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.

What the papers say – 17th and 18th October 2015

Figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed an increase in the average price of a first home to £215,000 in the last year, and the Times reported this weekend that the number of buyers dependent on a cash gift to raise the deposit is up by 25% as a result. The Bank of Mum and Dad is as important as ever, but for those who don’t want to hand over their savings there are alternative options, including guarantor mortgages, and famil...

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 – 26th and 27th September 2015

Focus has turned towards older borrowers over recent weeks, with critics suggesting that not enough housing is being built for this sector of the market, leaving homeowners unable to downsize and free up larger homes for families. Experts in the Telegraph claimed that less than 2% of housing built in Britain last year was for older people, and urged developers to Sticking with older borrowers, the Times looked at ways for grandparents to hel...

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

The Telegraph reported this weekend on the recent launch of some new market leading deals available up to 90% Loan-to-Value. The lowest rates may not be cost effective for all borrowers, with higher rates often working out cheaper once set up costs are factored in. Brokers pointed out however that these new deals demonstrate that those looking to remortgage, even with limited equity, could still make significant savings by changing their deal.The...

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

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

What the papers say – 15th and 16th August 2015

With an interest rate increase on the horizon, it seems that borrowers are beginning to act. The Independent reported this weekend on recent figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, which reveal a 30% increase in remortgage activity in June.The Financial Times suggested that February 2016 is currently the most popular prediction for the first increase to happen. While rates have begun to edge up in anticipation, lenders are still keen for bu...

What the papers say – 8th and 9th August 2015

The Times and Financial Times both reported this weekend on lenders gradually beginning to increase mortgages rates, due to upward pressure on funding costs, combined with a need to control a surge in borrower demand. Despite the signs of an increase however, experts were keen to point out that competition remains strong, and there are still some extremely low rates available.The Mail on Sunday looked at the plight of the ‘Second-Stepper’, as new...

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

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

What the new tax rules mean for landlords

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

What the papers say – 27th and 28th June 2015

The Independent reported this weekend on the increasing number of lenders offering interest only mortgages again, a figure which has doubled over the last 2 years. While the criteria has eased however, experts warned that there are still restrictions in place. With some lenders capping the maximum allowed on an interest only basis to 50% of the property value, it remains an option limited to those with large amounts of equity.The Independent on S...

What the papers say – 20th and 21st June 2015

The Times reported this weekend on the latest figures from the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority, which reveal an increase of £0.8 billion in Buy-to-Let lending in the first 3 months of this year compared to the same period last year. The increase in popularity in this area of the market is also reflected in a reported 12% increase in the number of BTL deals now available, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.The Sunday Tele...

What the papers say – 6th – 7th June 2015

The Times, Independent and Sunday Times reported this weekend on the latest launch of headline grabbing rates, following the release by a high street lender of a 2 year tracker below 1%. Experts agreed that it was sure to attract attention, but before applying borrowers must consider other factors including set up fees and minimum payable rates (collars).The Independent on Sunday looked at the issues can arise when purchasing an ex-local authorit...

What the papers say – 30th and 31st May 2015

The Times looked this weekend at strategies for borrowers trying to secure a mortgage in a climate of tighter lending criteria, including reducing spending on non-essential items in the run up to applying, and taking steps to improve credit score. Alternative mortgage options were also highlighted, such as the Government-backed Help to Buy scheme, and deals through mainstream lenders that allow parental assistance.The Telegraph looked at the boom...

What the papers say – 16th and 17th May 2015

With the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme making up a sizeable percentage of high Loan-to Value (LTV) lending, the Times reported this weekend on calls for the Government to explain how it intends to support this area of the market when the initiative comes to an end next year. Experts commented on the significant increase in the number of 95% LTV deals available on the market since the launch of the scheme, and there are hopes that it will ...

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

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

What the papers say – 25th to 26th April 2015

One year on from the Financial Conduct Authority’s Mortgage Market Review (MMR), and the weekend’s financial press was keen to look at the impact on borrowers. The Financial Times, Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Express all reported a decline in mortgage lending and in particular a drop in First Time Buyer numbers. Experts pointed out that separating the effects of stricter criteria and general market changes can be difficult, but agreed that some g...

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

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

What the papers say – 11th and 12th April 2015

There was a degree of scepticism in this weekend’s Financial Times over the predicted ‘Buy-to-Let Bonanza’ that could follow the recent pension reforms. Research suggests that only the top 7% could afford an outright purchase of an average property costing £180,000, and concerns over taxation are likely to prevent a rush to invest in property.While some older borrowers might be considering entering the Buy-to-Let market, the Telegraph revealed th...

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

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

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

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

What the papers say – 21st-22nd March 2015

The recurring theme in the weekend’s financial press was, of course, last week’s Budget announcement. The pros and cons of the Government’s new Help to Buy ISA featured heavily, with the Guardian and Times fleshing out some more detail, while the Telegraph looked at cash ISA’s as a comparison for those wishing to invest larger lump sums. Many welcomed the introduction of a product designed to help First Time Buyers save for their deposit, but the...

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

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

What the papers say – 7th – 8th 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 – 21st – 22nd February 2015

The mortgage price war continues apace, and the Sunday Times revealed this weekend that more borrowers are considering paying Early Repayment Charges to break their existing mortgage contract in order to move to a cheaper deal. With rates at record lows, and edging down on a weekly basis as lenders fight for the best buy top spot, homeowners could find they are able to cut their rate significantly enough to cover their penalty charges as well as ...

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

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

What the papers say – 31st January to 1st February 2015

The Telegraph and Independent on Sunday both looked this weekend at the difficulties experienced by borrowers looking to port their mortgage to a new property or even significantly reduce their borrowing by downsizing. When stricter lending rules regarding affordability came into force last year, the FCA also introduced ‘transitional arrangements’, allowing lenders to bypass the new criteria for existing customers who weren’t looking to increase ...

What the papers say – 24th to 25th January 2015

What the papers say – 24th to 25th January 2015The Observer reported this weekend on recent figures from the Office of National Statistics, which revealed that 45% of 25-34 year olds currently own their own home – a sizeable drop from 1991 when the figure stood at 65%. The news is not all bad however, as brokers pointed out that rate cuts over the last few months have widened to include those with small deposits rather than being limited to those...

What the papers say – 17th to 18th January 2015

The financial press took a look at different aspects of the Buy-to-Let market this weekend. The Times reported on recent research which revealed that around 16% of those who will be cashing in their retirement pots following April’s ‘pension freedom’ reforms plan to invest in Buy-to-Let property. While this may be a way to generate income into retirement, experts warned that potential investors need to understand the implications regarding income...

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

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

What the papers say – 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...

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...

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

What the papers say –15th and 16th November 2014The Financial Times reported this weekend that the proportion of borrowers using brokers grew to 62% in the 3 months leading up to September, an increase from 58% in the previous quarter, and is expected to keep growing. With the introduction of tougher lending guidelines this year, borrowers have been keen to use mortgage brokers to help find them the best deal and guide them through the stricter a...

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

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

What the papers say – 1st and 2nd November 2014

The financial press this weekend highlighted the options, limited or otherwise, for different groups of borrowers. The Mail on Sunday looked at Shared Ownership mortgages, available through high street banks on a national basis but also smaller building societies that lend on a more local level. This can be a more affordable way for First Time Buyers to get on to the property ladder, but borrowers must remember that, on top of the monthly mortgag...

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

This weekend’s financial press focused heavily on new record-low discount mortgages launched by high street lenders, with mortgage experts in the Telegraph, Mail and Times suggesting that it is yet another sign of increased competition in the market. Other lenders are predicted to follow suit with further rate cuts and eye-catching deals. The catch with the very lowest rates however is often the set up costs, which can make them unsuitable for sm...

What the papers say – 11th and 12th October 2014

There was good news in this weekend’s financial press, with the Observer and Sunday Telegraph reporting that the mortgage ‘price war’ is set to intensify over the coming weeks, as banks and building societies compete for business in the run up to Christmas. Lenders including Yorkshire Building Society and Woolwich have already launched 2 year fixes under 2%, while the number of 5 year fixes at sub-3% is also on the increase.Signals from the marke...

What the papers say – 4th and 5th October 2014

The difficulties experienced by borrowers since the introduction of tougher lending rules earlier this year continues to be highlighted by the financial press. The Telegraph revealed that, while some lenders have eased their criteria regarding self employed applicants, borrowers are still being rejected due to lack of records. Brokers pointed out that businesses are often set up to be tax efficient but this can make it harder to prove income.The ...

What the papers say – Week commencing 27th September

Potential changes are afoot in the Buy-to-Let market, which could see the ‘accidental landlord’ phenomenon become a thing of the past. The Times revealed this weekend that a new EU directive, due to be implemented in March 2016, could mean that lenders must make a distinction between deliberate investors and ‘consumer’ landlords – with the latter becoming a regulated part of the market. Critics argued that this would prove to be a complicated and...

What the papers say – 20th and 21st September 2014

The Financial Times and Sunday Times looked this weekend at the effect of the Scottish ‘No’ vote on the UK market. Experts suggested that the outcome itself will reduce uncertainty in the market, paving the way for an interest rate rise next year, and a revival in the property sales that have stalled over recent months. Brokers felt that market reaction could push up costs a little for lenders, but competition for business as we approach year end...

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

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

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

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

What the papers say – 16th and 17th August 2014

There was good news for borrowers in this weekend’s press, with the Financial Times reporting on the Bank of England’s recent indication that an eventual base rate rise will be a gradual one, and unlikely to happen within the next few months. This news has pushed predictions back to the early part of next year, allowing further access to the competitive deals currently on the market. Brokers warned against inaction though, urging homeowners not t...

What the papers say – 9th and 10th August 2014

The Financial Times reported this weekend on recent rate cuts by lenders including Santander, Scottish Widows and the West Bromwich Building Society as part of their ‘summer sale’. Brokers urged borrowers not to hold out for further cuts, but to snap up these deals before rates start to climb ahead of an anticipated base rate rise.There was also further coverage of the news that Lloyds Banking Group is to reduce the maximum borrowing allowed unde...

What the papers say – 26th and 27th July 2014

The Telegraph and Sunday Times both reported this weekend on the difficulties experienced by older borrowers when trying to secure a mortgage. Many of the high street lenders have reduced their maximum lending age, and increased regulation has also resulted in tougher criteria and harsher lending decisions. Brokers suggested those looking for a mortgage term which could take them past the age of 75 would be better off considering smaller building...

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

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

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

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

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 – 17th and 18th May 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The financial press looked this weekend at the impact of new affordability rules coming into force next month in response to the FCA’s Mortgage Market Review. Experts warn that stricter criteria could hamper borrowers’ chances of securing a mortgage, with the Financial Times revealing that some lenders are already reducing borrowing levels for those who have monthly commitments including pension and life assurance contributions. Evidence of payda...

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

The Independent reported this week on the winners and losers since the Bank of England cut the base rate to 0.50% 5 years ago. While savings rates have floundered, borrowers have benefited from record low mortgage rates, and many have taken advantage of this by overpaying to reduce their debt.For those that haven’t taken the opportunity, there is still time, and brokers suggested that allocating a larger slice of the monthly budget to the mortgag...

What the papers say – 22nd and 23rd February 2014

Changes in lending criteria, for better or worse, featured in this weekend’s financial press. On a positive note, the Sunday Times reported that more options are opening up for freelance and contract workers, with Kensington launching a range of deals specifically for contractors, and high street lenders such as Halifax and Woolwich becoming more welcoming.Existing homeowners wishing to move their mortgage to a new property may find however that ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the papers say – 11th and 12th January 2014

The Observer reported this weekend that a tightening up of rules regarding affordability and the withdrawal of cheap lending will mean mortgages are harder to secure this year. The Mortgage Market Review comes into force in April, and brings with it stricter rules from the Financial Conduct Authority, meaning lenders will be forced to look at borrowers’ finances in greater detail. Homeowners will also be stress tested to see if they can afford th...

What the papers say – 14th and 15th December 2013

The Sunday Times reported this weekend that Aldermore Bank has become the first lender to offer remortgage deals up to 95% loan-to-value under the new Help to Buy initiative. The Guardian revealed that Virgin Money has joined the scheme and their products will also be available to those looking to remortgage up to 90%. These schemes could prove useful to borrowers currently stuck on a high Standard Variable Rate, although brokers advised homeowne...

What the papers say – 23rd and 24th November 2013

The main focus of this weekend’s financial press was the launch of new 95% deals by HSBC and Yorkshire Building Society. The Guardian reported that YBS have launched their range without relying on Government support through the Help to Buy initiative, following research which suggested that buyers favoured more traditional home loans. Experts in the Financial Times suggested that these new rates are still likely to have an impact on the rates of ...

What the papers say – 2nd and 3rd November 2013

Lender criteria was the focus of mortgage news in the financial press this weekend, with the Telegraph revealing that lenders are cracking down on borrowers who fail to notify them that they are renting out their properties. Many accidental landlords are trying to avoid being transferred to higher Buy-to-Let rates, so lenders are checking electoral roll registers, social media websites and online letting agencies. The Sunday Times looked at crit...

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 – 12th and 13th October 2013

Help to Buy featured heavily in the financial press this weekend following the launch of specific mortgage products last week. Experts in the Sunday Times criticised lenders for releasing rates close to or above 5% despite having a Government guarantee in place for 15% of the loan. Brokers in the Telegraph and Sunday Express suggested however that the rates launched so far are competitive and add welcome choice to the small number of deals curren...

What the papers say – 5th and 6th October 2013

Mortgage related news focused primarily on the second phase of the Government Help to Buy initiative this weekend, following the surprise announcement that the launch of the scheme was to be brought forward from January 2014 to this week. The Guardian reported that the Lloyds Banking Group, and RBS together with NatWest will be the first lenders to offer Help to Buy schemes, although rates and scheme details have yet to be confirmed. The scheme i...

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

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

What the papers say – 7th to 11th September 2013

The financial press urged borrowers this weekend to act swiftly and secure a record-low mortgage rate before it is too late. Experts in the Times and Sunday Times suggested that a recent increase in swap rates – the rates at which financial institutions borrow from each other – is likely to result in mortgage rates increasing. Problems with strict lending criteria can present barriers to changing mortgage however, and the Telegraph reported on t...

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

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

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

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

What the papers say – Week 22nd June 2013

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

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

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

What the papers say – Week 6th July 2013

The Mail on Sunday looked this weekend at the impact of an inevitable rate rise, and urged borrowers to check their current rate and use an online calculator to see how much their payment would increase by if rates rose. Swapping to a cheaper rate and using the additional money to overpay means the debt will reduce at a faster rate, and even modest overpayments can help.The Financial Times revealed that high street lenders including RBS and Barcl...

What the papers say – 11th and 12th May 2013

The Financial Times reported this weekend on Government plans to make landlords responsible for checking tenants’ immigration status. Experts claimed that it was unacceptable to expect the property industry to deliver the Government’s immigration policy, and more rules imposed on landlords could only result in higher costs for tenants. The National Landlord Association already runs offers a tenant check service, but at this stage it is unclear wh...

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

The financial press this weekend looked at alternative options for those borrowing groups who often struggle to secure a mortgage. First Time Buyers in particular have found it harder and harder in recent years to get on to the property ladder due to rising costs and stricter criteria, but the Sunday Times and Independent on Sunday both reported on recent improvements in this area of the market. Last week saw the launch of the Barclays Springboar...

What the papers say – 5th and 6th January 2013

This weekend’s financial press looked to the year ahead, with the Independent on Sunday and Financial Times providing tips on getting to grips with household finances. With some of the lowest ever interest rates launched at the end of last year, borrowers are urged to review their mortgage, or consider overpaying if remortgaging is not possible due to loan-to-value restrictions. Banks and building societies intend to boost lending further over th...

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

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

What the papers say – 17th and 18th November 2012

The Sunday Express reported this weekend on a 20% increase in the number of Buy-to-Let mortgages being taken out compared to last year, with cheap mortgage rates, low property prices and strong rental demand said to be contributing factors. The Mail on Sunday also looked at the rise in accidental landlords, as borrowers struggle to sell their properties in a weak market, and are forced to let them out. Elsewhere the Times discussed the issues su...

What the papers say – 19th – 21st October 2012

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

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

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

What the new planning changes mean for homeowners

This month the Government has announced a raft of new housing measures which it says are aimed at helping housing and job markets and boosting the economy.Included in the package are plans to relax the planning rules for homes and businesses and cut “red tape across the planning system”.For home owners, this means planned changes to the rules for extensions, loft conversions/extensions and conservatories and what can be built without needing to o...

What the papers say – 8th and 9th September 2012

The Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday had news this weekend of Government plans for a large-scale programme of house-building to kick start the dwindling property market and boost the economy. It is set to provide £10billion of loan guarantees to builders, and is pumping a further £280 million into its FirstBuy scheme. Proposals have also been released to relax planning rules, allowing homeowners more scope to add extensions and renovations to thei...

What the papers say – 7th and 8th July 2012

Last week’s announcement that ING will be increasing their Standard Variable Rate from 1st August prompted further discussion in this weekend’s financial press about increasing rates. Experts in the Sunday Express and Sunday Times suggested that many borrowers have been sitting happily on SVR for some time now, but recent movements such as this should act as a catalyst for homeowners to review their deal and consider remortgaging now. For those ...

What the papers say – 16th – 17th June 2012

The new ‘Funding for Lending’ scheme recently announced by George Osborne was the talk of the financial press this weekend, with industry experts both welcoming the move and questioning the impact it will ultimately have. Some brokers suggested in the Times that the plan to inject up to £140bn into the market could result in lower mortgage rates and more borrowers being successful in their loan applications, but others in the Mail on Sunday and S...

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

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

What the papers say – 26th – 27th May 2012

The big news in the financial press this weekend was the IMF’s recent call for the Bank of England to drop its interest rate in order to prevent the economy from stagnating. Experts warned in the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday however that many borrowers on tracker mortgages wouldn’t actually benefit from any cuts in base rate due to minimum (or collar) rates applied to their deals by lenders. Anyone currently on a Standard Variable Rate is also...

What the papers say – 12th – 13th May 2012

The Times took another look at lender criteria this weekend with critics claiming that some, including Northern Rock and Santander, have gone too far with their questioning to establish affordability, requiring such detail as how much a borrower spends on holidays, Christmas, and even their pets. With the market as uncertain as it is this is perhaps not a surprise, but many experts feel that such stringent questioning will push would-be First Tim...

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

With lenders including Halifax, Co-Op Bank and Yorkshire Building Society increasing their Standard Variable Rates this month, the financial press this week has been full of warnings to borrowers to be vigilant in regards to their own mortgage. Experts in the Times, the Independent and the Financial Times advised homeowners to review their options as a matter of urgency and take advantage of low rates now. The gap between fixed and tracker rates ...

What the papers say – 21st – 22nd April 2012

Lenders including the Co-Op Bank, Halifax and Clydesdale Bank are set to increase their Standard Variable Rates from next month, and thousands of borrowers will see their monthly payments rise as a result. The Times, Sunday Mirror and Observer all highlighted the importance for anyone on their lender’s SVR to review their options now and consider remortgaging to a better deal while they are still available. Experts suggested that many will want t...

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

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

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...

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

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

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

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

What the papers say – 21st and 22nd January 2012

The Times looked this weekend at the various factors that can have a bearing on borrowing levels, including student loans, the number of dependants a person has, and even whether or not they have had a landline installed. Brokers were keen to point out that affordability calculators offered by most lenders online are just an indication of potential borrowing. Some lenders are much more flexible than others so a decline from one does not necessari...

What the papers say - 14th and 15th January 2012

Despite an uncertain outlook for the mortgage market and a recent increase in rates by lenders including ING, experts in this weekend’s financial press suggested that there are still competitively priced deals to be found. The Times warned however that borrowers should watch out for extra costs attached to ‘best-buy’ rates, as many lenders have increased arrangement fees in order to spread the cost of the deal.  The Sunday Times reported on pred...

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

The plight of the First Time Buyer continues into the New Year, with the Sunday Times reporting that, despite lenders introducing more competitive rates, deals remain costly and hard to obtain, largely due to the size of deposit now required. Experts in the Sunday Express also suggested that a squeaky clean credit record and minimal financial commitments are essential. The recent FSA proposals on affordability calculations and interest only mortg...

What the papers say- 10th - 14th December 2011

Changes in the mortgage market, both in terms of rate and criteria, were the subject of much discussion in the financial press this week. The Sunday Telegraph considered how the increased cost of funding, resulting from the eurozone crisis, has led to mortgage rates gradually starting to increase over recent months, while the Sunday Times reported on the potential impact of tighter funding conditions. Some lenders have tightened up on criteria re...

What the papers say- 3rd and 4th December 2011

The financial press this weekend urged borrowers to prepare for a second credit crunch by reviewing their mortgage now while deals are still competitive. The Financial Times, Telegraph and Sunday Times all reported that many lenders have already increased rates, and analysts predict further rises next year as the Euro Zone crisis forces up the cost of wholesale funding. Experts recommended that anyone on a low Standard Variable Rate takes the opp...

What the papers say 12-13th November 2011

What the papers say- 12th and 13th November 2011 The Financial Times and Sunday Times reports that 2 lenders have increased their SVR (standard variable rates) without the Bank of England base rate changing and discuss the possibility of other less well capitalised banks following suit. The Sunday Telegraph and The Times attention is drawn to the ongoing problems of the eurozone, which is increasing the cost of lenders’ funding and making UK mor...

What the papers say- 5th and 6th November 2011

The Bank of Mum and Dad is still a necessity for many First Time Buyers, and the Telegraph reported this weekend on the number of mortgage deals which now allow parents to use equity in their own home rather than having to find money for a deposit. Experts suggested that these types of deal would appeal to those who aren’t ‘cash-rich’ but still wish to help. Family offset mortgages were also discussed as a good alternative, as parents can use the...

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