11 February 2011

Buy to Let increased to 85% LTV

Kensington mortgages have launched an 85% loan to value product for Buy to Lets (investment properties for letting out). They will consider First Time Buyers looking to become first time landlords and now also allow applications on new build flats. Good niches and a bold statement of intent to lend! They are currently the only lender requiring a 15% deposit for Buy to Lets, but I expect others will follow suit shortly.

I was astounded to see recent figures from creditaction reporting that Banks and Building Societies had written off £9.9bn of loans to individuals over the last 12 months (end of Q3 2010). That’s nearly £20m a day! In addition, the Government is paying a jaw dropping £120m a day in interest alone on the UK’s net debt (£889bn excluding financial interventions). These are scary figures indeed. But to add to the reality, individuals currently owe more than the entire country has produced during the last four quarters. It’s therefore no wonder that the lending market is in the state it’s in and provides some understanding in to the pressures facing the Government and Bank of England when considering rate changes.

As I write this article a few days before the paper is printed, I am unable to comment on this week’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision on whether or not to increase the Bank Base Rate. However, out of the nine MPC members for January, two voted for an increase. This is an increase on previous months and we may not be too far away from seeing a rate increase. Some estimates suggest May.

Finally, there has been speculation in the financial press lately regarding the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) which is an FSA initiative to make, in their words, the mortgage market more professional and transparent. Much of this, together with another of their initiatives is the Regulatory Distribution Review (RDR) part of which is designed to encourage our sector towards a fee charging route in all financial advice areas whereas, today, most income for advisors is from introductory fees incorporated in the product sold, paid by the providing financial institution. Watch this space in months to come but it seems fair in many ways that, given the professional qualifications mortgage advisors now need to obtain to give advice, a fee reward is not unreasonable for the amount of work and research undertaken in advising and recommending a mortgage product.

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