17 September 2015

Positive movements from lenders..

Lenders have been actively looking at their offerings this week and loosening their criteria, positively.  As I have said before, I think in the run up to the end of the year, we will see a number of attractive deals launched by lenders who want to build up their pipelines ahead of, what will be, a very demanding 2016.

First Time Buyers have been in the spotlight as both Nationwide and Santander focus on the higher 'loan to value' market. These products cater for those looking to purchase their first property who have a deposit as small as just 5%.  Santander's products will be launched later in the month, but Nationwide's are an attractive proposition with starting rates sub 4% and £500 cash back to help towards the costs involved in arranging a mortgage.  

Interest only mortgages have also come back on to the lenders radar.  NatWest has confirmed it will offer interest only mortgages to customers who earn over £100k per annum and who have an 'acceptable' repayment strategy.  So, this may not be open to everyone, but it is positive that lenders are looking for gaps in the market in which to attract more business.  

This also shows in recent figures released from the Bank of England confirming that lenders approved more mortgages in July, than in any month since January 2014.  This amounted to 11,766 approvals, up 8% compared to July 2014.

And finally, do you look at your financial budgets frequently?  A report from well known credit referencing agency Equifax has suggested that over 78% of mortgage people surveyed are not currently budgeting for a rate rise.  We all know rates will rise, even though the Bank of England base rate was held for the seventy eighth consecutive month this week, but nobody knows when this will happen.  Many people asked did not know how much a rate rise would cost them on a monthly basis, despite many respondents believing rates would rise over the next twelve months! 

10 September 2015

What is a normal retirement age for mortgages?

You may have seen the Citizens Advice Bureau release research estimating that nearly 1 million people have an Interest Only mortgage with no obvious way of repaying it.  This means that come normal retirement age, the lender has the right to request repayment of their loan.  If the customer has no way of repaying this and has just continued to pay the interest over the last twenty five years, they face having their home repossessed or being forced to move out.  On the high street, the end of the loan term will normally hit those aged between 65 to 70.  This is not new news, but does highlight that people are still burying their head in the sand and hoping this will go away or the lender may be lenient.  No chance on either.  You may get a years extension, but the lender will want their money back and that you cannot avoid.

However, there are a number of lenders that recognise that 'normal retirement' age is no longer set in stone and people continue to work long in to later life.  Many will consider loans ending at the customers age of 80 (maybe to 85) and on a repayment basis, so no loan outstanding at the end of the term.  This is all subject to affordability and will depend on the loan size compared to the value of the property.  These are also not high street names and as such, rates may be slightly higher than the big super tanker, large volume producing household names that we are used to.  But at least they will consider helping out and could keep you in your home!

This also runs in line with recent reports that the top six lenders in the UK are losing market share to the smaller lenders.  Virgin Money, Skipton and Coventry have all posted figures with a year on year increase in excess of 25%.  But where the smaller lenders are really winning is the ability to think outside the box and in some cases, manually assess your application with no credit scoring.  The smaller lenders can be more innovative and change things quickly to suit market conditions and to attract new business.  Don't be shy of a non household name, they could very well be the best lender for your next mortgage move..

03 September 2015

Are you ready for your 'payment shock'?

In recent columns I have used the word 'panic' to describe the possible rush to secure a good mortgage deal before they vanish when rates rise, and also made comment on how lenders may be feeling in terms of possibly missing their annual lending targets. The latter should lead to some good deals which I feel sure will hit the market in the last few months of this year.

However, there is another important term I think worthy of mentioning now and this is ‘Payment Shock’. A well worn term during the mid to late 90's and one which I think Mr Jannels 'senior' may have played a part in coining! It describes the potential increase in monthly mortgage payments when an incentive period, for example a fixed rate, comes to an end and the mortgage moves to the lenders standard variable rate. It is worth reflecting that a one percent uplift on a mortgage of £200,000 may mean a monthly increase of up to £166.66 and, in many cases the rate may well increase substantially more than this.  Imagine the impact of a two or three percent rise! Not unusual if the lenders standard variable rate is in the late four percent range. 

We try to keep a listening ear open to those in our sector who are considered 'gurus' and their predictions on interest rate rises and when they will happen. In truth, no one can be certain, other than that they will rise. It is important therefore for mortgage borrowers to consider the potential of any rate increase (payment shock) and how it will affect them. A good time perhaps to consider a new fixed rate?

Finally, a commentator once wrote about consumers carefully researching prices for a new dishwasher or fridge and then shouting from the rooftops when they have saved £20 from shopping around. And, why not? Yet the financial press and advisers alike will regularly lament on the fact that borrowers will allow their monthly mortgage payments to continue regardless when they could be saving multiples of £20 every month!