good news for homeowners coming to the end of their current deal. With prices still down on the 2007 peak, the recent recovery will bring them more choice as lenders continue ...

House Prices Continue To Climb.

Both major house price indices recorded rising prices last month, clawing back most if not all of the previous 12 months losses. Halifax recorded a rise of 1.4% in November, their fifth consecutive rise. However, prices still have a long way to go to reach pre credit crunch levels, as the recent gains only account for around a third of the overall loss.  Martin Ellis, Halifax’s housing economist, said: "The recovery in house prices since the sp...

Which way is up?

What do you think about the housing market right now? Do you think things are looking better?  Are prices climbing? Is the recovery sustainable, not sure, not interested, all of the above? If it’s all of the above, then I suspect you’re in the majority, and is it any wonder? Have a look at this selection of headlines, all from articles published within a week of each other. “House prices rise for third consecutive month, says Halifax.” “Housing m...

Borrowers win the right to sue banks over Shared Appreciation Mortgages

A group of over 300 homeowners has this week won the right to take legal action against Barclays and Bank of Scotland over their Shared Appreciation Mortgages, having been granted a Group Litigation Order by the High Court.Shared Appreciation Mortgages (SAMs) are one of the most notorious financial products of the last decade.  Launched in 1996, they were only available for a short period of time before being withdrawn in 1998 and were only avail...

Land Registry data shows little change in house prices.

Based on all residential sales completed in August, the latest release shows a small dip in house prices of -0.1%. The annual rate of change has fallen to -9.4%, down from the February peak of 16.3%, setting the average house price in England and Wales at £155,968. House prices in London and the West Midlands experienced the biggest rise (still only 0.8%), which pushed the average property price in the capital to £310,640. Unsurprisingly all 1...

What the papers say- 16th September 2009

The Times reported today on the launch of a new tracker mortgage by the Woolwich. The deal, which runs at 1.48% above Barclays Base Rate for 1 year followed by 2.49% above for the remaining term, currently undercuts the recent HSBC deal, and it is hoped that this could bring a much needed element of competition back into the mortgage market. Experts pointed out however that fewer than half of new borrowers will qualify for the Woolwich deal, whic...

Last Call for Stamp Duty Holiday

Now that we’re well into September, the end of the stamp duty holiday looms ever closer and those thinking of buying will need to reach a decision of whether to ‘use it or lose it’. The waiver of stamp duty for house purchases up to £175,000 comes to a close at the end of the year and will only apply to purchases that complete before the deadline. Potentially worth as much as £1750 it could be valuable help for first time buyers already facing th...

House Prices Rise but Lack of Competition keeps Mortgage Rates High

Nationwide’s House Price Index reported that house prices rose by 1.6% in August the fourth consecutive month that the lender has reported an increase.Money market rates have fallen again and the 2 year swap rate has dipped to 1.96%.  The last time that 2 year swap rates were below 2%, several lenders were offering fixed rates at less than 3%. However the current best 2 year fixed rates are currently around 3.5% with many nearer the 4% mark.  It ...

More Homes for Sale.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported a rise in the number of houses being put up for sale for the first time since May 2007, as more homeowners are tempted to try the market while demand increases and prices start to stabilize. While the figures are encouraging the margin of surveyors who point towards more property coming to market rather than less was only 2%, so the market remains fragile. Feedback from RICS members als...

Nationwide in Bold Forecast on House Prices

Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society thinks there is a reasonable chance that house prices could rise over the course of the year. This follows their July house price index which shows a rise of 1.3%, the third climb in succession, pushing the annual rate of decline down to 6.2%. The three monthly rate, often used as a more accurate indicator, rose to its highest level since February 2007. Further signs of an upturn came from the Bank o...

Is This The Beginning Of The End – Update

In my blog of 30th June, on house price indices, I mentioned that the June index from Nationwide found the average property value had increased by 0.9%, but warned against spending it as the Halifax report would be out soon. Well the Halifax report is out now and I just thought I’d let you know that house prices fell in June by 0.5%, according to them. Glad that’s cleared that up. On the subject of houses, another report just published said that...

How much is your home worth?

In our newsletter this month, we revealed our new house price calculator – to help you keep tabs on the value of your home. We take data from both the Halifax and Nationwide House price indices to give you an average value, based on the region you live in. Why not give it a try? ...

Responsible mortgage lending or overly cautious?

New research from the National Association of Estate Agents suggests that almost one in four people can’t get a mortgage due to stricter lending criteria from mortgage lenders.Of the 1,800 people surveyed, 56% believed that more relaxed criteria would improve their chances of being able to buy a property.  In fact 58% said that more lending by banks by crucial if the UK is to pull out of the current property slump.These results, released yesterda...

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