A recent survey has shown that nearly half (48%) of all Londoners are looking to buy a property in the next 5 years, this compares to a national average of 33%.
Could this increasing property interest be due to buyer confidence increasing as a result of numerous government schemes? The Post office figures show that almost 40% of these will be first-time buyers directly benefiting from the low rates and higher, more flexible loan-to-values from competing banks.
Last week saw the result of cheap government lending with the launch of 2 year fixed rates below 2% from standard High Street lenders lapping up the low risk, low loan to value lending. This is, however, great news for property buyers in London. Fees on a 2 year fixed rate from the likes of HSBC and the Post Office can be a fixed amount of as much as £1,999, which for a loan under £1m seems costly but if the property buyer is looking for a loan above £1m this is a cost effective way of borrowing. For example; a £1 million mortgage on an interest only basis. On HSBC’s 1.98 per cent fixed deal the total cost (including fee) over two years would be £41,599. HSBC also offer a two year fixed rate deal at 2.39 per cent with a lower £799 fee. However, over two years, the total cost for a £1 million interest only loan would be £48,599.
The private banks that are enjoying the stability of the Prime London market needn’t be shaking in their boots though, High Street lenders tend to be very black and white with their ‘one size fits all’ lending criteria and for most high net worth clients – this simply does not work. Intricate tax planning and income structures for both UK and foreign clients, means that specialist advice is a necessity not a luxury.
Headline rates and High Street competition are providing a positive outlook on the property mortgage market and are increasing buyer confidence. They may not be the lender of choice for advising HNW clients, in fact most private and offshore banks are more competitive in this situation. This is good news for the Prime London market and anything that creates a buzz of activity is welcomed by us all!