31 October 2019

Don't be pressured to make a mortgage decision.

Some mortgage lenders are sending out letters to those coming to the end of their product term offering them new rates, but giving them a time deadline in which to switch.  We had one customer recently who was four months out from their current rate changing from a fixed rate and moving on to the lenders Standard Variable rate.  They were offered some great new rates to stay with the lender, but the way the letter was worded, suggested that there was a deadline of just two weeks in which to accept, even though their current product wasn’t changing for four months!  This is not acceptable, no one should be pressured to accept a deal.  What if rates decrease in the next three months?  You’d be annoyed.  Read the small print, do not panic and get expert advice. 

We all know life doesn't end at age 65-70 and neither should it on the high street!  Often, retired people have managed their finances successfully over the years and enter retirement mortgage free.  At the same time, many, whilst having no mortgage, also suffer from reduced income and there is a saying in our profession that it is not always wise to have everything tied up in bricks and mortar and yet have nothing to spend.  Others may wish to continue their mortgage past normal lender retirement age, whilst they may still be working.  There are schemes where equity can be turned into a mortgage (not necessarily equity release) and where off-spring may be able to assist with the repayments in order to secure and protect their inheritance whilst also ensuring a comfortable retirement for their parents.  This is not right for everyone, but it is certainly worth talking to a qualified adviser to review all possibilities.

And finally, do you look at your financial budgets frequently?  A report from a well-known credit referencing agency has suggested that over 78% of mortgage people surveyed are not currently budgeting for a rate rise.  We all know rates will rise at some point, probably after Brexit now, 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! A 1% rise on a £100,000 mortgage can increase the monthly payment by as much as £83.  As we go in to further months of uncertainty, and especially with regards to the cost of funding within the mortgage market, do make sure you are ready for all eventualities.

24 October 2019

Don't be loyal to your current mortgage provider when rates are so low, think of number one!

It really appears to be a race to the bottom!  In the last few weeks, we’ve seen five year fixed rates available from 1.45% and two year fixed rates starting from just 1.19%.  Obviously, terms and conditions apply based on individual circumstances, but if you’re looking to change your current mortgage, use the uncertainty across the economy (and country!) to your advantage!  Not only are there some great rates to be had, but if it is a re-mortgage, a number of lenders will also cover your legal and valuation costs to transfer you over.

In addition, lending volumes are up!  According to UK Finance, mortgage lending (gross) in July 2019 totalled an estimated £26.1 billion, an increase of 2.9% on July 2018 and the highest since March 2016.

The Financial Conduct Authority reports that 5.5% of mortgage lending in Q2 2019 was for over 90% of the property’s value.  There are now several lenders who will consider 95% loans, so just a 5% deposit, if you know where to look!  

UK Finance also confirmed that 65,350 loans were approved for house purchase for first time buyers and home movers in July 2019.  This was 3.6% higher than the same period last year. The average (mean) loan approved for house purchase was £174,914 for first time buyers (up 2.6% on July 2018) and £231,603 for home movers (up 3.7% on July 2018).

Nationwide estimates that house prices were unchanged in August 2019 but grew by 0.6% against the 12 months before.  Whereas Halifax reports that they grew 1.8% in the year to August 2019 and that the average UK house price in August 2019 was £233,541.

Finally, when asked why people do not switch mortgage providers, the general response is because they think they are too complex to be helped.  In a market with highly competitive rates, many lenders have looked at other ways to assist customers rather than just pay rates.  This can include criteria such as types of property, types of customer, income make up (self employed, etc), guarantors, charges on more than one property and so on.  The likelihood is that you are not alone in your requirements and there will be a lender out there willing to assist and who probably needs you just as much as you need them...

17 October 2019

Buying at Auction, with short term finance

Auction purchases can be a great way of buying properties at a discount and potentially achieving quick equity growth. Typically, a property will be listed via an auction because it may be uninhabitable (think no kitchen or bathroom) or it may be that the vendors need to realise sale funds quickly and are prepared to sell the property at below market value. Buyers typically exchange contracts and pay their deposit at the auction with a requirement to complete within 3-4 weeks. The condition of the property, and the timescales required, often rule out using an ordinary mortgage.
A recent example from one of our lenders, United Trust Bank, revolved around two brothers.  They had received a cash inheritance and had decided to use it to launch careers in property investment. Both were tradesmen and having completed many refurbishments for clients, they were keen to find a property they could refurbish themselves and sell on for a profit.
They visited several auctions to gain an understanding of the process and after some solid research on a particular area, decided to bid for a semi-detached house that had been left empty for a number of years and fallen into minor disrepair. They first went through the legal pack and confirmed there were no serious underlying issues with the property. Then, after running the bridging finance numbers ahead of the auction, they successfully secured the house and paid their 10% deposit with some of their inheritance.

The auction house required the sale to be completed within 4 weeks and after a quick valuation, the brothers were able to draw the bridging facility to complete the purchase well before the deadline. The brothers had the funds to complete the intended refurbishment works.

Although light in nature, the improvement works were designed to bring the property up to an excellent standard. The works were completed quickly and within budget.

The short term bridging finance enabled the brothers to acquire an uninhabitable property within a tight deadline. In addition, the typical 12 month term, gave them time to complete the works and properly market the property to achieve their desired selling price and a successful start to their property investment career.

Such an example is not unusual and is one that can be reviewed by a number of specialist lenders.  But as always, seek professional advice and review all options available to you.

10 October 2019

Buy to Let trends and Landlord confidence.

At the Property Investor and Homebuyers show at the London ExCel last weekend, it was a great opportunity to talk to professional landlords, as well as those looking to take their first steps onto the Buy to Let sector ladder.

With many changes and increases in taxation on profits being recently introduced along with licence requirements for houses of multiple occupation, minimum size requirements on rooms, and minimum standards for energy efficiency, etc, the Buy to Let sector has taken quite a beating! 

One of the main specialist lenders in this area, Kent Reliance, recently issued their Buy to Let Britain Report, edition nine, which looks at Buy to Let trends and the sectors confidence.

The report suggests that Brexit uncertainty and Government intervention has subdued the growth of the Private Rental Sector.  However, rents are rising at their fastest annual rate since 2017, climbing by 1.3% to £896 pcm.

Despite landlord confidence falling to it’s second-lowest level, rents are outpacing house prices with average yields rising to a two-year high (4.5%).  Yields in London are at their highest since 2015!

The report continues stating that remortgaging activity accounts for three quarters of mortgage lending in Buy to Let as landlords look to lower costs and fix mortgage rates.  Whilst 72% of all Buy to Let mortgage applications for purchasing a property are now made in a limited company name.

Since the Prudential Regulation Authority stress test rules came into effect in 2017, lenders have to work out affordability on a Buy to Let mortgage based on the rental income achievable from the property and stress the product term over a five year period, often at 145% of a nominal rate of 5.5%.  Lenders interpret the rules differently and differentiate between a Buy to Let in a personal name compared to a property brought in a limited company name. 

So, if this is an area you are looking at moving in to, seek advice (and especially tax advice) as buying in a limited company name and over a five-year fixed rate, could allow you to achieve a mortgage loan substantially higher than against in your personal name and a based on two year mortgage deal.  Terms always apply and read the small print!

03 October 2019

Your mortgage scenario is not out of the ordinary to us!

You might think that your scenario is out of the ordinary and maybe a lender won’t look to assist you.  And you might be right, if you are purely looking at the mortgage lenders on the high street.  But we all know that not everyone fits this ‘ideal client’ picture.

Complex scenarios are on the increase and some of the smaller, more agile lenders are looking to help you.

Some lenders have recently made some criteria changes that include:

-        4 applicants and 4 incomes!  The lender will now accept using 4 incomes on an application.  This is 4.49 x the two highest salaries and then adding one each of the remaining two.

-        Joint Borrower / Sole Proprietor.  So you need Mum and Dads help in getting your first mortgage?  Not a problem.  Lenders will allow you to apply jointly with blood relatives, from both sides if needed, yet you remain the sole owner of the property.

-        Lending into later life – applicants are now catered for up to age 95!  Equity release is not always the right solution and lenders are now offering normal mortgages to those who fit their criteria with regards to affordability and right loan to values.

-        In probation?  Not a problem.  Some lenders will consider.

-        Foster care income?  Ok, this is considered if you have 12 months history

-        Secondary income / Zero hours contracts / Newly Qualified Teacher in first contract period – all considered.

These are just some of the benefits of using an independent mortgage brokerage and especially if they are ‘whole of market’ and have the ability to deal with any lender and are not restricted to a small panel of lenders.

These lenders may not be household names, but you’ll probably find they are extremely helpful and will look at most scenarios, manually, with no credit scoring and have an appetite to lend! Most importantly, their interest rates are mostly very competitive too and make the right ‘impact’!