It’s now nearly three months from the shock result of UK to leave the EU. We’ve been told that “Brexit means Brexit”, but for the time being, nobody seems to know exactly what will happen next – politically or economically.
In terms of property, such uncertainty breeds uncertainty – and borrowing has dropped considerably. According to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, total borrowing by house owners was £10.6 billion in July 2016 – down 13% compared to the previous month and a 12%.drop compared to the previous year. At 58,100, the total number of loans taken out by homeowners was also down 14% month on month and 13% year on year. First-time buying also took a hit – down 19% month on month and 6% lower than June 2015.
So should we be worried about a slowdown? A drop in borrowing can suggest a cooling off in the market, but there may be factors other than the referendum result at play here.
If you’re an older borrower, trying to securing a mortgage can feel like a near impossible business.
Many high street lendersapply a maximum age of between 70 -75. And, although age is never cited as the reason for turning down an application (it’s illegal for lenders to discriminate against borrowers on that basis), some older borrowers can still find themselves locked-out because they don’t meet their lenders’ narrow ‘affordability’ criteria.
Last month Mark Carney warned that a base rate increase is likely towards the end of this year or very early in 2016. Although it’s expected to be a minor increase, it’s the general trend that home owners need to prepare for – it may be worth taking steps soon to get ahead of the game.
With lenders also expected to up interest rates on mortgages, making monthly mortgage payments more expensive, it makes sense to start looking for new fixed-rate deals before banks and building societies take action.
Back in February our blog included a story about Barclays’ plans to let landlords cover rental shortfalls with personal income. We can now update you on recent developments: the bank has just scrapped its old B2L mortgages to make way for this new approach.
Now, Barclays puts landlords through an affordability assessment to find out whether rental will be met. Where there’s a shortfall, landlords can still potentially get a mortgage if they have enough disposable income to plug the gap. If applications were not completed by July 24th, landlords need to re-submit under this new assessment criteria.