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Buy-to-let lending outstrips residential mortgages, says Bank of England

23.04.2015

Mortgage approvals continue their moderate rise, as the mainstream market remains largely unaffected by the uncertainty created by the general election while the upper end of the market takes a pause.

With the Bank of England uncertain as to when interest rates will rise, according to the latest minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee, what chance do mere borrowers have? The vast majority are opting for fixed-rate mortgages to give them some certainty and with lenders reducing those further in recent weeks, we are seeing the cheapest deals in a generation. With five-year fixes now available for less than 2 per cent, pricing is not that more expensive than for a two-year fix, yet with a great deal of added certainty.

Buy-to-let is the real lending success story, seeing a huge improvement in terms of deals available, rates and relaxing of criteria since the downturn. While lenders abandoned the market in their droves after the onset of the financial crisis, they are well and truly back, and with pension freedoms introduced this month, many are sensing further opportunities. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, over the past five years the share of total buy-to-let lending in overall mortgage lending has picked up to 15 per cent in 2014 Q4, higher than in the pre-crisis period.

Jonathan Harris
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Jonathan Harris

Mortgage rate war rages with sub-2% five-year fix

22.04.2015

Just when borrowers thought mortgage rates couldn’t get any lower, a lender has this week launched a five-year fix at 1.99 per cent. This is a truly astonishing rate, extremely cheap for medium-term protection against interest rate rises. It means that a five-year fix isn’t that much more expensive than a two-year fix.

Of course, not everyone will qualify for it. Firstly, you need a 40 per cent deposit and then there is a £1,499 fee to pay. You will also need a squeaky clean credit history and you will need to meet the lender’s tight affordability criteria. If you are self-employed, rely on bonuses or need an interest-only mortgage, it is going to be even trickier.

But while not everyone will be able to access this deal, there is a wide range of rock-bottom rates available. Lenders are keen to lend and have plenty of capacity to do so. While it may be trickier to get a mortgage since tougher affordability rules were introduced last year, an independent mortgage broker will be able to advise as to the best course of action.

Adrian Anderson
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Adrian Anderson