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 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. ...

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 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. You wi...

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...

Overpaying your mortgage while rates are low could reap rewards

Thousands of borrowers have been enjoying low mortgage repayments whilst the Bank of England base rate has been at 0.5% for a record 30 months. It is of course tempting to enjoy the extra cash – whether it’s to absorb other rising costs such as petrol and utilities, or to spend on more exciting things.  However, it’s worth remembering that making regular overpayments of your mortgage can pay dividends in the long run.There are a number of benefit...

Gross Mortgage Lending 10% Higher Than a Year Ago

According to CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) figures released today, gross mortgage lending was an estimated £13.4 billion in August, a 10% increase from £12.1 billion in August 2010. This was also a 6% increase from £12.6 billion in July.This is the highest level of lending since July 2009 when total lending was £14 billion and the highest monthly total for August since 2008 when the total was £19.3 billion.In his market commentary CML chief e...

CML Data Reveals Improvements in Mortgage lending

CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) data released yesterday showed overall lending for house purchase in July increased both in volume and value versus June, and was at its highest level since August 2010. There were a total of 48,800 home purchase loans with a value of £7.3billion.In addition lending to first-time buyers was at its highest level in a year at 18,200 loans with a value of £2.3billion and remortgages too showed a marked improvement, ...

Buy to Let is the new black

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) data for quarter 2 of 2011 showed a significant increase in both the volume and value of new buy to let mortgages. The number of buy to let mortgages taken out increased from 27,600 in Q1 to 32,000 in Q2, and value from £2.9billion to £3.5billion.This has undoubtedly been fuelled by a greater demand for private rented accommodation and an increase in the amount of rent achievable. In addition buy to let landl...

First Time buyers would benefit from buying now – if they can find a deposit

Research just published by Halifax shows that first time buyers would be £110 a month better off if they bought a property and paid a mortgage and other costs compared to renting the same property.  This is in stark contrast to the position in 2008 when the average cost of buying was 29% more than renting. The reduction in costs for first time buyers is as a result of lower mortgage rates and house prices.In addition to this, affordability, which...

Interest free mortgage?

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

Mortgage lenders not passing on rate cuts to borrowers

Consumer group Which? has today accused mortgage lenders of not passing on interest rate cuts to borrowers.  Its research found that 95% of mortgage lenders failed to fully pass on cuts in the Bank of England base rate after it was cut from 5% to its current level of 0.5% between October 2008 and March 2009.Since then, more than a fifth of lenders have increased their Standard Variable Rate (SVR), despite no change in the Bank of England rate. Th...

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

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

What the papers say- 14th and 15th May 2011

The Times reported this weekend that lenders including Lloyds Group and Nationwide have tightened up on interest-only criteria in anticipation of changes to FSA regulation; restricting loan-to-value to 75% and requiring proof of suitable repayment vehicles. Experts say there is still a place for interest-only mortgages, particularly for those whose income is set to increase over time or those that earn regular bonuses and plan to use them to redu...

Spring brings welcome competition to the mortgage market

As well as warm weather and long weekends, the last few weeks have given us a flurry of activity in the mortgage market and we’ve seen a host of lenders cutting interest rates and reducing arrangement fees – all of which is good news for those looking for a new mortgage deal.The Nationwide Building Society has announced that from tomorrow it is extending its £500 discount on mortgage product fees to all new customers buying a home.  Also this wee...

Mortgage Trust Relaunch with New Buy to Let Mortgages

Mortgage Trust has just launched two competitive Buy to Let mortgage deals for landlords looking to remortgage.  There is a 2 year tracker and fixed rate to choose from, with initial rates of 3.99% and 4.99% respectively.  Both are available to 75% of the property value, carry arrangement fees of £1098 and offer free valuation and legal work for remortgage.Mortgage Trust is a brand that was synonymous with Buy to Let but temporarily stopped lendi...

New mortgage deals for homebuyers

For the last few years, securing a mortgage with only a small deposit has been very difficult, if not impossible for many home buyers.Mortgage lenders are still very cautious, but the market is slowly improving in terms of the choice available to borrowers.  This week the Council of Mortgage Lenders said that gross mortgage lending rose in March by 21% and it predicts that the availability of mortgage credit will improve over the next few months,...

Home owners pay off record amounts of mortgage debt

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

2011 mortgage market round-up

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

Mortgage lending still subdued, but remortgaging is on the rise

New figures released today by the British Bankers Association (BBA) suggest that the UK mortgage and housing markets remain subdued at the beginning of 2011.Gross mortgage lending at the main high street banks totalled £8.2billion in January - slightly higher than the recent six month average of £8bn and 2% higher than gross lending in January 2010.Mortgage approvals for house purchase were marginally higher than in December, but they remain 29% ...

Borrowers rush to secure a fixed rate as rates rise

It’s been a busy start to the year for the mortgage market thanks to rate rises and an influx of borrowers looking to grab themselves a fixed rate deal.  News of a surprise leap in inflation last month put further pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates and also led mortgage lenders to put up the cost of their fixed rates. So far this month a host of lenders including Halifax, C&G, HSBC, Northern Rock and Woolwich have raised...

As fixed mortgage rates rise, should you fix or stick?

Lender after lender has withdrawn their fixed rate mortgages over the course of the last couple of weeks, only to replace them with higher rates.  The trend continues this week with HSBC and Woolwich the latest lenders to hike their fixed rate mortgages. High inflation figures have sparked speculation that the Bank of England will need to lift Base rate sooner than previously anticipated.  Many borrowers will have been expecting Base rate to rise...

What the papers say- 13th January 2011

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

What the papers say - 1st December 2010

With interest rates at rock bottom the only way is up, and the Daily Mirror today looked at what homeowners can do to minimise the pain of paying a higher rate now in order to save in the long term. Several lenders allow borrowers to split their mortgage between a fixed and variable rate for example, and others are offering competitive deals to help homeowners make that difficult decision. Barclays have recently launched a range of ‘Great Escape’...

Halifax Introduces a “New” Variable Mortgage Rate

Last week Halifax announced that it will introduce a new variable mortgage rate from the 4th January.  The current standard variable rate is currently set at 3.50% but the new “Homeowner Variable Rate” will be set at a higher rate of 3.99%.  This will apply to all new mortgages from that date and borrowers will revert to the higher rate once their initial deal comes to an end. Halifax is emulating the moves already made by another Lloyds Banking...

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

The new FSA proposals on income and affordability came in for heavy criticism once again in this weekend’s financial press, with the Times reporting that lenders will be required to take into account leisure expenses including holidays, clothing and recreation when calculating affordability. Brokers expressed their concerns over the restrictive nature of the new guidelines, and particularly the impact this could have on groups such as First Time ...

Remortgaging is on the rise

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

What the papers say- 11th November 2010

There was further coverage in the midweek financial press of the recent CML report claiming that 5.6 million borrowers will not qualify for a new mortgage under the proposed FSA reforms, which are expected to be implemented next year. Experts in the Daily Mail urged the FSA to reconsider the changes, which will affect the self employed, pensioners, those with poor credit histories or low equity, and borrowers with interest only mortgages. The Da...

What the papers say- 6th and 7th November 2010

The remortgage dilemma surfaced once again in this weekend’s financial press, following the launch of the lowest ever 5 year fixed rate through ING, and a reduction in rates from lenders such as Santander and Woolwich. The Telegraph suggested that borrowers face a difficult decision on whether they should remortgage from a cheaper Standard Variable Rate, and experts advised that anyone waiting too long could have fewer options in the months to co...

Are Remortgages Back in Vogue?

There’s been a flurry of activity in recent weeks with a number of new deals launched with particular focus on remortgages.  A number of lenders have sharpened their rates and in some cases like ING, Woolwich and NatWest launched products that are only available for remortgages.For example the Woolwich “Great Escape” deal is a lifetime tracker mortgage that comes with an enviable package of no arrangement fee, free valuation, free legal work and ...

New £600m cancer drug fund announced by DoH

The Department of Health has announced a new £600 million Cancer Drugs Fund – aimed at giving cancer patients greater access to cancer drugs that their doctors recommend for them. £200 million a year in funding will be available for cancer drugs from April 2011 to the end of 2013 in a move that the Government hopes will “help thousands of patients get increased access to innovative new cancer drugs that extend life or improve quality of life.” ...

UK House prices fall by 0.7% in October 2010

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

What the papers say- 23rd and 24th October 2010

As anticipated, the weekend’s financial press focused heavily on last week’s spending review, and prompted a number of articles urging consumers to act now in order to combat the effect of the announced cuts. The Guardian and Sunday Times gave advice on finding the best deals for utilities, insurance and mortgages – with experts pointing out that borrowers should not assume that there are no savings to be had just because the mortgage market is t...

What the papers say- 16th and 17th October 2010

With predictions of a base rate rise sometime next year, experts in this weekend’s financial press urged homeowners to look at their mortgage options now and take advantage of record-low fixed rates before they inevitably rise. The Sunday Times revealed that around 3.5 million borrowers are currently sitting on a Standard Variable Rate, and the Independent suggested that, while an increase could be some way off, rates are unlikely to get any chea...

Top tips for interest only borrowers

This week has seen more research from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) into the FSA’s proposed plans to encourage more responsible mortgage lending.  The trade body said that if the FSA’s proposals had been in effect from 2005, “around 3.8million “good” loans would potentially not have been granted”.  In total, around half of all 8 million loans taken out between 2005 and 2009 would not have been approved if the tighter lending criteria had ...

Borrowers – your mortgage could help you combat the Government’s spending cuts

Ahead of the Government’s spending review later this month, the Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to withdraw child benefit from higher-rate taxpayers from 2013 – a move that will affect an estimated 1.2 million households.Currently available to everyone, the child tax benefit gives parents £20.30 a week for their first child, and £13.40 a week for any other children.  For a family with two children, that equates to a benefit of £146 ...

What the papers say- 8th and 9th May 2010

As expected, political and economic uncertainty formed the basis of this weekend’s financial press, with the Times and the Observer looking at strategies for people worried about the impact of a hung parliament on their finances. A...

What the papers say- 10th and 11th April 2010

With the general election creeping ever closer, the financial press were keen to examine the various initiatives offered by the 3 main parties this weekend. The Observer looked at various policies, such as Labour’s promise to target lending via Lloyds and RBS, as well as building another 10,000 affordable homes. The Conservatives plan to set up new local housing trusts and abolish Home Information Packs, while the Lib Dems aim to build more homes...

House Prices

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

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

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

What the papers say- 22nd – 23rd September 2009

The Daily Mail bid farewell to the 0% mortgage this week, as best-selling tracker deals taken out 2 years ago come to an end. Lenders such as Halifax offered rates running as low as 0.51% below base rate and many borrowers have benefited hugely over the last year, however they now face a hike in their monthly payments when they revert to Standard Variable Rate or look to remortgage. This is not helped by the fact that, despite lending rates plumm...

What the papers say- 19th August 2009

Mortgage news was short and sweet in the midweek press, with the Daily Mail focusing on a reported sudden increase in the number of homeowners contesting the value that mortgage lenders place on their home. Automatic valuations have become more common in recent times but problems have arisen due to the fact that they take into account similar types of property in the region rather than looking at local price bubbles or work carried out to the ind...

Market View

The latest press release from the Council of Mortgage Lenders tells us that the mortgage market is stabilising but is not yet normal. No Nobel Prize for that gem you might think, but there were some interesting facts further into the release. The number of mortgages taken out for both house purchase and remortgaging increased in June, and while the total of purchase mortgages for the quarter was up on the previous three months (showing continued...

Nationwide in Bold Forecast on House Prices

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

Less Is More (work than you'd like).

“Mortgage market in downward spiral” said Moneysupermarket.com this week, when revealing that the number of mortgage products now available stood at a measly 2,282, down from a whopping 27,962 two years ago. Now you could easily be forgiven for panicking when seeing those numbers, wondering if you’ll ever get another mortgage, but panic not, it’s not as bad as it seems. The figures quoted are accurate, but include specialist mortgages, such as ...

Mortgage Lending in May

The number of new mortgages arranged in May fell despite an increase in the number of new loans for house purchase. Overall, the amount of money lent to homeowners increased, but at a much slower rate than in April. The purchase figures support the view of both estate agents and surveyors that there has been a noticeable increase in the number of potential buyers, and of property sold, and this in turn seems to have helped halt the slide in hou...

One in six mortgages in negative equity

We’ve been hit with a barrage of mortgage-related data over the last week or so.  The likes of the British Bankers Association, Council of Mortgage Lenders and the National Association of Estate Agents (that’s the BBA, CML and NAEA if you like your acronyms) have all been reporting on the current state of the housing and mortgage market – the combined news suggests that buyer interest in the housing market is continuing to pick up, but the overal...

What the papers say- 6th and 7th June 2009

Following talk of potential rate increases towards the end of this year, one of the main themes of this weekend’s financial press was whether borrowers should be securing a good fixed rate now while they are still available....

What the papers say – 4th and 5th April 2009

Easter generally sees the start of house buying season, and as such this weekend’s press examined the current state of the UK housing market. The Independent on Sunday reported that the average property price has fallen below £150,000 for the first time in 5 years, yet mortgage finance remains the biggest barrier, particularly to First Time Buyers with small deposits. The Sunday Express continues this by discussing the call from campaigners for a...

Publication of the Turner report ends speculation over mortgage capping

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published the Turner report, in which its chairman, Lord Turner, looked into the events that led to the financial crisis.   Before publication there was widespread speculation over the findings, including a mortgage cap of 3 times the borrowers income and limiting the maximum borrowing well below a property's value.   However, while the report finds some merit in limiting borrowing, it also points to...

What the papers say – 21st and 22nd March 2009

The main focus of this weekend’s financial press was the recent FSA report detailing its plans to stabilise the UK banking sector, and in particular the impact this will have on borrowers. The Financial Times, Telegraph and The Times all discussed the plans to cap income multiples and the problems this will cause for First Time Buyers as well as those looking to remortgage. The Sunday Times continued this theme by suggesting that consumers will b...

What the papers say - 11th February 2009

There were only a few mortgage articles in the midweek finance pages, as money writers focused on the options available for worried savers and investors. The Daily Mirror looked into the advantages and disadvantages of paying charges to switch mortgage and offered some solid advice to borrowers considering this. Reportedly, the average two-year fixed rate last June was 6.58pc- more than double A&L’s current 3.19pc product. Based on a £150,00...

What the papers say - 7th and 8th February 2009

The Financial Times on Saturday announced that there are now only two options left for borrowers wanting self-certification mortgages, as BM Solutions and Bank of Scotland withdrew from the market this week. Brokers report that just two providers are still offering these types of loans- The Mortgage Works, the specialist-lending arm of Nationwide, and Platform, a division of Britannia. The Guardian also looked at the diminishing self-cert mortgag...

What the papers say - 10th and 11th January 2009

Trackers were still a major topic in various weekend mortgage articles, following a further cut to the Bank base rate on Thursday. The Mail on Sunday noted that trackers are ‘safe as houses’ and that borrowers due to remortgage and first-time buyers are being urged to shun fixed rate deals in their favour, as interest rates look set to stay low and could fall even further. However, the Daily Telegraph revealed that in many cases homeowners have ...

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