15 August 2013

Mortgages for purchases on the increase

The new Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, gave a fairly broad hint that the bank’s base rate, currently 0.50%, will remain static for a few years yet. Some of the comment was based upon the current level of unemployment and it was suggested that, unless this rose above 7% nationally, the rate should stay low. Whilst there is no guarantee, much can happen in a short time financially as we all know, this is a real confidence boost for those people who are looking forward in terms of their borrowing requirements. This can relate to either mortgage, personal or business borrowing and the broad brush hint can be a means to boosting more confidence in all of these sectors. Of course, the downside of this is that savers may not get much of a return on their hard earned investments during a sustained low rate period.

For borrowers on a low rate base rate tracker the prediction may also be good news and for new purchasers there is every reason to feel more confident in an ability to afford a mortgage in the next few years ahead although a longer term fixed rate may still be worthy of consideration. It is never a bad thing to know what your monthly payment will be and for how long and this may be considered prudential financial planning.

We have noticed an upturn in property sales transactions in the last few weeks and have even heard that a number of properties have been the subject of multiple offers with would be purchasers vying hard to make a successful offer. None of us know if this is likely to be the norm moving forward but it is undoubtedly another pointer towards an upturn of confidence in the current market.

If you are looking to take advantage of very competitive rates in the marketplace for either a purchase or re-mortgage then ensure that you take qualified and independent advice.      

08 August 2013

New lender launches whilst others restrict lending

I start this week with both good news and bad. The good news is that the mortgage market is really buoyant with business volumes running high. The bad news is that this is causing a number of lenders major servicing problems as they do not have the staff to handle application numbers. This was evidenced last week in an announcement from Cambridge Building Society who advised they would only accept business from their local community for the foreseeable future. Another, Buckinghamshire based Building Society has closed the doors to new business for one month whilst they catch up on their current pipeline. We are aware of other bank lending institutions who are anything up to 14 days behind but who will not go public to the frustration of those customers and their intermediaries looking to work closely with them. So here is a plea to all lenders asking them to come clean with their current position. There is no shame in being open about it and letting us all know what the real delays are helps everyone manage expectations! That said, there is more good news than bad and there are lenders still actively seeking business. We were visited last week by the CEO of one Building Society who asked if we would be able to introduce £10 million of new business during the remainder of the financial year. Their products are good and rates are quite competitive too.
More good news with a new lender hitting the mortgage market today, the first true new entrant for some time! Magellan offers a new service designed for borrowers who have experienced a one-off life event which has resulted in an adverse credit record. Providing applicants can explain and document the reasons for their financial difficulties and can demonstrate they have had a clean credit history for the last 12 months, Magellan Homeloans will consider their application. This fills a gap in the mortgage market and will, I expect, attract a deal of interest. Their products are only available through a limited number of distributors and AToM are pleased to be numbered amongst them.

Finally, it seems that house prices are continuing to rise, particularly in the South east corner of UK. If you are thinking of moving it is probably a very good time to look.