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Many first-time homebuyers lack mortgage knowledge

Many potential first-time homebuyers who are capable of paying deposits have no, or very little, knowledge about mortgages, new research from the Nottingham Building Society has revealed.

The Nottingham-commissioned survey showed that 15% of those who are planning to buy their first home admitted they know nothing about mortgages, while 31% stated they know very little about them.

When it comes to arranging a mortgage, 18% would only consider one from their main bank or building society. Nearly one in four (38%) said they will use a mortgage broker who can search the entire market, and 31% plan to use an adviser recommended to them by someone they know.

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Despite this, many first-time homebuyers do realise the importance of having a large deposit. Some 7% have set a target of securing a deposit of 30% or more, 21% want 20% or more, and 36% want a deposit of at least 10%. Just 13% are aiming for a deposit of 5%, and 23% are targeting between 5% and 10%.

Some 8% of would-be first-time buyers currently have £50,000 or more saved as a deposit, and 13% have between £20,000 and £50,000.

Iain Kirkpatrick, chief customer officer at Nottingham, said it is encouraging to see that many of those planning to buy their first home understand the importance of having a healthy deposit.

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“However, it is concerning to see so many admit they don’t know enough about mortgages generally, and how to find the best deal. Seeking independent advice from an expert adviser can be the key to understanding more and could also save thousands of pounds in repayments,” he said.

The Nottingham Building Society commissioned consumer research company Consumer Intelligence to interview 1,023 UK adults, of which 160 expect to buy their first homes within the next five years. They were interviewed online between February 18 and 21.

By Rommel Lontayao

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Nationwide: Gross mortgage lending up £5.5bn

Gross mortgage lending grew by £5.5bn to £18.2bn in the six months between April and September 2021, up from £12.7bn in H1 2020, according to Nationwide Building Society.

However, its market share fell to 11.4% from 12% in H1 2020.

It lent over £5bn to first-time buyers, supported by its new Helping Hand mortgage and return to 95% loan-to-value (LTV) lending.

As well as this, its deposit market share rose to 9.6% up from 9.4% in April 2021 and current accounts grew to 8.7m up from 8.5m in April this year.

Underlying profit increased to £850m for the period ending 30 September, up from £305m in H1 2020.

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Statutory profit increased to £853m up from £361m in H1 2020, benefiting from a growth in net interest income to £1,706m, a net release of £34m of credit provisions and £133m increase in other income.

And net interest margins improved to 1.24% up from 1.15% in H1 2020.

Joe Garner, chief executive of Nationwide Building Society, said: “Early in the pandemic we made decisions to stand by our members and to protect our financial strength.

“This year we continued to support our members and have delivered a very strong half year performance, with capital reaching an all-time high. As a mutual, profits are retained to invest in the Society for the benefit of its members and wider society over the long
term.

“Over the last six months we have focused on providing highly competitive products for our mortgage and savings members. These have been very popular, resulting in a successful ISA season, increased deposits, higher mortgage lending, and a larger share of the current
account market.

“We continue to focus on providing the high-quality personal and digital service our members expect of us, and have led our peer group on satisfaction for over nine years.

“We have delivered value to members through our member prize draw, the restarting of our current account switching incentive and the launch of a scam checker service.

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“Our success is a testament to the strength of our mutual business model, to the hard work of our colleagues, and to the value we provide to our members.

“Given the level of uncertainty about the future, the strength of our finances gives us freedom to make choices, and confidence in continuing to support our members, colleagues and communities.”

Chris Rhodes, chief financial officer, Nationwide Building Society, added: “During the last six months, the Society has delivered strong performance across our three main product areas of mortgages, savings and current accounts.

“During the pandemic, strong demand for mortgages, coupled with macro-economic uncertainty, led to higher margins on mortgage lending. This resulted in significantly higher income, and a very strong overall financial performance.

“Net interest margin improved, but is unlikely to be sustained at this level in future due to intense competition in the mortgage market.

“We have continued to focus on efficiency and our costs remain flat despite further investment and growth of our business. While the improving economic outlook led us to release some of the credit provisions taken during the pandemic, there still remains
significant economic uncertainty.

“Our balance sheet strength, as evidenced by our very strong CET1 and UK leverage ratios, means we are well positioned for what remains an uncertain period ahead.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Mortgage Affordability hits 2021 high in September

The average maximum loan size available is up by nearly 10% compared to the start of the year in September – representing a 2021 high, according to the latest analysis from Mortgage Broker Tools (MBT).

Analysis of real cases processed through the MBT research platform found that the maximum loan size available to an average customer was £254,821 in September, compared to £234,224 in January.

This increase was primarily driven by improved options for first-time buyers with the maximum loan size available such a buyer standing at £276,060 in September, up from £230,555 in January.

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Tanya Toumadj (pictured), CEO at Mortgage Broker Tools, said: “It’s a very competitive lender landscape at the moment and that means more options for borrowers. Cutting rates is one way for lenders to get an edge, but it’s not the only way and we’ve seen improved choice at higher LTVs and lenders making changes to their affordability calculators to become more competitive.

“At Mortgage Broker Tools, we’ve also seen the introduction of new ways for first-time buyers to enhance their affordability options, with results that show the benefits of combining an equity loan with a first charge mortgage, and this has certainly helped to boost the average loan size available to this group of customers.

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“The latest MBT Affordability Index shows that even though the maximum loan size available is at its highest point this year, a quarter of cases are still deemed to be unaffordable by lenders, so it’s really important that brokers carry out thorough research amongst as many providers as possible.

“Our residential panel, for example, features 44 lenders, which is nearly a third more than its nearest competitor. This difference in panel size makes a tangible difference to how much a client is able to borrow – in fact, we have calculated that by researching the additional lenders we offer, an average client would be able to borrow an extra £38,000. And this could be the difference in helping a client to achieve their objectives or letting them down.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Majority of Property Transactions Since May 2020 Backed by Mortgages

Mortgages have fuelled 70% of property transactions across Great Britain since the market reopened back in May of last year, after initial lockdown restrictions were imposed, according to a research.

Enness analysed market data on mortgage-financed sales as a percentage of all sales in each area of Britain between May 2020 and November 2020.

While 270,785 of the 387,667 homes sold across Britain (70%) have seen the buyer backed by a mortgage, there is some regional difference. In London, 80% of all sales have come through homebuyers with a mortgage, with the East of England, West Midlands (72%), the South East and East Midlands (71%) also coming in higher than the national benchmark.

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In contrast, the South West is home to the most cash homebuyers with just 64% of homebuyers purchasing via a mortgage.

With the capital home to the largest regional percentage of mortgage-backed purchases, London also accounts for the top three highest at local authority level. Lewisham is the mortgage hotspot of Britain for homebuyers with 88% of all transactions financed via the sector, followed by Barking and Dagenham and Waltham Forest (87%).

Slough and Crawley are home to the highest percentage of mortgage-based purchases outside of London along with Hillingdon (86%).

At the other end of the spectrum, just 40% of property transactions in East Lindsey have been financed by a mortgage since the market reopened in May of last year. North Norfolk (43%), Argyll and Bute (44%), Torridge, Ceredigion (45%), Scarborough (48%), Rother, South Hams and Pembrokeshire also rank with some of the lowest levels of mortgage-financed transactions.

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“A lot has been made about the boost in buyer demand due to the stamp duty holiday, but it’s the continued low rates of borrowing that have really been the foundation of this heightened market activity.

While a stamp duty saving is nice, the ability to secure finance at a much lower rate of interest than historically possible has brought about a major boost to market sentiment in recent years and the impact is clear, with 70% of all transactions financed as such.

Some lenders have begun to tighten their lending criteria and this could make it harder for those with a less stable financial background to obtain a mortgage. However, it’s unlikely to impact the actual ratio of mortgage-financed buyers in relation to those purchasing with cash, particularly while the Bank of England keeps rates at sub-one per cent.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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Details of new 5% deposit mortgage scheme to be outlined in Budget

Ultra-low deposit mortgages are set to make a comeback with a new 5% deposit home loan guarantee scheme.

Details about the new scheme are expected to be set out in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget on Wednesday.

The scheme will be available to current homeowners as well as first-time buyers looking to buy a house for up to £600,000.

The initiative will be available to lenders from April and is designed to increase the appetite of mortgage lenders to offer high loan-to-value lending to creditworthy customers across the UK.

Under the scheme the Government will offer to take on some of the risk of low deposit loans, meaning lenders would have some protection from potential losses.

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Low deposit loans are often seen as more of a risk because borrowers could end up in negative equity if house prices fall – meaning they owe more than their property is worth.

Lenders will be able to purchase a Government guarantee that compensates them for a portion of their losses in the event of foreclosure.

All lenders under the scheme will offer mortgages fixed for at least five years as part of their range of products, providing options for consumers with smaller deposits who want the security and predictability of a mortgage with a fixed rate over a longer term.

The new initiative follows in the footsteps of the UK-wide Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, which was launched in 2013 and helped to reinvigorate the market after the 2008 financial crisis.

That scheme, which also offered 5% deposit mortgages, is no longer running.

It helped more than 100,000 households across the UK to buy a home, but it also drew accusations of pumping up property prices.

Many low deposit mortgages vanished from the market last year amid concerns about the wider economy.

However, more recently, lenders have been bringing back low deposit deals, clustered around the 10% deposit level.

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For example, Yorkshire Building Society launched two new 10% mortgages on Wednesday exclusively for first-time buyers.

In recent months, house prices have jumped to record highs, fuelled by buyers wanting to move to make lifestyle changes, as well as a temporary stamp duty holiday.

The stamp duty holiday is due to end on March 31, but it could be extended by another three months in the Budget, according to recent reports.

Rightmove estimates that 100,000 buyers who agreed a purchase last year are set to lose out if the deadline remains at March 31.

In total, it estimates an additional 300,000 property transactions in England could get through if the deadline is extended to June, saving buyers £1.75 billion in total.

Rightmove’s property expert Tim Bannister said: “We estimate that around 100,000 sales will miss the current March deadline, and so if the holiday is extended to the end of June it would give these the chance to complete in time, plus a number of other sales could now make it through that were only agreed at the start of this year.”

Kate Eales, head of regional residential agency at Strutt & Parker, said a possible extension “is likely to motivate potential buyers who thought about entering the market but might have been put off by lockdown restrictions and felt they had already missed the boat with this holiday altogether”.

She added: “An extension, combined with the recent Government road map to normality, is likely to work together to encourage more to come to the market and take advantage of the holiday.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said previously: “I want generation rent to become generation buy and these 95% mortgage guarantees help to deliver this promise.

“Young people shouldn’t feel excluded from the chance of owning their own home and now it will be easier than ever to get on to the property ladder.”

Mr Sunak said previously: “By giving lenders the option of a Government guarantee on 95% mortgages, many more products will become available, helping people to achieve their dream and get on the housing ladder.”

Source: Express and Star

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Mortgage options hit highest level since first national lockdown

With lenders continuing to gain confidence, homebuyers and investors seeking mortgages now have the highest level of mortgage options available since March 2020.

Lenders recently launched a range of new mortgage options for property buyers. Currently, there are 3,215 mortgage deals available, according to Moneyfacts. This is the highest number in 11 months, when there was 5,222 deals available on the market.

In the first half of 2020, mortgage options fell sharply. Many lenders withdrew mortgages while they reassessed the level of risk they could take in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, borrowers with smaller deposits had few mortgage deals available.

During the second half of 2020, the mortgage market started recovering. Since October, the number of mortgage options has grown by 42%. This is the biggest four-monthly increase since 2007 .

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Additionally, at the end of 2020, mortgage approvals were at the highest level since 2007. The housing market remained busy as homebuyers and property investors have been rushing to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline.

Mortgages with smaller deposits available

Choice in mortgages is particularly increasing for borrowers with smaller deposits. In the past few months, the most significant rise was for 90% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages. This LTV mortgage where borrowers only need to put down a 10% deposit is typically used by more first-time buyers.

Eleanor Williams from Moneyfacts says: “Those with 10% deposit or equity might be especially pleased to note that this tier has, for a second month, seen the largest uplift in availability.

“With products at this level often favoured by first-time buyers and traditionally being seen as higher risk for providers, willingness to extend lending in this risk bracket could be an indication that lenders have confidence in the sector, despite ongoing, wider economic uncertainty. This is echoed by the average two and five year fixed rates at 90% LTV seeing the largest fall of all the lending tiers, reducing by 0.09% and 0.07%.”

Mortgage interest rates stabilising

Average interest rates have increased across all LTVs. However, the average rate has increased only fractionally, which shows rates are stabilising. This is likely due to increased competition in the mortgage market. It also shows lenders are gaining more confidence and less risk averse than before.

Eleanor Williams comments: “At 2.53%, the two year fixed overall average rate is now 0.11% higher year-on-year, while the five-year equivalent at 2.73% is equal to where it sat in February 2020.

“Therefore, while these rates have risen again, the increases are of just 0.01% and 0.02% this month, which may be a sign of the start of some stability in the market, especially when compared to the drastic monthly increases witnessed over the course of last year.”

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Choosing the best deals

Moneyfacts advises borrowers to take into account a number of factors when choosing a mortgage deal. Don’t look at just the interest rate. It’s important to also take product fees and incentives into consideration.

Recently, two-year fixed products have been particularly popular. Two-year fixed deals typically have lower interest rates than five-year fixed deals. However, for some, the five-year option could be a better choice in the long run. And the interest rate gap between two and five-year fixed rates mortgages has dropped to its lowest level since 2013, according to Moneyfacts.

As the economy and mortgage market remains uncertain, five-year fixed deals could provide longer-term stability. However, this depends on the borrower’s needs. Seek independent financial guidance to find the best mortgage deal for your circumstances.

By Kaylene Isherwood

Source: Buy Association

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Low deposit mortgage deals at six-month high

The mortgage market has shown signs of recovery as the number of 90% loan to value (LTV) products reached a six-month high while overall choice has improved.

The number of low deposit mortgages almost doubled from 72 to 160, according to a Moneyfacts report.

However, those who require a 90% LTV mortgage still have fewer options than those with more money to put down. Borrowers who qualify for an 85% LTV mortgage have 439 products to choose from and 75% LTV borrowers have 629.

In total, there are currently 2,893 residential mortgages on the market, the most recorded since April 2020 when there were 3,192 mortgages available. This is up slightly from the 2,782 on the market last month.

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Rates on the up

The average rate for a two-year fixed mortgage across all LTVs rose for the sixth month in a row by 0.03% to 2.52%, the highest average rate since January 2019.

The average two-year fixed rate is also 0.08% higher year-on-year and a 0.53% rise on the record low seen in July. The record low rate coincided with a period when there were just 70 high LTV products on the market, where higher rates are typically seen.

The average rate for a five-year fixed deal across all tiers also increased in January from 2.69% to 2.71%. However, this was lower than the average rate of 2.74% during the same month last year.

As well as returning to the market to serve borrowers with a smaller deposit, lenders also appear to be treating those in need of a 90% LTV more favourably by reducing borrowing costs.

The average rate for a two-year fixed mortgage at this tier dropped from 3.79% to 3.65% over the month while a five-year fix fell from 3.92% to 3.79%.

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Eleanor Williams, spokesperson at Moneyfacts, said: “Following the sharp drop off in availability in 2020, it is positive to see we are beginning 2021 with the total number of mortgage deals rising for the third consecutive month.

“Not only is the increase in product choice a positive for borrowers, but it seems that a measure of competition may have started to return to some sectors as well.”

She added: “This improvement in options for mortgage borrowers has occurred at a time when high levels of borrower demand have been fuelled by those hoping to benefit from the stamp duty holiday and by those who re-evaluated what they want from a home and were part of the unleashed demand that arose after the first lockdown in 2020.”

Written by: Shekina Tuahene

Source: Your Money

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Low deposit mortgage deals double as lenders return to market

Mortgage borrowers with a 10% deposit now have almost double the choice of deals compared to September, as lenders have started trickling back into the market, analysis reveals.

There are 80 mortgage products available to borrowers today with a deposit or equity of 10% required, according to Moneyfacts.

At the start of September, there were only 44 deals available on the same basis.

In the past week alone, the number has jumped from 65 to 80, the data revealed.

Atom Bank, TSB and Platform are among the players to have added 90% Loan to Value (LTV) mortgages to the market this week.

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And Nationwide today announced it would expand lending at this level beyond first-time buyers.

The market for high LTV lending (low deposit) collapsed as the pandemic struck earlier this year, leaving many borrowers who could not scrape together bigger deposits with no option but to delay transactions.

In recent months, some lenders returned to 90% LTV lending for short stints of just a couple of days or, in some cases, only hours in an effort to manage volumes.

As more lenders filter back into the space, the pressure appears to be easing.

However, lending at 95% LTV remains very limited with still only eight products currently on the market.

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Eleanor Williams, spokesperson at Moneyfacts, said: “It is really encouraging that we are beginning to see more lenders relaunch products in the 90 per cent LTV bracket, especially for those borrowers with lower levels of deposit or equity who may have felt they had little to no options to move forwards with of late.

“We have seen a few lenders put their toe into the water of high LTV lending with short-term, limited edition products which were only on offer for a day or so, therefore seeing further providers enter this arena could be demonstrating that mortgage providers are managing their operational demands and are keen to cater to these borrowers.

“Those who are keen to take advantage of one of these 90 per cent LTV deals could do well to secure the support and guidance of a qualified, independent adviser who will be aware of the most up to date products available and be on hand to help borrowers navigate the mortgage maze.”

Written by: Lana Clements

Source: Your Money

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Mortgage payment holidays have been a vital lifeline

Mortgage payment holidays have proved a vital lifeline for homeowners struggling financially due to the COVID-19 crisis, according to online mortgage broker Trussle.

However, following the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) statement that mortgage payment holidays will not extend past 31 October, and further financial supports after that point will affect borrowers’ credit files, Trussle has urged homeowners to use caution with this support system.

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at Trussle, said: “It’s clear that mortgage payment holidays have proved a vital lifeline for some homeowners who have suffered financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s important to know that unlike before, if you need financial support from your lender after 31 October, it will be marked on your credit file.

“We’d urge homeowners to only utilise the mortgage payment holiday if it’s essential.”

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Robinson also highlighted that once a homeowner’s mortgage payment holiday reaches its end, their monthly payments will increase as a result of additional interest being added to the total mortgage balance.

Meanwhile some lenders offer other viable alternatives; this includes switching some of the loan amount to interest-only payments in the short-term.

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at Trussle, said: “For existing homeowners, now could also be a good time to think about remortgaging.

“Our customers save £334 on average per month by remortgaging onto a fixed rate, so it is worth using a remortgage calculator to see if switching could save you money.

“Any aspiring or existing homeowners who are considering taking a mortgage payment holiday should seek professional advice as soon as possible to discuss their options.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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FCA announces extension of mortgage holidays

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed the extension of mortgage holidays for consumers who still face financial difficulties, as well as those whose financial situation may be newly affected by coronavirus after the current FCA mortgage guidance ends.

The FCA has published additional guidance for firms meaning they must offer further short and longer-term support reflecting the circumstances of their customers. This could include extending the repayment term or restructuring of the mortgage.

Where consumers need further short-term support, firms can continue to offer arrangements for no or reduced payments for a specified period to give customers time to get back on track. This additional guidance will come into force on 16 September 2020.

Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive at the FCA, said: “Some consumers will continue to be impacted by coronavirus in the coming months, or be impacted for the first time. Consumers in these situations will benefit from firms providing them with tailored support.

“However, it is very important that consumers who can afford to resume mortgage payments should do so for their own long-term interests and so that help can be targeted at those most in need.”

Under the guidance published today, firms will prioritise support for borrowers who are at most risk of harm, or who face the greatest financial difficulties.

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The new guidance reinforces the need for firms to deliver outcomes that are right for individual borrowers rather than adopting “one size fits all” solutions. The FCA will be monitoring firms to ensure borrowers are treated fairly having regard to their individual circumstances.

The FCA has said that firms will also signpost borrowers to the support they need in managing their finances, including through self-help and money guidance, or refer borrowers to organisations that can provide free debt advice if this meets their needs and circumstances.

Where borrowers have taken, or are taking, payment deferrals under the existing guidance and require further support from lenders these further arrangements can be reflected on credit files in accordance with normal reporting processes. This also applies to borrowers newly affected by coronavirus who receive support from their lender after 31 October.

This will help to ensure that lenders have an accurate picture of consumers’ financial circumstances and reduce the risk of unaffordable lending. Firms are required to be clear about the credit file implications of any forms of support offered to borrowers.

The FCA’s current guidance published in June will continue to provide support for those impacted by coronavirus until 31 October 2020 – with consumers able to take a first or second three-month payment deferral until this date.

The June guidance is due to expire on 31 October and the FCA do not intend to extend this guidance. The guidance published today ensures consumers will still be able to obtain the support they need from their lenders after their payment holiday ends or they are newly affected by coronavirus after 31 October.

However, the watchdog has said it will keep the guidance under review and if circumstances change significantly, consideration will be given to any further measures that may be needed to support consumers during the ongoing pandemic.

Source: Scottish Housing News