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 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. ...

Is your self-employed paperwork up to date?

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

Get set for Gas Safety Week

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

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. ...

SVR Watch - August 2018

The Bank of England has increased base rate by 0.25% to 0.75%. Here’s our rundown of how lenders are reacting to the rise, so you can see whether yours has increased its Standard Variable Rate. ...

House prices pick up in July

House prices picked up last month, according to Nationwide’s latest house price index, with annual growth up from 2% in June to 2.5% in July. ...

What the papers said about rising rates

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

Bank of England raises interest rates

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

Securing a fixed rate to protect against rising interest rates

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

Difference between SVRs and fixed rates grows

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

Options improve for 95% remortgage deals

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

Remortgages up by a third in April

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

Brexit could delay rate rises

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

Greater mortgage choice for buy to let landlords

Two lenders, Sainsbury’s Bank and The Mortgage Lender, have entered the buy to let market this for the first time, widening the range of mortgage options available to landlords. ...

What the papers said about borrowers young and old

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

What would a rate rise mean for you?

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

What the papers said about preparing for change

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

What the papers say about mortgage rates

'Join the race to remortgage' was the main theme of this weekend's papers, with the Times keen to point out that 25 lenders have increased their rates in the past 2 weeks, driving 2 year fixed rates to their highest level since September 2016. ...

House price growth slows

House prices are growing at their slowest rate for five years, according to Halifax’s latest monthly House Price Index. ...

Make sure you use your paper £10 notes before 1st March!

There are just a few days to go before around 211 million paper £10 notes featuring Charles Darwin cease to become legal tender. That’s enough cash to pay off more than 14,000 mortgages of £150,000 each! ...

Interest-only borrowers warned to take action

Homeowners with interest-only mortgages who could face a shortfall in their repayment plans should take action or contact their lender as soon as possible to discuss their options. ...

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

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

M&S introduces first mortgage range

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

What are your mortgage resolutions?

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

What the papers said about ISA’s and remortgaging

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

First-time buyers continue to buoy mortgage market

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

First-Timers overtake homeowners

The number of first time buyers over the past year has overtaken the number of home movers for the first time in more than a decade. ...

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. ...

Leasehold Vs Freehold

Understanding the difference between leasehold and freehold is vital when buying a home. Find out more with L&C Mortgages....

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...

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....

How to save on your winter household bills

How to save money on your winter household bills: As winter draws ever nearer and energy bills begin to climb, we wanted to share some simple steps to save money on your household bills with small changes that will make a big difference....

How to help your mortgage affordability

When you apply for a mortgage, lenders will look to your bank statements to help them decide how much you can afford to borrow. Follow these simple steps to boost your mortgage affordability...

4 tips for mortgage money saving

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

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 – 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 – 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 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...

Remortgaging grows in March

Figures from the Council of Mortgages Lenders show remortgaging picked up in March: 6% higher than a year earlier and a huge 19% up compared to the previous month – the first annual growth in nearly a year.No doubt this was fuelled by the ongoing price war between lenders which has been driving rates down steadily since late 2014, making (worthwhile) savings a realistic possibility for ever more borrowers.That’s particularly true at higher loan-t...

Can late payments affect a mortgage application?

Whilst some lenders are more lenient than others, late payments will always affect your mortgage application to some degree.If you miss a payment on any form of credit, it stays on your credit file for six years regardless of how quickly you have caught up. The likelihood is that this will have a negative impact on your credit rating, especially during the first few years.Still, it all depends on you and your individual circumstances as to how di...

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 ...

Can you get a mortgage on a temporary work contract?

The good news is that being on a temporary work contract won’t necessarily stop you getting a mortgage, providing you have at least 12 months’ history in that current line of work and have not had any breaks in employment. What’s the issue with ‘temp’ contracts and mortgages? Most lenders don’t like short term contracts because they suggest the applicant’s income isn’t guaranteed for any significant period of time.If you’re on a temporary contr...

Adding partners or spouses onto an existing mortgage

If you and your partner have been living together, there may come a point where you want to put your partners name onto the mortgage alongside yours.If your partner is helping to pay off the mortgage or contributing to the bills, and especially where children are involved, it can be a sensible move to get them added to the property deeds and the mortgage. However, it’s not just a case of changing the names on the mortgage with your lender....

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...

Do payday loans affect getting a mortgage?

Payday loans won’t directly affect your mortgage or remortgage application, but if you’ve taken one out in the last six years, then lenders may become warier of you and this could lead towards your mortgage application being rejected.Here’s how it works… The effect of a payday loan on your credit rating Evidence of your payday loan will stay on your credit file for six years, which is one reason why the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has cal...

Divorce and Mortgages

If you are going through a divorce one of the most important steps is sorting out the finances. It is often the case that one of the main parts of the settlement is who will get to keep the house.So how is that decision reached? What happens with the remaining mortgage payments? And once it has been determined by all parties involved and that reconciliation is irretrievable, what happens to the mortgage? Who is liable for the mortgage? If you ...

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 – 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...

Base rate at record low for 5 years

March 2014 marks the 5th anniversary since the Bank of England cut UK interest rates to a record low of 0.5%.  Rates haven’t changed since and during that period, around a million first time buyers have embarked upon their home-owning journey. And whilst they will have been assessed by their lenders to ensure their mortgage will be affordable for them, none of them have yet experienced a rise in interest rates as a homeowner. Many will have opted...

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 – 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 – 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...

Mortgage market on the up

The mortgage market is one that has been light on good news ever since the credit crisis hit, changing its face almost overnight.  The tightening of criteria and tougher deposit requirements meant that there was little of cheer for those looking for a new mortgage.However there has been something of a turnaround in market conditions with lenders now fighting tooth and nail to attract mortgage borrowers.  Hardly a day passes without a lender makin...

Borrowers locking into fixes as mortgage rates fall

New figures from the Bank of England highlight how mortgage rates have been improving in recent months as lenders have fought it out to offer best buy rates to borrowers.  The figures show that the average two-year fixed rate mortgage (for someone borrowing 75% of the property value) available to borrowers in February was 2.87%, down from 3.06% in January and 3.69% in August last year.The average cost of a five-year fixed rate (also to 75% LTV) i...

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 ...

Funding for Lending helps improve mortgage rates

Hardly a day goes by without a mortgage lender announcing an improvement to its mortgage rates.  This increased level of competition has on occasion seen some 2 year fixed deals drop just below 2% and 5 year deals below 3%.This improvement in lender appetite has certainly been assisted by the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS).  The FLS was announced by the Bank of England in July and launched in August to provide a source of cheap funding for lend...

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...

Homeowners choose improving over moving

A recent survey by Nationwide BS has shown that just under half of homeowners are planning to make home improvements compared to only 8% that are planning to move.  The majority of those planning to make improvements had an update of their decor in mind to modernise the home but almost 1 in 10 cited increasing living space as the reason.These figures are unlikely to come as a surprise to homeowners that have considered moving recently.  The marke...

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 ...

Bank of England's new bank funding schemes – what do they mean for mortgages?

In their Mansion House speeches last night, Chancellor George Osbourne and Bank of England Governor Mervyn King announced two new schemes to support bank funding. As ever with these things we had the grand announcement with little detail, but here’s what we know so far, and some initial thoughts on what it might mean for the UK mortgage market.There are two distinct schemes that shouldn't be confused: there’s the £5bn+ per month emergency liquidi...

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...

Halifax Gives its SVR Cap More Headroom

Halifax has announced that it will increase the cap that applies to its standard variable rate (SVR) for some borrowers.  The cap will increase from 3% above Bank of England Base Rate to as much as 3.75% above Base Rate.That may not come as a big surprise to some as this isn’t the first time that Halifax has increased the cap on its SVR.   Although there has not yet been any increase in the SVR it would seem a fair bet that this will only lay the...

Interested in Interest Only?

Anyone showing even a small interest in the mortgage market will have read about how things have tightened up in the last few years, making it harder to get a mortgage.  One area that continues to see lenders getting tougher on borrowers is that of interest only mortgages.Lenders across the market have already tightened up on interest only mortgages with the majority imposing a maximum of 75% of the property value for those opting for an interest...

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...

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 ...

What the papers say - 15th-16th October 2011

With 319 different offset schemes now available both the Financial Times and Independent encourage borrowers to explore whether their savings will give a better return if they are used to offset their mortgage debt.  As the Sunday Times indicates the housing market recovery has stalled although some lenders are launching new products to try and help first time buyers return to the market.  The Times looked at whether it is time to switch mortgag...

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