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UK Finance: Mortgage market is still strong

Despite a backdrop of uncertainty, the mortgage market is still strong and competitive, UK finance chief executive Stephen Jones said at the regulator’s annual mortgage dinner.

He pointed to figures showing that gross mortgage lending will reach around £265bn in 2019, almost the same as in 2018.

Jones (pictured) said: “Our industry wants to focus on competitiveness, innovation, talent, tax, regulatory proportionality and coordination, and regulation fit for the future, all themes that underpin UK Finance’s work for our members.

“At UK Finance we seek to help our members, large and small, navigate change.

“A growing number of first-time buyers are entering the housing market, while existing homeowners are taking advantage of competitive products available in a low interest rate environment.

“The potential end of Help to Buy in 2023 presents a major challenge to growth in new housing delivery.

“We will continue to engage with governments across the UK on initiatives to support low cost home ownership and increase the new supply of affordable and social housing, and to ensure that housing association lending and investment continues to be attractive.”

He warned about the challenges that remain, for example 5-year fixed mortgages now account for nearly half of all fixed rate sales, a market where 2-year deals once dominated.

Jones added: “Longer terms will inevitably mean fewer remortgages in the coming years, which the industry must deal with.

“Our figures show that, despite challenging conditions in the buy-to-let market, lenders are continuing to support and work with landlords, to ensure sustainable and affordable finance is available for the private rented sector.”

By Michael Lloyd

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Could a no deal Brexit affect your mortgage? This is what the experts say

Is the reaction of the markets to a threatened no deal Brexit – or even an orderly Brexit – worrying you? How might it affect your finances, your mortgage repayments or even your chance of securing a new mortgage from your lender?

Some good news: the Bank of England has just announced that it will be holding the interest rates at 0.75 per cent for now. But if you are home owner, or only just looking into getting a mortgage as a first-time buyer, what does this announcement mean for you?

Martijn Van Der Heijden, Chief Strategy Officer at online mortgage brokerage Habito, comments on the implications of the decision for both first-time buyers and those already with a mortgage, ‘Interest rates remain relatively low which will be welcome news for those looking to get a good deal on their mortgage. This “wait and see” approach from the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) is something we also see reflected in our own data with a surge in buyers choosing fixed deals for five years or more as they try to “Brexit-proof” their mortgage and lock in the same rate until 2024 and beyond.

‘We have also seen positive figures recently on the take up of buy-to-let and first time buyer mortgages, something which has led to lenders offering more competitive products to support people moving.’

A no deal Brexit could mean a sharp rise in inflation and the fall of the pound, which would mean that the Bank would need to reconsider interest rates, either raising or lowering them depending on what’s needed to support the economy.

So, it looks like now could be the time to consider securing the best fixed-rate mortgage if you are buying your first home or remortgaging. Doing this now could make particularly good sense given the stark warning the Bank of England has issued about the potentially detrimental effects of Brexit on the UK economy. And it will give you certainty. No bad thing in these uncertain times.


Source: Real Homes

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Mortgage lending rose by 7.6% in July

Gross mortgage lending rose by 7.6% to £24.6bn in July 2018 year-on-year ahead of August’s base rate rise, UK Finance figures show.

Mortgage approvals by the main high street banks fell by 0.8% year-on-year, though remortgage approvals rose by 2.8%.

Peter Tyler, director at UK Finance, said: “July saw steady growth in gross mortgage lending, driven largely by remortgaging as homeowners locked into attractive deals in anticipation of the recent base rate rise.”

Jeff Knight (pictured), marketing director for Foundation Home Loans, agreed that the rate rise was behind the increase.

He said: “The anticipation of a rate rise certainly would have encouraged a spike in activity, and while the purchase market is still less inflated – particularly for first-time buyers – it’s remortaging activity that is helping to maintain momentum and overall growth.

“This is certainly the case in buy-to-let as landlords choose to maintain the size of their portfolios, waiting for a more opportune time to build on it.”

Some expect the remortgage market to continue its strong activity in the coming months.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Lenders remain keen to lend and offer competitive products, particularly in the remortgage space.

“With other incentives such as cash back increasingly being offered to those remortgaging, combined with fears of further potential rate rises, we expect this area of the market to remain particularly strong in coming months.”

However some disagree.

Richard Pike, sales and marketing director at Phoebus Software, said: “The market has been propped up recently by the continuous buoyancy in remortgaging but, with few people now left on variable or tracker rates, this too is likely to slow.

“As we approach the deadline for Brexit even the threat of a no deal is likely to weigh heavy across our economy, how that will manifest itself in the housing market is difficult to predict, but it could bring along a period of stagnancy while people wait to see what happens.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Second charge volumes up 8% in April – but they ‘should be higher’

There were 1,771 new second charge mortgages issued in April 2018, an increase of 8% year-on-year – but London Money director Scott Thorpe reckons “they are a long way off where they should be”.

The Finance and Leasing Association found that in the 12 months leading up to April, there was a rise of 9% in new agreements from that last year.

The value of new business was £83m in April, up by 2% year-on-year,though lending reached was £1.025bn in the 12 months leading up to April, a rise of 11% from that last year.

But Thorpe said: “I actually think these figures should be a lot higher The market should have expanded greater and faster since MCD than it has.

“The reason why that hasn’t happened is down to the same old barriers – high fees and brokers being able to access to lenders directly. Both these issues are stopping the market growing.

“What we are seeing is a gradual upturn in second charge lending. The numbers are a long way away from where they should be but all forward progress is good progress.”

He added: “I really think the industry should be concentrating on making sure the consumer is given the best advice regardless of the secured options.

“We need to see the end of advisers and packagers being able to opt out offering full advice. Do that, curb fees and open up distribution and we will be talking about double digit growth for the sector for many years to come.”

Fiona Hoyle, head of consumer and mortgage finance at the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA), said: “The second charge mortgage market reported new business growth of 2% by value and 8% by volume in April, compared with the same period in 2017.

“In the three months to April 2018, the number of new second charge mortgages was 5,339, unchanged on the same period in 2017. This versatile product continues to prove popular with customers.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Second charge lending falls

Second charge mortgage performed poorly in March, falling by 10% year-on-year with £86m of lending.

There was £1,023m of second charge lending in the 12 months leading up to March, an increase of 15% from that of the previous year.

Figures from the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) also found there was £244m second charge mortgages in the three months leading up to March, with no percentage change year-on-year.

Tim Wheeldon, chief operating officer at Fluent for Advisers, said: “I don’t think some of the headlines I have read so far, highlighting the monthly fall in volumes, is the real story here.

“One month’s figures are not representative of a trend and while the month-on-month comparison shows a drop, the first quarter shows that the sector is ahead of last year’s figures.

“Our own experience at Fluent is that over the same period, we are registering record months with increasing volumes from our intermediary business.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Portfolio landlords find it harder to secure mortgage finance post PRA rules

Seven out of ten portfolio landlords have found it more difficult to secure a mortgage since changes were introduced by the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA).

According to figures from Foundation Home Loans, based on research by BDRC Continental, 70% of UK landlords with four or more buy-to-let mortgages said they had found obtaining finance a challenge since the regulation came into effect on 30 September 2017. Half (51%) owning between one and three buy-to-let mortgages felt the same.

All the figures are based on feedback from 817 landlords that have applied for a mortgage or remortgage since the changes came into effect.

The PRA regulation means lenders must introduce changes to the way in which buy-to-let mortgage applications are underwritten for portfolio landlords. Borrowers with four or more mortgaged properties will be classified as portfolio landlords and subject to the new standards, such as a requirement to submit a forward-looking business plan.

As a result, almost half (48%) of landlords aware of the PRA changes think they will slow down the process of securing a mortgage.

Two thirds of those who own 11 or more properties believe the range of mortgage products available to them will be reduced. Furthermore, 28% believe the changes will make it more likely for their mortgage application to be rejected.

Jeff Knight, marketing director at Foundation Home Loans, said“Whether these figures are to do with a natural period of adjustment or become the new norm remains to be seen. Nonetheless, in order to make this as smooth a transition as possible, brokers and lenders must work together to ensure things do not become unnecessarily challenging.

“Our research last year proved that, at the end of the day, brokers and landlords are after pragmatic and straight forward processes. Considering the significant take-up from this group, we devised a proposition to make application as simple as possible – for example, with no need for evidence of a business plan.”

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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First time landlords’ appetite for property proves buy-to-let remains popular

Seven percent of a mortgage lender’s new business in 2017 came from first time landlords – despite regulatory and tax changes that may have acted as a deterrent.

The stream of new landlords peaked in November when 11 per cent of the lender’s applications came from first timers, says buy-to-let lender Accord Mortgages.

The figures are proof that buy-to-let remains a popular option for people who are looking to safeguard their financial future, despite recent moves from government to suppress the market.

And 57 per cent of Accord’s buy-to-let applications received last year were from landlords affected by new changes, with one third (32 per cent) of that cohort, coming from those with four or more properties.

Another 18 per cent were from landlords classed as consumers – that is, single property landlords where they or their relatives have previously lived.

Chris Maggs, commercial manager at Accord, said: “2017 was a year of remortgaging for landlords who reaped the benefit of some exceptional mortgage rates, and 2018 is likely to be no different.

“Last year Accord, like many other lenders, adapted its mortgage offerings to meet the changing needs of the market.

“Equally, as new regulation was implemented landlords have begun to adapt to ensure their business withstands the changes.

“This doesn’t negate the fact that things are still tough for landlords, and hopefully 2018 will give them some breathing space to take stock of the changes.

“However, landlords have demonstrated resilience when presented with challenges in the past, and I’m sure that will continue into 2018.”

Source: Simple Landlords Insurance

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Challenges to buy to let market means rents set to increase only modestly in 2018

Private sector rents in the UK are set to increase modestly in 2018, hindered by policy changes over recent years, according to the latest lettings market forecast.

Supply across the private lettings market seems likely to face significant headwinds going forward as the 3% stamp duty surcharge on buy to let sales has knocked investor demand substantially.

The forecast report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) points out that during the year leading up to its introduction, the number of buy to let mortgages being advanced averaged 10,000 per month while over the following 18 months, the number of buy to let mortgage approvals has averaged just 6000.

The challenges do not stop there however, it also points out. The withdrawal of mortgage interest tax relief, coming in stages up until 2021/2022, it says, will further reduce the appeal of buy to let as an investment.

The RICS housing market survey was used back in August to gauge perceptions on the net change in the number of landlords in light of the less favourable policy backdrop. Quite emphatically 83% of respondents felt there would be more landlords exiting, rather than entering, the market over the coming 12 months.

The picture is pretty similar at the three year horizon, with 76% of contributors feeling there would be greater numbers of landlords exiting the market and RTCS says that given buy to let accounts for around 95% of the private lettings sector, it’s difficult to see Build to Rent developers fully plugging this gap. ‘Consequently, this does not bode well for rental affordability going forward,’ the report points out.

It also says that there are already growing signs that affordability constraints are taking their toll on demand. Indeed, across the UK as a whole, tenant demand stagnated in the three months to October and the net balance of just +1% was the softest quarterly reading since 1999.

Nevertheless, alongside this, landlord instructions have declined in each of the last three quarters, meaning that even with the flat demand backdrop, fresh supply in net balance terms is falling short.

Consequently, rental growth expectations remain in positive territory but the forecast is pointing to a further moderation in the pace of rental gains towards 1%, from 1.6% at the moment.

In London, the near term rental growth expectations series is signalling a flat to marginally negative outlook for 2018 which comes on the back of fairly sustained period over which demand has been weakening in the

‘Feedback tells us there is a mismatch between landlords’ desired rental levels and tenants ability to pay, with the resulting reduction in activity meaning supply in the London lettings market is not being absorbed by demand for the time being,’ the report explains.

‘The longer term view on rents, both at the national level and across London, is that growth will strengthen to average a respective 3% and 2% per annum over the next five years. Critically, these projections outstrip those for prices over the same period, adding further weight to the idea that supply pressures could be even more acute across the lettings market,’ it concludes.

Source: Property Wire

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What will happen to house prices in 2018? Here’s what the experts think

It has been a difficult year for the UK’s property market, with the effects of a raft of new rules introduced over the past couple of years continuing to take their toll on house prices.

Yep: this year homeowners and landlords have been forced to grapple with the after-effects of regulations forcing landlords to shoulder the burden of costs when signing up new tenants, hiking stamp duty on top-end properties and slashing relief on mortgage interest repayments.

What about next year? Here’s what the experts think.

1. House prices will grow

Confidence in UK property has fallen to a five-year low, according to figures by Halifax – but the good news is that experts are predicting house prices will grow, albeit at a fairly modest rate compared with what we have become used to. Both JLL and Savills are reckoning on a one per cent rise in UK house prices next year, according to their forecasts.

2. But London will be the biggest let-down

Having outstripped the rest of the UK by a country mile in the immediate aftermath of the downturn, house price growth in the capital will level out for the next couple of years, experts say. Savills predicts a two per cent fall in 2018, followed by flat growth in 2019, while JLL predicts flat growth in 2018, followed by a 0.5 per cent rise in 2019.

3. Actually, it’s more of a tale of two cities

Ok, so everyone can agree prices in the capital will fall next year. But not everywhere in the capital will suffer: a forecast by KPMG has found in the next three years, prices in Hackney will rise more than five per cent. Westminster follows, with growth of 4.3 per cent, and Lewisham, where prices are expected to rise 4.1 per cent. At the bottom of the ranking is Richmond, where prices will rise just 1.7 per cent in the three years to 2020.

4. Expect more discounting

Data by Rightmove has shown more than a third of homes listed on its portal have had their prices cut, the highest proportion of discounted properties on sale in the autumn in five years. But it has suggested that doesn’t go far enough – saying that sellers are being “too optimistic” with their reductions, and should consider something more dramatic.

5. Beware a hard Brexit

Forecasts are all well and good when you know what’s ahead, but the market faces unusually high threat levels, even by recent standards. In its UK Housing Market Forecast, Knight Frank said the biggest threat to the market was an unfavourable Brexit deal, or one which leaves the UK with prolonged uncertainty past 2019. “As well as wider economic implications, the lack of a deal could impact London’s status as a global financial centre,” it said.

Source: City A.M.

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How the interest rate rise will affect your mortgage

The Bank of England recently announced the first interest rate hike in ten years as it acted on its legal mandate to keep rising inflation in check. Base rates have steadily decreased since 2007 culminating in the historic low of 0.25 per cent following Brexit last year, but the decision to leave the EU has weakened the value of sterling, and despite the “no change” policy prevalent for so long, the BoE has finally decided to act. The rise means change for homeowners and their mortgages but what will be the real-world impact?

Modest rise for variable rate mortgages

Homeowners with a tracker rate or standard variable rate (SVR) mortgage will be most affected by the BoE’s decision. If you have a mortgage of £175,000, then you can expect to pay around £22 more each month; that increases to almost £50 a month for a £400,000 loan. Around half a million borrowers are currently on Nationwide’s popular base mortgage rate tracker so the uptick from 2.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent will increase a monthly bill to £785 for a £175,000 loan.

However, the mortgage landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, and while there are up to five million households with an SVR mortgage, these loans tend to be older and have smaller outstanding balances. The market is now skewed towards fixed-rate mortgages so fewer homeowners will find themselves out of pocket in the short term.

The chief economist at Resolution Foundation Matt Whittaker stated: “The big changes that have taken place in our housing market over the last decade mean that barely one in ten families are at risk of seeing the overnight effect of today’s interest rate decision through higher mortgage costs.” The independent think tank believes just 11 per cent will be immediately affected, which is down significantly on the 19 per cent that would have felt the pinch a decade ago. That is due in part to a decline in homeownership and the rise in SVR.

Fixed rate mortgages remain static for now

Homeowners with a fixed-rate mortgage will not be affected by the interest rate rise in the short term. More than half of mortgage loans in the UK are fixed-rate, but due to changes outlined earlier, a sizeable 94 per cent of all new mortgages are now on these deals. That means the majority of borrowers won’t have to worry about an uptick in repayments for now.

However, fixed-rate mortgages typically run for two or five years so you may face the prospect of higher monthly repayments after the end of the current term. You should also be wary of “payment shock” during this period as a failure to remortgage could mean that you continue with the standard variable rate offered by your lender. Santander has already stated that its SVR is set to increase to 4.74 per cent from 4.49 per cent.

Buy-to-let mortgages increase

Buy-to-let mortgages are slightly different as interest only is the most common repayment option. Base rate rises, therefore, have a more significant impact on landlords as they are forced down an alternative path compared to conventional buyers. The quarter percentage rise on a £200,000 loan would only increase monthly payments by £25 for the latter, but if you have a buy-to-let deal for a property in London, you can now expect to pay £40 extra a month.

Long-term outlook

BoE governor Mark Carney has stated on several occasions that interest rates are likely to increase at a slow and steady pace in the future. While the current hike appears small, the cumulative impact of several rises could be more damaging, though it is unlikely to be disastrous for most households. For example, a two quarter-point rise will increase monthly payments by £38.61 to £718.36 for a £150,000 mortgage, while a one per cent rise from the new rate would increase payments by £78.48 to £758.20.

Borrowers generally should be able to absorb the costs because after the fallout from the major crash ten years ago the Financial Conduct Authority now enforces new regulations to ensure lenders only lend to people capable of coping with rate increases. Those new rules will now be tested thoroughly for the first time.

Pay off mortgage early

The interest rise is a great incentive for reappraising the terms and details of your mortgage to determine whether it would be a worthwhile investment to pay it off early. Most mortgages allow you to make “overpayments” each year without any charge to cut the time it takes to pay it off completely. Taking a closer look at your mortgage paperwork will also flag up any irregularities regarding PPI. The payment protection insurance (PPI) scheme was widespread during the 1990s and 2000s, and you may discover that you paid for insurance without your consent. You can use a PPI Calculator to find out how much you may be owed in compensation.


The interest rate rise is big news, but the impact is minimal for the time being as tracker rates rise by a modest sum and fixed-rate mortgage holders adopt a wait and see approach. House prices are not expected to increase either. The real test will be when the BoE rolls out “slow and gradual” base rate rises because those increases could eventually cause significant problems for borrowers. Everyone should, therefore, be vigilant and reappraise their financial position in the coming months.

Source: London Loves Business