20 December 2012

Goodbye 2012 - Optimistic for 2013!

I can’t believe this is my last column of 2012!  On the one hand, we could not have had a better year for sport and it makes you proud to be British with the fantastic achievements from our truly inspirational sports men and women.   On the other hand, the retail and financial sectors have had another tough ride…

We have seen the demise of retail giants and household names such as Comet and JJB.  Many others are under extreme pressure to make ends meet.  The Northern Rock brand, the first major public crash of a lender in 07, will also soon just be a name in history, replaced now by Virgin Money .

We were all optimistic and hoping for a hugely more positive year, but the reality is that lending remained pretty static, despite the requests from ‘the powers that be’, and volumes will finish not much different from those in 2011.

Interest only mortgages seem to be on their last legs as more lenders are withdrawing this option.  The ‘Funding for Lending Scheme’ has received good press and appears to have had a positive impact.  It has huge potential for 2013 and I hope this is expanded to help the smaller lenders, not just the high street big six.

Finally, who can forget that we have had MMR (Mortgage Market Review) installed upon us.  Yet more regulation for the mortgage market, due to impact us all in April 2014. Good for mortgage brokers and mortgage advice!  This is a parting gift from the FSA, as they change name to the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), same people, possibly different location….!  Roll on next year.

Thank you for reading my column.  I really appreciate it and thrive on it being mentioned on a visit to our offices (or whilst in the Pub!) and I’m always happy to discuss a mortgage or the state of the market!   It’s been an interesting challenge this year remaining positive when markets have been so tough.  I’ve always tried to say it as it is and hope that has been beneficial in your decision making, when it comes to finding the right mortgage/company/brokerage!

Please let me know if there are any specific issues or areas you would like me to cover in coming months.  You can email me at dale@atomltd.co.uk, or call me on the above number.  I’d be delighted to discuss with you.

On behalf of everyone at AToM, we wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and a relaxing and prosperous New Year.  We look forward to being of assistance to you in 2013…

07 December 2012

A debt is not just for Christmas...

Following on from last week’s news on rates, Nationwide have cut some of their mortgage rates by up to 0.7% as they join the apparent ‘product price rate war’.  That is a substantial cut!  Santander for Intermediaries has launched another set of attractive rates which are only available for seven days. The message from this lender is to be quick as the funds are usually snapped up within their seven day window. That said, you don't have to complete the mortgage transaction inside that timescale.  Simply secure the funds and protect the rate.  How the market has changed!  

Another lender has withdrawn from the Interest Only mortgage sector.  I might write a separate article on this shortly as I feel that there is still a place for this type of lending for the right client profile and it seems that many lenders are choosing to ignore these quality cases.  Pretty soon it might be easier to confirm who is still offering this option!!

There are rumours that mortgage lending may become easier to obtain next year and some financial gurus are predicting an increase of up to ten billion in net lending.  That is a substantial increase although we all suspect that the lenders will not necessarily relax their underwriting criteria!  So more mortgages but strict criteria and that is why my final point this week is, again, so important. 

Christmas will be here before we know it.  Now, I don’t want to preach but please remember that credit is like your life history to a financial institution. I’m not saying don’t use credit but, if you do, then make sure you can pay it back!  If you miss a payment over the Christmas period, on any debt, it could affect your ability to obtain any type of credit next year.  Credit reports show up to the last six years of your financial history and details any missed payments to everyone from mobile phone providers, to car insurance and, of course mortgages.  To be safe make sure all payments are made on or before the due date and keep your credit file crystal clear.