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Tough new mortgage rules should not have an impact on the availability of competitive fixed rate loans, a mortgage trade body said today.
The tighter regulations, which come into force on April 26, require lenders to carry out a detailed assessment of borrowers’ ability to keep up with their loan before advancing them money.
The strong emphasis on affordability has sparked speculation that banks and building societies may scrap short-term fixed rate deals at low rates, as they focus on responsible, sustainable lending.
Under the new rules, known as the Mortgage Market Review, lenders will also be able to ask applicants for evidence on how much they spend on everything from food to childcare to debt repayments if they are concerned about affordability.
They will also carry out an interest rate ‘stress test’, to ensure borrowers can continue to meet their mortgage repayments even if the cost of borrowing rises.
But the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) today said there was nothing in the new rules that would lead to lenders pulling their fixed rate products or hiking the price of them.
Bernard Clarke CML communications manager, said: “There is a very strong attachment among consumers to two year fixes.
“They have proved extremely popular overtime and the mortgage market has a strong bias to consumer preference.
“There is nothing in the Mortgage Market Review that would bring them to an end.”
Just under nine out of 10 mortgages taken out during February were fixed rate deals, according to the CML.
The group attributed the strong preference for these loans to the fact that interest rates were likely to start rising sooner than previously expected on the back of the UK’s strengthening economy.
Only 6 per cent of borrowers opted for a tracker deal, which moves up and down in line with changes to the Bank of England Bank Rate, while just 2 per cent of homeowners took out a discounted rate.
Meanwhile, the Bank of England’s Trends in Lending report showed further improvements in the mortgage market during the early part of the year.
The Bank said mortgage approvals for house purchase by all UK lenders had continued to rise during the three months to the end of February.
It added that although approvals fell slightly in February, they remained “considerably higher” than for the same period in 2013.
At the same time, interest rates on two year fixed rate mortgages have remained broadly unchanged since the start of the year, despite an increase in two year swap rates, upon which the deals are based.
But the cost of five year deals has started to edge up, as lenders pass on some of their higher funding costs to consumers.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The volume of mortgage lending continues to rise as more buyers take advantage of the cheap rates available to get on the housing ladder or move up it.
“Two year fixes were largely unchanged in the first quarter but five year fixes have started to edge up, partly as a result of higher swap rates which have doubled in the past year.
“However, there are still five year deals pegged at around 3 per cent for those with sizeable deposits, which is excellent value.”
He added that the new mortgage rules were likely to lead to a slowdown in mortgage processing while they “bedded in”, but once any glitches were ironed out, the mortgage market should continue to perform strongly for the rest of the year.
Britain’s smallest £1m property offered less space than a London Underground Tube carriage, it was revealed last month. Zoopla looks at what other properties of a similar size are currently on the market to buy or rent.
It hasn’t always been regarded as the most glamorous of places. But Walthamstow’s award winning restaurants, leafy village feel, and popular market mean it is has now arrived on the official wall of cool in terms of places to live.
And higher demand for accommodation in the area means higher prices.
A one bedroom loft conversion in the E17′s Queens Road is available to rent at £173 a week, the equivalent of almost £750 a month.
The accommodation consists of an open place kitchen and living room, a double bedroom and a new fully tiled shower room.
It is within easy walking distance of Walthanstow Central and Queens Road mainline states.
For those looking for something more central, a studio in West Kensington is available to rent for £325 a month.
Found just off the popular North End Road, the accommodation is fully furnished with a single bed, an open plane kitchenette and its own shower. The toilet is shared.
A waterside retreat in Kent is available for £60,000 and includes a double bedroom, shower room, kitchen and a spacious lounge.
The windows on three sides means this bespoke purpose built houseboat is flooded with light.
It is fully centrally heated and full finished, meaning that the new owner can move straight in.
Outside, there are terraces at either end of the boat and a ladder leading to a roof terrace.
The number of people forced to rent out their home because they cannot sell it has fallen to a record low as the property market continued to boom, writes Nicky Burridge.
Buoyant sales levels led to just 13 per cent of letting agents reporting an increase in the number of so-called ‘accidental landlord’s during the first three months of the year.
It was the fourth consecutive quarter during which the level of people renting out homes because they could not sell them fell, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
The figure was well down on the peak of 94 per cent of letting agents who reported a rise in accidental landlords at the beginning of 2009, when ARLA first introduced the question to its survey of members.
Accidental landlords became a feature of the post-credit crunch housing market when the mortgage drought hit sales levels, forcing many people to let their home after being unable to sell it.
Ian Potter, managing director of ARLA, said: “The resurgence of property prices and buyer demand in many areas is reducing the number of so-called accidental landlords.
“Despite the reduction of landlords in this situation, wider investment in rental properties remains strong across the market.”
The ARLA survey is the latest in a run of positive data on the housing market, as the improved economic outlook, falling unemployment and low interest rates have combined to boost property sales.
The average value of a home in England rose almost £14,000 during the past year to more than £258,000, according to Zoopla.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders said total mortgage advances soared by 43 per cent during February, compared with the same month of the previous year, to stand at their highest total for February since 2008.
At the same time, the number of homes changing hands rose for the tenth consecutive month, according to HM Revenue & Customs.
Meanwhile, ARLA said the fall in accidental landlords was changing the shape of the private rented sector, with long-term investment landlords once again becoming a strong feature of the market.
There was a slight increase in the number of letting agents who reported landlords decreasing their investment in property by selling up, with 20 per cent of agents noting this phenomenon, compared with just 15 per cent in the final three months of 2013.
But among landlords who were retaining their portfolios, the vast majority were in it for the long term, holding a property for an average of 19.8 years between buying and selling it.
The survey – of 637 of letting agent offices and 1,040 landlords during the first three months of this year – found that 45 per cent of landlords said they had let a property in order to benefit from both rental income and capital appreciation, while 37 per cent saw it as an investment for their long-term future.
Peter Andre, Kerry Katona and Katie Price have all used theirs. But Kim Kardashian and her family have not. This week, the latest couple in the Kardashian clan was accused of not using their real home in the high ratings reality television show.
Having already been accused of failing to use the real exterior of her own home, the star’s sister Kourtney and her partner Scott are the latest couple in the family to have allegedly used a fake house.
Kourtney and Scott’s Calabasas home is reportedly completely different to the home they recently sold.
Kim is understood to have defended her decision, saying the fake exterior was used for ‘security reasons’.
Using a home in a reality series can certainly prove big business, with the Kardashians said to earn a total of $10m per season of their Keeping Up With the Kardashians show.
Closer to home, using a property in filming has proved a popular formula for reality stars Peter Andre, Kerry Katona and Katie Price.
Properties for sale in Calabasas, Los Angeles:
Five bedroom property in Palmilla Drive for £1,199,062 ($1,995,000)
Four bedroom property in the Santa Monica mountains for £1,607,765 ($2,675,000)
Six bedroom home for sale in sought-after community of Westridge for £1,051,208 ($1,749,000)
After it was revealed last week that Britain’s smallest £1m property offered less space than a London Underground tube carriage, Zoopla looks at what other properties of a similar size are currently on the market to buy or rent.
A one bedroom property offering a living room and a bedroom – both measuring 2.8m by 2.6m each – is being offered for sale in South East London.
For £125,000, it also comes with a kitchen, shower room and sole use of a patio garden.
Similar ‘tube carriage sized’ properties are also available on the rental market.
An unfurnished studio flat in New Malden is available to rent for £650 a month. With only an electricity bill to pay, it is described by the agent as being in a ‘great location and priced to let quickly’.
A more luxurious rental is available in Roehampton at £1,200 a month. The property is brand new and includes a breakfast bar, high gloss kitchen and porcelain tiles in the bathroom.
It is described by Carringtons, the agent handling the sale, as being in a peaceful and quiet, affluent area with plenty of free parking and close to all amenities. It is 10 minutes by car to Putney town centre. Gas, water and council tax bills are included in the price.