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.

Demand for long-term fixed rate mortgages grows

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

Buying for Uni

Growing numbers of university students are becoming landlords, buying properties that they can live in whilst also collecting rent from their student housemates. ...

Uncertainty causes mortgage market slowdown

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

Number of Help to Buy loans up by 9%

The number of homes purchased using Help to Buy increased by 9% in the year to the end of March 2019, with 52,404 properties bought using the scheme over this period. ...

Interest rates unchanged in August

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

Can you get a mortgage if you work for yourself?

Despite recent reports that self-employed people often believe they’d struggle to get a mortgage, being your own boss won’t necessarily make it harder to get on the property ladder. ...

Leaseholds axed for all new houses

All new build homes should be sold on a freehold basis in future, in a bid to tackle unfair and exploitative leasehold practices, the government announced in recent weeks. ...

Longer term mortgages on the rise

More than 28,000 mortgages running for 35 years or more were approved in 2017, according to data from the Financial Conduct Authority, with a growing number of lenders now offering terms of up to 40 years. ...

UK house prices shrug off Brexit worries

House price growth in the UK remains resilient despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty according to Halifax, with prices rising at their fastest annual rate since early 2017. ...

First-time buyers bypass flats

The average price of a flat in England has fallen by 2.1% over the year to an average of £220,146, according to the UK House Price Index for April, whereas all other types of property have increased in value. ...

IKEA to build low cost homes

Fancy a flat-pack home? Up to 162 new factory-built homes could soon be constructed in Worthing if a deal between the council and an affordable housing developer co-owned by IKEA goes ahead. ...

Base rate kept on hold in June

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

Why you might be turned down for a mortgage (and what you can do about it)

Most mortgage applications go without a hitch, but there are times when applications are refused, leaving buyers or homeowners wondering which way to turn. The good news is that once you know the reasons why a mortgage might be declined you can work on boosting your chances of being accepted. ...

New mortgages for public sector heroes

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

Interest-only mortgages stage comeback

There are nearly 200 interest-only mortgages for borrowers to pick from, according to recent research, nearly double the number available in 2013. ...

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

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

Overseas buyers to pay higher stamp duty

Non-UK residents buying homes in England and Northern Ireland could soon face steeper stamp duty costs, under proposals being considered by the government. ...

House price growth remains sluggish in March

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

Are banks really offering 100% mortgages?

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

First-time buyer numbers jump

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

What are your mortgage resolutions for 2019?

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

First-time buyers look to parents for help

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

New year, new house? Get ready with our top tips

Is moving house one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, check out our list of do’s and don’ts to get your home ready for viewing and see if you can get the best possible price. ...

Beyond the Bank of Mum and Dad

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

What will the Budget mean for the property market?

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

What does the future hold for Help to Buy?

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

Is your self-employed paperwork up to date?

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

New Help to Buy mortgages launched

Growing numbers of lenders are launching Help to Buy mortgages, increasing the options available to buyers of new build properties. ...

Get set for Gas Safety Week

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

Borrowers fix for longer

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

Mortgage lending up in July

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

House prices see biggest monthly fall since 2012

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

Securing a fixed rate to protect against rising interest rates

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

Options improve for 95% remortgage deals

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

Second steppers return to Bank of Mum and Dad

Whilst first-time buyers often rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad to help with their deposits, those planning their next move also depend on their support, according to the latest ‘Second Steppers’ report from Lloyds Bank. ...

Buying cheaper than renting in all parts of the UK

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

Remortgages up by a third in April

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

Millennials join forces to buy property

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

What the papers said about borrowers young and old

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

More help needed for ‘Generation Rent’

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

Post Office launches new no deposit mortgage

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

Help to Buy equity loans approach 5th anniversary

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

M&S introduces first mortgage range

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

Guide to negotiating the price of a property

You’ve found the property you want to buy, but now you need to get it for the right price. We understand that haggling on the property price can be tricky... So here are our top tips to help you buy a property at the best possible price. ...

Things to remember when moving home

Moving home is supposedly one of life’s most stressful events, but a bit of careful planning can help ease the strain. Here are some of the things you need to think about when making your move....

Government announces crackdown on leaseholds for new-build homes

Leaseholds on new build-houses could soon be banned under new proposals being considered by the government. The government said that it will consult on whether to prohibit the sale of new build leasehold houses and limit the amount of ground rent that can be charged. ...

Interest rates held at 0.25%

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

What is let to buy?

Let to buy can be an option for those who want to purchase a new home whilst keeping hold of their current property and letting it out. As someone looking to buy a new property, it can allow you to release some equity from your current home and put it down as a deposit on your new one.It’s a popular choice for couples who move in together later in life, perhaps once they both already have their own properties. In this case, you’d both move into o...

How to get a mortgage if you’re self-employed

Applying for a mortgage can be tricky, but if you’re a self-employed worker, freelancer or contractor, you could face extra challenges. Here's what you'll need to get a mortgage as a self-employed person... ...

Five questions to ask when viewing a house

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

Advantages of using a mortgage broker

Let’s face it, if you’re buying a home or remortgaging, the huge choice of mortgages available can seem bewildering. Should you go for a fixed rate deal, a variable rate deal, or an offset mortgage? And how much will you be able to afford?...

Explaining the terms - completion and exchange

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

Tips to add value to your home

If you’re looking to bump up the value of your property, perhaps with a view to selling it, then the good news is that lots of improvements can be made without breaking the bank. Here are our top tips on how to add value to your home....

Making sense of solicitors’ quotes

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

4 tips for mortgage money saving

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

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...

Win a Canvas Print of Your Favourite Game of Thrones Castle!

***THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED*** Thanks to everyone that entered the competition! The winner of the competition is Iain Maciver, who voted for Riverrun as his favourite Game of Thrones castle and will be receiving a canvas print of the castle very soon. Keep checking back to the London & Country blog for more competitions and updates!  Here at London and Country Mortgages, we decided to value seven castles from the hit TV show Game of...

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 – 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 First Time Buyers should know about saving for a deposit

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

10 Point Checklist for First Time Buyers in 2014

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

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 – 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 – 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...

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...

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

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

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