With talk of tumbling rates, mortgages approvals rising in leaps-and-bounds and stamp duty changes slowly edging nearer, this week has proved a bittersweet beginning to the new month. Yet despite worries of the global economy whispering their way through the market, the news for current mortgage rates as a whole remains promising, with plenty of opportunity for homeowners with specialist requirements. As mortgage approvals topped a 2 year high in January while borrowers attempted to complete their mortgage ahead of stamp duty, it seems the majority of lenders have continued to expand their offers with new product ranges and fixed rate deals.
We would also like to take the opportunity to let you know that if you’re thinking of securing a buy to let before the April deadline, your time is rapidly running out and this will probably be the last reasonable chance for you to fill your boots beforehand.
In other areas of the market, one particularly noteworthy change to kick off the week, was the announcement that Precise Mortgage would be upping its age limits on second charge buy to let mortgages to a very impressive 110 years old. Allowing an 80 year old to take out a 30 year term mortgage, this is designed to help any retired individuals using buy to let property to generate income.
This proved even more of an innovative option following the news that even borrowers in their forties are struggling to get a mortgage on the grounds of age, with many lenders reluctant to lend past a (reduced) maximum age of 70.
Falling fixed rates have continued to swarm the market with an increasing amount of longer-term fixes appearing. The average mortgage interest rate, for those of you wanting a comparable, is now at 2.99%, which is the first time this figure has dropped below 3% in the last 16 years. Nottingham has launched a 7 year fixed rate with a rate of 2.94% at 80% loan to value (LTV) available for every type of borrower, with an arrangement fee of £800, free basic valuation and an assisted legal package for remortgages.
Elsewhere, Leeds Building Society revealed new 5 year fixed products, now including a 5 year fix at 2.5% up to 65% LTV, 2.65% for 75% LTV, and 2.94% for up to 85% LTV – all with a £199 fee. The lender’s 2.69% 80% LTV product has proved especially popular for those with larger deposits, although it isn’t the only lender offering greater savings… With cashback incentives of up to £1,500 for LTVs from 65% to 85%, Virgin Money has also released a new range of competitive buy to let mortgages, including a 2.54% rate at 75% LTV with £500 cashback and a £1,500 fee. However, it’s the 5 year fix at 3.65% for 75% LTV which has stirred the market, offering a £1,500 cashback incentive.
On top of this, TSB has revealed what is thought to be the best 10 year fixed rate currently on the market, ringing in at 2.89% for homeowners with a 0 to 60% loan to value. Yet despite the extremely low rate, TSB has started increasing selected rates across all other ranges, including 2 year home-mover, remortgage and buy to let mortgages on both fixed and tracker rates, by 0.1% to 0.3%.
While rates continue to fluctuate, the self-employed sector received significant attention this week, following a statement from the BBC that the self-employed need more support. As if by magic, Kent Reliance has now announced it will be reducing its self-employed lending requirement from 36 months to just 1 year for loans up to 85% LTV. Meanwhile, Saffron Building Society became of the other few lenders to offer products specifically for self-employed borrowers, with rates starting from 3.37% for a 3 year fixed rate up to 75% LTV. Providing support for this sector has been a longstanding objective at Enness, so you can read our newly updated self-employed mortgage guide for more information on the opportunities available (link).
Turning our attention to a central high street lender, Nationwide has now confirmed a criteria shake-up to its intermediary purchase and remortgage propositions. Changes include the introduction of a ‘genuine bargain price lending’ option for homeowners wishing to sell their properties at less than open market value. This includes circumstances where the property is being knowingly purchased at a discounted price, such as inter-family sales and private tenants buying from landlords. Mortgage-free unencumbered borrowers will also now benefit from a remortgage option instead of taking the purchase route, allowing homeowners to raise finance against their property instead of being steered towards a purchase mortgage with costly fees.
With broker mortgage products currently taking 71% of market share and building society mortgage approvals rising by 10%, it seems many borrowers have been opting for other avenues away from going at it alone on the high street and benefitting from the tumbling fixed rates available.
In line with this, although the aforementioned rates are indicative of current market activity, private lenders will not publish their rates, and we are restricted in our ability to relay this information. Although we should emphasise the fact that their rates are often much more competitive.
If you have any questions on this article or market activity in general, you can contact one of our expert brokers below who will be happy to discuss your options. Equally, you can stay on top of the latest mortgage rates and news with our daily rate updates.