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.

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. ...

2016 Review and Outlook

Last year isn’t one any of us are likely to forget in a hurry thanks to Brexit, but amidst all the political turmoil, homebuyers and owners enjoyed some of the lowest mortgage rates ever recorded. ...

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 – 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 – 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 – 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...

Help to Buy ISA: some myths busted

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

New Help For First Time Buyers

Aside from cheaper beer, the big news out of the Budget is the Help to Buy ISA.Details are sketchy at the moment and according to Treasury documents there is much yet to be finalised. We’ve been here before, when both the Help to Buy mortgage schemes (equity loan and mortgage guarantee) were announced before lenders had worked out the practicalities.So it is with the ISA. The scheme is planned for launch in the Autumn, and the Treasury is now tal...

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 – 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 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...

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 – 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...

How to work out mortgage repayments - and why you should before buying your first home

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen buyers make over the years is not working out how much their mortgage repayments will be before they go looking at properties.One of the most common things that a lot of first time buyers do is fall head-over-heels in love with a property without considering all the factors involved; like interest rates, charges, legal fees or their monthly outgoings.Buying a house is probably going to be the biggest purchase...

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 – 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...

How to build up your credit score and save for a mortgage

As a first time buyer, having a good credit score is key to securing a mortgage. Lenders will look carefully at your credit rating when assessing your application; as this will allow them to establish whether or not you have a good record of keeping up to date with loans and other credit commitments. A poor credit report could mean no mortgage so it’s important to make sure that yours is as good and as accurate as it can be. Make sure your credi...

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 – 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...

Base Rate increase getting closer

Interesting times for interest rate watchers.After a fairly subdued Inflation Report earlier in the month, and comments from Bank of England Governor Carney that were widely interpreted as ruling out any increase in Base Rate this year, money markets dropped significantly, sterling weakened, and mortgage lenders started reducing their rates again.So everyone relaxed, until this week when we found out that two members of the Monetary Policy Commit...

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...

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 – 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 – 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 – 18th and 19th January 2014

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

Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme is "already delivering"

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

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

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

What the papers say – 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...

Government launches mortgage guarantee scheme early in surprise announcement

In March this year the Government announced its new Help to Buy scheme – aimed at helping people to get on or move up the housing ladder with a focus on improving the access to and affordability of mortgages.Help to Buy comes in two parts – the first, launched on 1st April, is an equity loan scheme which sees the Government lend up to 20% of the value of a new build home.  The buyer puts down a deposit of at least 5% and must then find a mortgage...

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 – 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 – 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...

No win for the MPC

Minutes of the July Monetary Policy Committee meeting were released this morning and make (moderately) intriguing reading. The headline is that for the first time in ages the Committee was unanimous in voting not to increase the Asset Purchase Programme (aka QE, aka printing money), after 5 months on the bounce of seeing three of the nine members voting for more QE. To be fair one of those three was former Governor King who’s no longer there, bu...

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...

Sir Mervyn King bids farewell as Governor of the Bank of England

This weekend, Sir Mervyn King brings to a close his ten-year tenure as Governor of the Bank of England, the institution he joined in 1991. His successor, the Canadian Mark Carney, previously Governor of the Bank of Canada, takes over on Monday.At his final hearing before the Treasury Select Committee earlier this week, Sir Mervyn made it clear that it was too early to start talking about raising UK interest rates or ending the Bank of England’s Q...

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

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

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...

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...

Britons still ambitious to be homeowners

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

Are mates mortgages an option?

Mates Mortgages has become a commonly used phrase particularly when the previous Housing Minister referred to them as a possible solution to some of the woes of aspiring first time buyers. The term sprang from the growing trend of borrowers clubbing together to pool their resources, both in terms of pulling together a larger deposit and generating more borrowing power with two (or more) incomes.There’s nothing difficult about having more borrower...

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 ...

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

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

The cost of a child continues to climb

The average cost of raising a child has risen to £222,458 according to research just published by life insurance company, LV=. The cost, which covers the period from birth to the age of 21, includes education, although not the cost of private school which would add a further  £100k-£200k depending on whether the child boards.The survey breaks down the cost by age and spending category.  The university years are, not surprisingly, the most expensi...

A happy new year? It looks like it

Goodness me, has January gone already? How on earth did that happen? It’s been a busy few weeks, and your devoted product team are feeling a tad punch-drunk from the constant shifting in the market. So the month end seems like a good time to reflect on how 2013 started and what hints – if any – it gives for the rest of the year. 2012 finished with gross lending of £142billion or so (an improvement on 2011), optimistic noises from lenders about lo...

Springboard to a new home?

Barclays is the latest lender to look at providing an innovative solution to the single biggest problem facing many first time buyers, a big deposit.  As the mortgage market has tightened, lenders have pulled away from offering mortgages to those with small deposits and only a handful offer mortgages to those with just 5% to put down. As a result first time buyers need to typically amass at least 10% of the purchase price.  In addition they can e...

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...

Cost of Renting to Outstrip House Price Growth

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

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

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

Interest only mortgages on the endangered list

Interest only is an area that has felt the full brunt of the tightening in lending criteria in recent years.  The Mortgage Market Review (MMR) made interest only one of its key areas of focus.  Although the MMR does not preclude lenders from lending on an interest only basis, many have already tightened up significantly.  This has primarily resulted in limiting the amount of interest only lending as a proportion of the property value, in some cas...

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...

Don't forget to FLS

Three months after the launch of the funding for lending scheme, what impact has it had? Government figures showed that at the end of October, 30 lenders had signed up to the scheme – up from 13 at the end of September – which is a decent proportion of the market and in lending terms should cover the vast majority (the notable exception being HSBC who’ve declared they want nothing to do with the scheme). The main consequence so far (as we forecas...

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...

It’s not just tough for first time buyers!

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

Home affordability at its best for 15 years

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

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...

House prices rocket during the Queen’s reign

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

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...

Time for panic-buying?

It’s not just Francis Maude triggering a spate of panic buying – if you’ve been hanging round the Bank of England's website you might feel the need to call your friendly mortgage adviser PDQ too. Once you’ve filled up the car of course.The Bank’s latest Credit Conditions Survey has just been released, and it doesn’t make cheery reading - at least, not if you’re wanting a mortgage in the not-too-distant future.The Survey, giving lenders' views on ...

Early signs that first time buyer numbers are up

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has published figures indicating a significant rise in the number of first time buyers for January this year versus the same month last year.  The number and value of first time buyer mortgages both grew by 23% compared with January last year.That very positive figure of course belies a market that continues to provide real challenges to first time buyers.  The figures are 30% down on those of December 2011 althoug...

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...

Demographics, house prices and mortgage design

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

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...

First time buyers rush to meet stamp duty deadline

Figures just released by HMRC have confirmed an increase in property transactions in January 2012, up 23% compared to January 2011. This is undoubtedly being fuelled by first time buyers keen to get onto the property ladder before the 24 March stamp duty exemption deadline.The data shows there were 64,000 buyers overall in January, up 12,000 from the same month last year, and the highest January level since 2008.We have seen a similar trend at L&...

Lenders favour buy to let in 2012

We’re almost through the second month of 2012, and what is abundantly clear is that lenders are really keen to develop their buy to let mortgage business this year. This isn’t of course too surprising as there were a number of signs at the end of 2011 that this would be the case.Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) confirmed there were 84,000 more properties bought with a buy to let mortgage in 2011 than in 2010, and buy to let mortgag...

What’s new in the mortgage market?

The last few years have been a difficult time for the mortgage market and the industry and borrowers alike have become used to the fact that there have been fewer mortgage options available as a result.However there have been some positive moves in the market in 2012 and some mortgage lenders are even showing a degree of innovation.  Just recently Norwich & Peterborough launched a new ten year fixed rate mortgage that it claims to be the lowe...

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 ...

Mortgages at their most affordable since 1997

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

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...

The Majority of First Time Buyers Seek Help from Mum & Dad

It will come as no surprise to many that first time buyers have been having a hard time of things recently and figures from The Council of Mortgage Lenders do little to change that view.It has published research of the first time buyer market that helps shed light on just how big an impact the changing mortgage market has had on first time buyers’ ability to get on the ladder.  The tightening in the mortgage market since 2007 has seen lenders req...

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...

Make sure you get the best mortgage deal in 2012

With 2011 fast drawing to a close and attention turned to shopping, cooking and partying anyone can be forgiven for not considering their mortgage. But once we’re into the New Year there should be no excuse for making sure you get the best deal on what is likely to be your biggest monthly expenditure. Whether you have a mortgage on your own home or are a landlord you should take a few moments to take stock of the situation and see if you can save...

First Time Buyers – beware end of stamp duty holiday

First time buyers should move quickly in the New Year as the Government's stamp duty exemption comes to an end in March.When buying a new home, you need to pay stamp duty (or Stamp Duty Land Tax to give it its full name) as a percentage of the value of the property you’re buying.  There’s no stamp duty on properties worth £125,000 or less, but over that it’s charged at 1% and then 3% over £250,000.In March 2010, the Government announced a stamp d...

Autumn statement confirms end of stamp duty exemption

This week's Autumn Statement from the Chancellor was not expected to bring much news for the housing market, but it did confirm that the relief on stamp duty for first time buyers would come to an end in March next year.Stamp duty is normally paid on any property purchase above £125,000 but in 2010, a relief was granted to first time buyers purchasing a property up to £250,000.  The aim was to provide help to first time buyers who have continued ...

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

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

What the papers say 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...

What the papers say- 22nd and 23rd October 2011

Housing Minister Grant Schapps has been criticised recently for encouraging mortgage lenders to offer longer term fixed rates of up to 30 years in order to give borrowers more security, and experts in this weekend’s financial press continued the discussion. Brokers pointed out that longer term rates are far too inflexible as they lock borrowers in for lengthy periods of time, during which interest rates as well as personal circumstances can chang...

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...

L&C scoops life insurance award at the Cover Excellence Awards

We’re delighted to have picked up a new life insurance award last night at the Cover Excellence Awards in London where L&C was named Protection Intermediary of the Year.The annual awards, hosted by Cover Magazine, aim to reward the achievements of those in the health and life insurance industry.  This is the first time L&C has won the award and it follows our position as a finalist in the Best Protection Adviser category at the Money mark...

House prices fall in September, but property and mortgage affordability is improving

UK house prices fell by 0.5% in September according Halifax’s latest monthly house price index, taking the average house price to £161,132.  Prices for the third quarter (July to September) were up 01% on the previous quarter – the first quarterly rise since the beginning of 2010 and on an annual basis, house prices are 2.3% lower than a year ago which is a slight improvement on last month. These figures follow Nationwide’s latest index, released...

What the papers say- 1st and 2nd October 2011

This weekend’s financial press brought hope for First Time Buyers, with the Mail on Sunday, Telegraph and Independent on Sunday all reporting on lower rates for those with small deposits. Lenders including the Cambridge Building Society, the Post Office and Aldermore all have options above 90% loan-to value, although brokers warned that securing a loan can still be difficult at this level as a good income and spotless credit score are required. G...

Building Societies report growth in mortgage lending

The Building Societies Association (BSA) has reported encouraging lending figures for August. Mortgage approvals lifted by 10% on July this year and were up 17% compared with August 2010.  Gross mortgage lending reached an 11 month high in August lifting to £2.1bn and marked an increase of 8% on the figures for August 2010. These figures are indicative of the improved mortgage rates on offer and an increased level of competition between lend...

What the papers say- 24th and 25th September 2011

The Daily Mail reported this weekend that more than 50 Buy-to-Let deals have been withdrawn recently after a flood of applications from landlords. Lenders including Skipton and the Post Office have withdrawn rates, while Kensington have reduced their maximum Loan-to-value from 85% to 80%. Experts said that with such a strong demand for BTL at the moment, banks need to carefully manage how much they lend. The Sunday Times revealed however that a n...

Choice of mortgage deals is on the up

Some encouraging news for borrowers this week as new figures from Moneyfacts showed that the number of mortgage deals available is at its highest level since February 2008.There are now 3,035 prime, residential mortgage deals available – a big improvement on the 1,209 deals around when things were at rock bottom back in 2009. The figures are particularly good news for first time buyers as one major area of improvement has been in the number of mo...

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, ...

New 100% mortgage deal available to homebuyers

Earlier this week, Aldermore Bank, the specialist mortgage lender, launched a new 100% mortgage deal which allows first or second time buyers to buy a new home without the need for a deposit.The scheme, called the Family Guarantee Mortgage, offers a mortgage up to 100% of the property value, with any borrowing above 75% Loan to Value (LTV) being secured against the home of a guarantor which can be a parent, step parent or grandparent.If the prope...

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...

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