Mortgage Rates Falling

Well, today the financial news is all a buzz about mortgage rates. Overall rates have fallen in the past year:

Figures released today [20 Jan] from Mortgage Brain’s quarterly product data analysis show that mortgage rates tumbled by as much as 32% during the past 12 months.

Elsewhere, Leeds Building Society has launched new two-year, fixed-rate mortgages starting at 1.79%. These are for loans up to 65% LTV (Loan to Value).

For higher LTV products, some lenders are starting to offer 95% loans at below 5%. Hinkley and Rugby have dropped their 95% rate outside of the Help to Buy Scheme.

The market is certainly warm now, with lenders competing on range, suitability and price. All this increased choice makes shopping around more complicated, but that is definitely a good thing for buyers. You have more products to compare and more scope for choosing the right package.

We suggest looking beyond headline figures, and checking out the fees and incentives attached to competing mortgages. It is always worth taking into account the entire product:

  • Interest rates
  • Fees
  • Length of fixed-rate term
  • And the rest…

What we do here at Limetree is work with you to find the right combination to meet your needs. Whether you’re looking into buying your first home, or are investing in property, give us a call.

Posted in Market Watch, Mortgages

Rising Base-Rate and New Year’s Resolutions

Many of us are looking back over the past few weeks and working out how we can start on our New Year’s resolutions – and getting a hold of spending is always a big one.

Christmas was a time to enjoy and put off until the New Year any major financial regrets. And many of us spent more than we’d thought we would. Fortunately, there are always options, even when it feels tricky to get on top of spending.

We also need to look out for our regular spending, and mortgages are the biggest for most of us. This year, as the Bank of England looks forward to stepping up its base rates, we’ll have to pay special attention to our flexible-rate mortgages.

The Bank of England indeed thinks that we need to watch out. They recently said that if the base rose to 3%, more people would fall into what they call “vulnerable mortgagors.” What they mean by this is people who need to spend at least 35% of their income (before taxes) on their mortgage repayments.

HML’s director of business intelligence, Damian Riley, has some good advice:

“If borrowers take sensible steps – such as tailoring expenditure in line with their priority financial commitments – there is no reason why a large proportion should fall into the debt trap.”

It is also the perfect time to look at your mortgage rates. We’re here to help, providing independent advice and can work through all of your options. So, give us a call, and we can help you with your New Year’s financial resolutions. (We can’t help with diet and exercise, sadly.)

Posted in Mortgages, Remortgaging

Welcome to Daniel Jarvis, Newest Limetree Adviser

Daniel JarvisA few months back, we added Daniel Jarvis to our team. We’ve started hearing good things from our customers about him, and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce him properly on the blog.

Daniel has always lived and worked in Cambridge and joined the Financial Services Industry 3 years ago working for a small IFA firm whilst studying towards his mortgage qualifications. Dan joined our team as a trainee adviser to continue his development. He works alongside James, doing research, offering advice and helping clients find the best financial solutions for their mortgage needs.

He is also a keen footballer, currently playing for Linton Granta FC.

Daniel is too modest to say how well he’s been doing, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a couple comments from his happy customers on his behalf:

Once again your customer services is actually outstanding. Daniel has been amazing.

I’m actually shocked by how good your service has been. If there’s anything I can do to help your business other than tell everyone I meet about how great you guys are then please just let me know.

And this one:

Thanks very much for your help, it was invaluable. Dan was really helpful all the way through and it was really reassuring.

And finally:

Hi Daniel, thanks to you and James we have successfully completed the new purchase and I am up to my eyes in plumbers and paint!

I would happily use you guys in the future and would be happy to recommend you too.

I can join with his customers in welcoming Dan to our team properly! We are currently working on a way to keep his head from getting too big from all this feedback.

Also, since we’re at it, here’s one for James:

Thank you to you all at Limetree for your very helpful and professional service and especially thank you to James who has been very supportive.

Here at Limetree, we all wish you a happy Christmas and look forward to the new year!

Posted in News

Natwest Joins High LTV Competition

2013 has been the year of rate cuts and high LTV (Loan to Value) mortgage products. With Help to Buy being expanded and lenders outside the scheme also launching similar loan products, we’re seeing loads of major financial players competing hard at this end of the market.

Today, Natwest joins in the competition by cutting rates on its own higher LTV products (such as their 80% and 85% loans), while increasing their buy-to-let rates. This is interesting to say the least. A selection of their fixed-rate loans are being dropped by .2% (which seems small, but adds up over the life of a mortgage!)

Natwest’s head of sales Mark Bullard said:

“It is nice to be able to end the year with news of some rate reductions. A couple of weeks ago we made cuts on our lower LTV residential products and now it’s the turn of some of our higher LTV and longer-term deals.

This side of the market has been particularly low in options for the past several years, and we’re seeing proper competition for customers who don’t have huge deposits (such as first-time buyers). This competion – as we say all the time – is good because it lets people properly shop around and compare. Different lenders will have different criteria for their loans, different interest rates, and different fees.

All these choices might seem daunting, but shop around. Compare interest rates and fees, and look at the length of the fixed terms.

If you need help, drop us a line. We’re independent, and can help you find the right combination of options to get your mortgage sorted.

Posted in First Time Buyers, Mortgages, Next Time Buyers

Help to Buy: Watch This Space

Back in October, James blogged about the newly expanded Help to Buy scheme and said:

“We’re waiting for more lenders to join the Help to Buy scheme. Right now, only two lenders – Lloyds and RBS – have said they’ll be taking part, and we’d like to see more.”

A couple more lenders have joined since then, but only four are currently offering Help to Buy products. This isn’t interesting in its own right, but the lenders’ reactions are.

In the meantime, other lenders have launched competitive, high-LTV (Loan to Value) products outside the scheme, and this is stirring the interest of brokers across the country. This is an exciting space in the market, because lenders who aren’t signing up to Help to Buy are still competing, and cutting their rates.

Mortgage Strategy has a good round-up you can read for more detail, but I want to point out a couple of quotes here:

Coreco’s Andrew Montlake says:

“To me the high LTV market looks like it will become the latest battleground in a rate war that will grow in intensity over the coming months.”

And London & Country’s David Hollingworth says:

“It [the 95 per cent LTV market] is still emerging as a market but we are seeing quite rapid change which has helped drive rates down.

We like this rise in competition, and are watching the market with increasing interest as more products and rate-cuts lead to more choice for customers. Give us a call, or stop by our offices, and we can talk at length about how much we are interested in the mortgage market. (And, of course, help you find the best solutions for your mortgage.)

Posted in First Time Buyers, Mortgages, Next Time Buyers, Remortgaging