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Mortgage lending increases over November

[ Posted January 19th, 2012 ]

Mortgage lending increased over the month of November even though mortgage rates started to increase according to a mortgage trade association as many homeowners rushed out to pick up fixed mortgages before the rates went up any higher.  In fact, the amount of home owners that signed into fixed deals during the month was a record number compared to the last two years.  The mount of home loans issued for new purchases also increased when compared to the November figures from last year making it the second time in 2011 that the year[on-year averages showed an increase according to figures that were released from the CML (Council for Mortgage Lenders).

The CML stated that 65% of borrowers over the month of November chose to take out fixed mortgages, which was a slight increase from October in which 62% of borrowers took advantage of low fixed rates.  Many mortgage providers helped to fuel the uptake in mortgage activity as major lenders such as the Post Office and Nationwide slashed their rates for all fixed products since the Bank of England has continued to hold its base rate at the historically low rate of five percent.

Experts are still sceptical of the housing market despite the increase in lending activity that was seen in November with Howard Archer the chief UK and European economist for HIS Global Insight stating that the housing market is still depressed when you look at long term trends.  He also mentioned there are a variety of problems and barriers that are likely going to negatively affect mortgage rates during the upcoming months of 2012 which will reduce the amount of growth in the housing market.  He has predicted that house prices overall will fall by about five percent during this year.

Among the factors will likely cause more havoc on the housing market this year is the rising rate of unemployment, stale wage growth, weakened economy, and consumer confidence lows.  In other news for the month of November the CML also reported an increase in first time buyer activity with an increase of 4% month on month and an increase of 5% for year on year comparisons. First time buyers also saw mortgage payments decrease bb about 13% when compared to the percentage of income that a mortgage payment takes up, which is good news for new homeowners and those considering making a home purchase.

Mortgage Offerings Increase After Summer

[ Posted December 27th, 2009 ]

The number of mortgage offerings made available by banks throughout the greater UK area has taken a sharp increase since the summer months, offering significantly more options for either current or prospective home owners. This is great news for first time buyers looking to purchase their own home this winter, as more options means more chances to save at the bank.

The reason for this shark incline at the end of the year is due to the fact that many real estate sectors throughout Europe as a whole have been facing some major challenges recently, particularly with the commercial real estate market in the UK.

In an effort to stimulate investor confidence in the UK real estate and housing market many new offerings have been made available for both first-time buyers and well established real estate investors looking to expand their portfolios.

For most people this increase in options has been a blessing, particularly for those who have developed some less-than-shining credit since the economic recession first started hitting most sectors, though for others they see the potential for overseas mortgages to draw in additional outside investors that could continue to cause the market to be too competitive for most people to easily enter or maintain any good position in.

These offerings are also helping pave the way for the expected growth in the real estate sector starting early next year, as 2009 showed a 40% drop from 2008 figures, yet at least a 20% increase is expected to be seen in 2010 following the economic turn-around. Taking advantage of what is available now may seem risky, yet at the same time it can help protect you from potential bad rates later on down the line as the market recovers more and opportunities pass you by. If you can afford it this may even be an especially good time to even buy to let rather than for personal use as the affordable rates made available may make this a profitable venture, much more so than in previous months.

Northern Rock Faces Hard Times

[ Posted August 5th, 2009 ]

Northern Rock has declared an underlying loss to the tune of 269.6 million pounds for the period ending June 30, 2009. This compares with a lost of 443.3 million that they had lost for the first half of 2008. The company doesn’t think that number will change much when it rolls around to the end of the year if much change at all.

Part of the loss was the rebate of charges incurred for State funding, albeit the help that they received from the federal government.

Their record for lending for mortgage lending and other loans was quite substantial, where their record for gross residential lending as 1.3-billion pounds to the general public through June of 2009. The overall expected lending for the year is forecast to be near 4-billion pounds rather than the 5-billion that they had projected.

Deposits were quite respectable, with the amount of 18.4-billion pounds at the end of the half year however this is somewhat lower than the 19.6-billion pounds that it had during the beginning of the new year.

Gary Hoffman, Chief Executive Officer said this about the company, "The current environment continues to be challenging, however, against this backdrop Northern Rock is making progress against its revised plan and has delivered results in line with expectations. We anticipate receiving State aid approval in the autumn and the legal and capital restructuring of the Company to be completed by the end of the year. This ultimately prepares for a return to the private sector."

The company is splitting itself up into two companies. One handling deposits and new loans and the other will handle existing loans as well as paying back the money that it owes to the government for loans that it received.

Banks approve more home loans

[ Posted June 23rd, 2009 ]

Mortgage approvals in May hit a 13-month high in May with 31,162 loans approved for buying a property, 7% more than in April, the British Bankers’ Association said.

The figure was also 16% higher than May 2008; the first time the annual measure has shown an increase since November 2006.

Banks and building societies are also pushing up mortgage rates, despite Bank of England interest rates remaining steady at 0.5% for several months.

The Bank of England also says mortgage lenders are still turning down more applications – with 16% of applications refused last month, up 33% from 12% in December 2008.

The message from lenders is clear. If borrowers have a big cash deposit and impeccable credit record, then a mortgage to buy a home is available.

Best fixed rate deals are offered to those putting down the biggest cash deposits.

The ongoing weakness in the remortgage market dragged down the overall lending figures, with total advances of £7.7 billion the lowest since February 2001.

This is sending another clear message to borrowers – lenders don’t think house prices have stopped falling and unless borrowers who want to remortgage have a large slice of equity in their property, the mortgage market is closed to them.

According to research by Fitch Ratings, the worst places for negative equity, where homeowners are trapped with being unable to remortgage are Northampton, Nottingham, Derby, Peterborough, and Lincoln that take five of the top 12 places – including the first four – in a league table of the top 100 cities and towns in negative equity.

This negative equity effectively wipes out any chance of a remortgage in the East Midlands, as Leicester also features in the top 12 as well.

Net lending, which strips out redemptions and repayments, also fell for the third month in a row to £2.3 billion, a level last seen in early 2001, when the average mortgage taken out for house purchase was just £74,400, compared with £133,600 in May.

The number of loans arranged by people remortgaging fell further during May to a near-nine-and-a-half-year low of just 24,847, 60% below levels seen 12 months ago.

But despite falling for the fifth consecutive month, the BBA said loans for remortgaging and those for other purposes, such as equity release or buy-to-let, appeared to be stabilising at their current low level.

BBA statistics director David Dooks said: "Steady monthly increases since last November have seen the number of loans approved for house purchase recover to levels seen in early 2008, although gross and net mortgage lending show a subdued wider mortgage picture.

"However, unlike much of the mortgage market, the high street banks are still seeing lending growth and improved mortgage availability is reflected in higher average loan approval values."

Many lenders are still heavily advertising mortgages at low headline rates, but it’s worth checking out your options on a mortgage comparison site like ours.

Lenders reject 1 in 5 mortgage applications

[ Posted June 19th, 2009 ]

Mortgage lenders are turning away more than 16,000 borrowers – about one in five of the total number of application – every month despite media advertising offering low interest rate fixed rate mortgage deals, new figures from the Bank of England show.

In a bid to reverse the ’spin’ from lenders who are repeatedly telling us detailing how much they are lending, the Bank of England has released mortgage application data for the first time.

The figures show that since December, the number of people wanting to borrow but had an application refused has soared by 33% from 12,000 a month to more than 16,000 in March.

The figures show that with more applications rejected, and the Council of Mortgage Lenders revealing gross mortgage lending was £10.3 billion – down 2% in April on the month before and 58% down year-on-year, banks and building societies are cherry picking borrowers who they feel present little or no risk.

The rest have nowhere else to go.

In March, the CML says lenders agreed 71,000 mortgages – with 30,000 for buying a home.

Adding the 16,000 rejected applicants, 87,000 mortgage applications were made in March and between 18% – 19% were turned down – or just under one in five applications.

The CML says it is likely an improvement in new lending has been overshadowed by a slump in remortgaging due to stricter criteria and more attractive variable rates.

CML economist Paul Samter said: ‘While recent signs from the housing market have been more encouraging, we do not anticipate a significant recovery in activity in the coming months.

‘Lending volumes appear to have stabilised at extremely low levels, but the weak labour market and lenders’ limited access to funding will constrain activity for some time yet.’

Of course, if the standard variable rates were so attractive, less borrowers would be applying for remortgages and the statistics would reflect this.

In fact, they show the opposite – that the remortgage market is virtually closed because more than a million homes are in negative equity and hundreds of thousands more are set to slip in to being worth less than their mortgages.

The UK mortgage market seems to have completed a U turn from a state when lenders were looking for reasons not to give away mortgages with little or no consideration of affordability to a new regime where the flood has been cut to a dribble and lenders need strong reasons to grant a mortgage.

If you are looking for a mortgage, then consider a mortgage comparison site like ours to find the best interest rates and loan options.

Mortgage lending down a £1 billion

[ Posted May 22nd, 2009 ]

Banks and building societies are lending less money despite billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money paid out to keep them in business.

The Bank of England says that mortgage lending is at an eight year low – with the amount of loans offered in April £1 billion down on March.
Much of the decline is due to borrowers tending to stay on their lender’s standard rate rather than remortgaging to a better mortgage rate at the end of a fixed or other special rate deal.

Many are locked out of remortgaging because the equity – the mortgage free part of their home’s value – is too high to qualify for new borrowing as lenders tighten up lending criteria.

The Bank of England’s figures are in line with those issued by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, which shows a 9% drop in mortgage advances for April.

The Bank said data from the UK’s six biggest lenders showed mortgage applications had risen over recent months with buyers returning to the market.

Mortgage acceptance rates were broadly unchanged since the start of the year, although approvals for house purchases rose during April, building on increases seen in February and March.

The survey also showed that the rate at which unsecured lending – like credit cards and loans – is growing was the lowest since 1992 during for the period January 1 – March 31.

Unsecured lending acceptance rates by lenders were little changed during April and demand remained weak.

Interest rates fell slightly during March, although during the past six months they have fallen by ‘considerably less’ than the Bank of England base rate and inter-bank lending rate Libor.

Part-nationalised banks, like Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group have announced multibillion-pound loan allocations for mortgage and business customers in return for state support.

HSBC, which has not received help from taxpayers, has also pledged to boost mortgage lending this year.

Despite these promises, the money for borrowers is more of a drip than a flood and little of the cash has hit the property market – and on the figures above, is decreasing.

Finding a mortgage can still be a daunting task unless borrowers have at least a 10% deposit – and with many lenders this is still not enough to get their best rate mortgages.

For prospective borrowers looking to buy or remortgage, a mortgage comparison site like ours can reveal the current best rate mortgages in seconds.

You can also use our site to look for the cheapest loan deals and best credit card deals.

Best fixed rate mortgages may be pulled by lenders

[ Posted March 27th, 2009 ]

If you are looking for the best fixed rate mortgage, now is the time to consider signing up with a lender.

Many lenders are advertising cheap fixed rate mortgage deals, but these rates may not stay around for long.

Fixed rate mortgages give borrowers a guaranteed monthly repayment for the term of the ‘fix’ and at the end of the period, the some lenders offer another competitive rate or your mortgage rate switches to the lenders normal rate for all borrowers.

Generally, the incentive period last for two to five years.

Fixed rates are gambles for lenders and borrowers, who are both trying to predict how the mortgage rate is going to perform during the incentive period.

Nevertheless, for the first time in many years, it’s not hard to foresee mortgages are only going to rise in the medium to long-term, as they have nowhere else to go because the Bank of England interest rate is so low.

The problem for borrowers is working out when they will rise and by how much.

Discussing the products on the market with a specialist mortgage broker will certainly help you gather the information you need to make a decision about the best mortgage for your personal financial circumstances.

You can also compare mortgage products, rates and features by using a site like ours.

The current fixed mortgage rates may not be on the market for long because of the failure of last week’s government gilts auction. Traditionally, the rates banks set to lend money to each other are based on gilt rates.

For the first time ever last week, the government failed to sell all the bonds on offer, which many interpret as a the money markets lacking confidence in the government’s abilities to handle the recession.

A gilt is a bond issued by the government. The holder is paid a coupon – a fixed interest payment – every six months until the bond matures. On maturity, the final coupon payment is made and the holder gets back the money they lent to the government in return for the bond.

Don’t forget some points to bear in mind when looking comparing the best fixed mortgage rates -

  • What is the ‘lock in’ period during which the lender will charge you a penalty if you end the mortgage
  • Is the mortgage a portable product that you can switch to another property?
  • The best rates apply to the lowest loan-to-value – which is the amount you have borrowed against your property as a percentage of the market value
  • Is there a fee to obtain the mortgage and once you factor this in to the cost, is the mortgage still good value for money?

The industry scoop is that many of the best fixed rate mortgage deals will be pulled by lenders next week to be replaced by new, higher rate products. aims to provide every client with cheap, affordable and best mortgage loans in the UK market, however the actual mortgage rate available will depend on client's financial circumstances and credit history. Although, has made every effort to ensure that the mortgage rates listed are correct, it bears no responsibility in case of an error. 
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