Press coverage

My clients enjoy excellent press coverage. Here are a few of their most recent mentions:


  • A Brexit vote would have implications for anyone buying or selling property. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘There is speculation that property values may fall post Brexit, so if someone is in the process of selling they might want to hurry because there could be less confidence in the market if we do vote to leave. There is also speculation that mortgage rates may increase. If you are worried, consider securing a competitive fixed rate.’

    The Times

    14th May 2016
  • The number of homes repossessed by lenders has fallen to the lowest level on record, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jeremy Leaf, an estate agent and former chairman of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said he expected the number of evictions to rise as landlords found it hard to make the figures add up under new government restrictions and would have no choice but to sell.

    The Financial Times

    12th May 2016
  • Millions of grown-up children are being forced to return to live with their parents following a failed relationship. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The high cost of living, whether it be buying a property or simply renting one, means that following a break-up it can be tricky to be able to afford to live on your own.

    ‘It can be quite a shock to have to move back in with your parents when you have been used to running your own household but many are finding that this is at least a temporary measure until they are back on their feet.’

    Trying to get back onto the property ladder following a divorce or break-up can be difficult, he warned. ‘If you are getting divorced this will affect your mortgage application unless it is finalised, as the lender will be worried about your settlement and how it will affect factors such as affordability and capital.

    He advises: ‘If you are jointly on a mortgage already, you won’t be able to come off it until the lender is satisfied that the person remaining can afford the mortgage. This is much more of an issue since new mortgage rules – introduced under the Mortgage Market Review – with many people having to stay on the mortgage even though they have split up.’

    Mail Online

    12th May 2016
  • Many people approaching retirement are trapped on overpriced mortgages or are struggling to extend their mortgage term to make payments more affordable but Halifax and Nationwide are extending their maximum mortgage age. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says they could have gone further as many smaller building societies already lend up to age 90. ‘National Counties Building Society has no upper age limit as long as borrowers can demonstrate they can afford the mortgage. It also allows several names on the application so younger people can use their income to help out parents if required, or vice versa.’

    Furness Building Society and Harpenden Building Society will also lend to older borrowers with solid income, Anderson says.

    The Daily Express

    11th May 2016
  • UK house price growth dipped in April, according to the Halifax. Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said: ‘This easing of growth in prices is a trend that is likely to continue for the next few months at least until after the EU referendum. As investors pause for breath, their withdrawal from the market is giving first-time buyers a better opportunity to take that first step on the ladder than they have had for some time.

    ‘We don’t expect prices to fall unduly while the shortage of stock remains but we are more concerned with transaction levels so that buyers and sellers can come in and out of the market more freely. This is better for the longer term sustainability of the market.’

    City AM

    9th May 2016
  • Halifax has upped its top age limit on its mortgages to 80-years-old. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘It is important the UK’s biggest mortgage lender is prepared to consider older borrowers as that is the way things are going now, with people living longer and needing to carry their mortgage debt well into retirement.

    ‘As long as someone can afford their mortgage, they should be able to continue with it, even beyond the age of 80.’

    The Daily Express

    6th May 2016
  • It has been hailed as the return of the 100 per cent mortgage with Barclays dropping the deposit requirement on its Family Springboard mortgage. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says this could stoke demand for similar products from big lenders: ‘It is likely that other lenders will follow suit if they are to attract business,’ he says.

    The Financial Times

    6th May 2016
  • Tougher conditions for the buy-to-let market could backfire and result in amateur landlords selling their properties on to bigger players, reducing properties available to homemakers and first timers. Jeremy Leaf, a former chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and north London estate agent, says the theory that smaller landlords will sell out to bigger players ‘is a good theory but not what we are seeing on the ground’.

    He explained: ‘Landlords tend to give up on buy-to-let when they have a bad experience with a tenant or the numbers no longer add up. But while profits may be lower, buy-to-let remains an attractive investment for many when compared with the returns on savings accounts and stocks and shares, and we are not seeing swathes of amateur landlords selling up.’

    Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, agrees with Leaf: ‘There is no reason to suggest a smaller landlord will sell his stock to a bigger landlord. He will sell his stock to whoever pays him the most money.

    ‘There is nothing to stop a smaller landlord incorporating [becoming a limited company], likewise there are a number of significant landlords with many properties who currently own everything in personal names.

    ‘Of course, more lenders offering limited company lending will help and it is under consideration by a number of them.’

    This is Money

    3rd May 2016
  • The average price of a home dropped to £189,901 in March from £190,275 in February, according to the Land Registry. The fall surprised industry experts who had expected house prices to rise in part because of anecdotal reports of the dash to avoid stamp duty by buy-to-let buyers. ‘We would have expected higher transaction levels as the stamp duty deadline approached . . . There does not seem to have been the stampede that many expected’, said Jeremy Leaf, former chairman of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and a north London estate agent.

    The Times

    29th April 2016
  • The Land Registry data revealed a fall in the number of completed house sales in England and Wales in January fell by 5pc to 54,254 compared with 56,937 in January 2015. ‘We were expecting higher transaction levels in the first three months of the year as the stamp duty deadline approaches. But with the number of completed house sales in England and Wales falling by 5pc in January compared with the same month last year, there does not seem to have been the stampede that many expected,’ said Jeremy Leaf, former chairman of Rics (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors). ‘A decline in number of property transactions continues to be a worry, as if people aren’t able to move in and out of the market when they want to, there will be an inevitable knock-on effect for the rest of the economy. On the ground we want to see more balance between supply and demand,’ he added. 

    The Daily Telegraph

    28th April 2016
  • Jeremy Leaf, principal at Jeremy Leaf & Co estate agents, says that prices are “softening” in the suburbs — Zone 3 and beyond. ‘We are still seeing plenty of first-time buyers as the withdrawal from the market of investors means it is an opportunity for them,’ he said. ‘First-time buyers are still taking advantage of low mortgage rates and these don’t look set to rise anytime soon.’

    The Evening Standard

    27th April 2016
  • Mortgage lending surged dramatically in March, returning to the peak levels last seen before the financial crash. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘As expected, March was a bumper month for mortgages. Investors and second homeowners alike rushed to beat the hike in stamp duty at the start of April but expect April and May’s lending figures to be more subdued as transactions that would normally have happened then were brought forward.’

    Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said: ‘This month we have still seen plenty of first-time buyers as the withdrawal from the market of investors has presented them with an opportunity.

    ‘Prices are softening generally but not by a huge amount yet. It is not unreasonable to suggest that prices will soften further with the Mayoral election and Brexit having an impact on confidence.’

    The Guardian

    26th April 2016
  • Lots of first-time buyers will be calling on the Bank of Mum and Dad for help, and in response lenders are becoming more creative, says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘If parents have equity in their home they can use this to assist their child without remortgaging,’ he says. ‘The National Counties building society’s Family Mortgage will take wider assets into account as security so that a child with a 5 per cent deposit, for example, can benefit from a better mortgage rate.’ This mortgage offers a three-year fix at 3.34 per cent, or a five-year fix at 3.64 per cent, lower rates than would normally be the case for someone requiring 95 per cent LTV.

    The Times

    23rd April 2016
  • There are a number of schemes such as Help to Buy which are aimed at assisting first-time buyers onto the housing ladder. ‘The downside,’ says Mark Harris, the chief executive of SPF Private Clients, a mortgage broker, ‘is that if a borrower takes a 20 per cent equity loan, they must pay back a 20 per cent share of the value of their home when they come to sell. If prices rise considerably, this could mean paying back much more than you borrowed in the first instance.’

    The Times

    22nd April 2016
  • Ardent film buffs can get their hands on a piece of cinematic history as a two-bedroom flat in Notting Hill goes on the market for £1.49m. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Notting Hill is a well-known, hip and highly-desirable prime area in which to live, and prices have risen accordingly.

    ‘The price of a two-bed maisonette will seem eye watering to many, particularly those who don’t live in London, but it is what you have to pay to live in such a fantastic location, even if it is above a shop.

    ‘Mortgage lenders tend not to be so keen on properties above commercial premises but it shouldn’t be a problem in this case because it is above a bookshop. It has been a bookshop for many years and is unlikely to become a restaurant or dry cleaners, which tend to be the types of commercial outlets that lenders don’t like.’

    The Daily Mail

    20th April 2016
  • Robin Gould of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘A converted barn is a great way of getting something with character which is modern on the inside and the large living spaces appeal to a lot of people. You get lots of square feet for your money and often in settings where consent for a new-build house would not be granted.’

    The Wall Street Journal

    14th April 2016
  • Across England, house prices increased by 8.2 per cent annually to reach £298,000 on average. In Wales, property values edged up by 2.8 per cent annually to reach £173,000 typically. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Cheap mortgage rates, a base rate that doesn’t look as though it is rising any time soon, and falling unemployment, are giving buyers more confidence to take the plunge, assuming they can find the property they want to buy.

    ‘Limited supply is likely to be the biggest issue they face in the short term but it may be house price growth which is the bigger issue longer term as it continues to outpace real earnings growth by some margin.’ 

     

    The Daily Mail

    13th April 2016
  • In a decision that brokers say is symptomatic of the hyper-competitive mortgage market, Barclays has permanently relaxed its lending criteria and increased the maximum amount it lends to its “premier customers” from five times their income to 5.5 times their income.

    There is a catch, however. To qualify as a “premier” customer, borrowers must earn at least £75,000 a year and bank with Barclays. ‘Those in this income bracket tend to have the greatest disposable income, thereby making the mortgage more affordable,’ says Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, the mortgage broker.

    The Times

    9th April 2016
  • Sarah Broughton, of the buying agency Prime Purchase, owns racehorses and says a large number of animals are trained in the town and Martin Harley, the jockey, lives here — but many homes are owned by people not involved with the sport. ‘They plump for Newmarket for the quality of life, its proximity to Cambridge and because it is only about 60 miles from London,’ she says.

    The Times

    8th April 2016
  • Home values leapt in March but demand has since tapered off. Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said: ‘The peak of the housing market may have been reached, as far as prices are concerned, or very close to it.

    ‘Demand from landlords and second homeowners keen to complete before the April stamp duty hike has now fallen away so it will be interesting to see what April’s house price index reveals.’

    The Daily Express

    7th April 2016
  • Optimism for the housing sector seems to outpace broader economic pessimism, according to Halifax. Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said the housing market may have peaked, or be very close to it. ‘Demand from landlords and second homeowners keen to complete before the April stamp duty hike has now fallen away so it will be interesting to see what April’s house price index reveals’, he said. ‘However, we don’t expect prices to fall by as much as some predict because of the number of first-time buyers in the market taking advantage of low interest rates.’

    This is Money

    7th April 2016
  • Commentators agree that a lack of supply is likely to hold up prices. ‘At the coalface there is still a general shortage of the sort of property that people want to buy,’ said north London estate agent, Jeremy Leaf. ‘Although more property is coming onto the market, much of it is aimed at investors who understandably are more reluctant to proceed because of higher stamp duty charges.’

    BBC News

    7th April 2016
  • ‘Marylebone High Street’s residential offering is predominantly comprised of flats above shops, and more modern 1950s and 1960s blocks,’ says Lindsey Webb, of buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘Buyers prefer to live on the prettier, quieter streets radiating off it.’

    The London Magazine

    7th April 2016
  • South Oxfordshire is named as Britain’s best spot to live. James Shaw of buying agency Prime Purchase agrees Great Milton is one of the most active villages in this region. ‘The buzz of Oxford isn’t far away and lots of Londoners appreciate the cosmopolitan nature of Oxford.’

    The Evening Standard

    6th April 2016
  • New build London property developments continue to spring up all over town – but are they wise buys? Will they hold their value? ?Arabella Youens talks to Guy Meacock of buying agency Prime Purchase (020–7881 2392): ‘Like so much in life, in order for things to work, you need a hierarchy and, in London, that means a balanced built environment— a range of housing stock, schools, shops and community spaces that cater for needs across the board.

    The new-build sector isn’t answering that need, in part because there’s a significant premium to pay compared with the second-hand market—some apartments come to the market at double the relative value of second-hand stock with high service charges on top.

    According to Savills figures, we’re going to need an extra 1.1 million private rented homes over the next five years and, with the recent tax changes by the Chancellor, the principle of putting money into property in London—where a good proportion of these properties are needed—has been watered down.

    The outcome of that is that there’s less available in the private rented sector, where there is a dire need, and rents will inevitably go up. It’s hard to see where you can improve the market holistically without a detrimental impact somewhere along the line—margins are that tight.

    These changes are already impacting on other urban centres in the South; markets such as Cambridge have outperformed central London in recent months and I suspect that will continue as young people are driven by affordability.

    The key point is that London needs to watch itself: it gets out of jail as long as the population keeps growing, but that may not always be the case if people are no longer choosing to live here. If young Britons desert the capital, it’ll fundamentally change the profile of the city.’

    Country Life

    5th April 2016
  • Homeowners are finding it increasingly difficult to transfer their mortgages when moving to another property. But Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘For some customers, the longer the porting window the better. There are many customers with fixed-rate deals who do not want to pay a penalty.’

    The Sunday Times

    3rd April 2016
  • There has never been a better time to remortgage. Adrian Anderson, director of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Someone with a £300,000 mortgage at a rate of 3 per cent would see their mortgage payments more than double from £750 to £1,506 per month if they shifted to repayment.

    ‘It is important not to simply ignore the problem. If you can’t switch all of the mortgage over to a repayment basis, you may be able to afford to shift part of it over, which will then make you more attractive to lenders because you will be less exposed to interest-only.

    ‘Taking advantage of low interest rates and overpaying on your mortgage, if you can, makes sense, with most lenders allowing you to overpay by up to 10 per cent of the mortgage amount per annum without penalty. If you are young enough, you may be able to extend your mortgage term, giving you longer to repay the capital.’

    The Times

    2nd April 2016
  • House prices have risen at the fastest pace in a year.

    Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said the market will be watching to see what the impact of the extra stamp duty charge will be over the coming months: ‘The real test for the market will come in the next two months as many investors pause for breath to see if prices soften sufficiently to allow them to come back in. However, on the ground we are still seeing keen interest from landlords who simply intend to negotiate harder on the price they pay going forward.

    ‘It will be interesting to see whether investors fall away sufficiently and how many first-time buyers take their place in the expectation that the playing field will be more level.’

    The Times

    1st April 2016
  • Some experts have warned that while there is an abundance of mortgage products and rates are getting lower, the best deals are reserved for those with larger deposits and not everyone will be able to remortgage to a cheaper deal. Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘While the average rates for two and three-year fixed-rate mortgages are at record lows, the very best deals are still only available to those with the biggest deposits.

    ‘Some borrowers will be paying much higher than the average, particularly those who haven’t remortgaged for some time and are stuck on their lender’s expensive standard variable rate.

    ‘The problem is that not everyone can remortgage onto a cheaper deal – tougher affordability criteria are making it difficult for many, particularly those whose income has changed, require interest-only, are self-employed or regarded as an ‘older’ borrower.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    1st April 2016
  • Buy-to-let investors are anxiously consulting their brokers to see whether they will be able to obtain mortgages in future following the Bank of England’s proposed crackdown. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The larger your income and asset base, the more likely you are to get the loan. Your experience as a landlord will also count. Lenders prefer to lend to clients who already hold investment property.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    31st March 2016
  • House prices in London have soared by 13.5 per cent in the past 12 months, according to the Land Registry. Former RICS chairman and estate agent Jeremy Leaf, said: ‘On the ground we want to see more balance between supply and demand, and while we expect completions to rise in January and February as landlords attempt to beat the stamp duty hike from April, there remains a woeful lack of supply, which will push prices higher.’

    This is Money

    30th March 2016
  • The most arduous parts of moving home have been identified in a new survey. Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Moving house is one of the most stressful things most of us will ever do. 

    ‘Part of the stress is down to the sheer cost involved as it can be an expensive process – not just taking on a bigger mortgage in most instances, but the associated costs of buying such as stamp duty, legal fees, surveyor costs, mortgage advice and paying the removal men.

    ‘One way to minimise the pain is to plan ahead, set yourself a budget and stick to it as much as possible, while also ensuring you call in the experts – a good lawyer, independent mortgage broker and removals firm. 

    ‘This will minimise the stress and ensure it doesn’t cost you more in the long run. The right professionals will massively reduce the stress of the move, and ensure everything is done in a timely fashion, so you don’t waste your precious time where you don’t need to.’

    The Daily Mail

    29th March 2016
  • The increase in tax on buy-to-let is already putting off many landlords. Jeremy Leaf, a former chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and north London estate agent, said: ‘This is a classic case of slamming the stable door after the horse has bolted. The changes the Chancellor has made to mortgage interest tax relief and higher stamp duty for landlords will have enough of an impact on buy-to-let without the need for further interference from the Bank of England. Landlords will already be put off investing further.”

    Tougher mortgage criteria are making it harder for landlords. Adrian Anderson, director at brokers Anderson Harris, said: ‘The larger your income and asset base, the more likely you are to get the loan.Your experience as a landlord will also count. Lenders prefer to lend to clients who already hold investment property.’

    Pulling equity out of existing buy-to-lets to fund further purchases is set to become tricky. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The premise upon which countless buy-to-let portfolios were founded – that you release equity from one property to put down as a deposit on another – no longer applies. Landlords quickly learnt that you grow your investment and spread your risk by having several properties. But with lenders set to impose tougher criteria on additional borrowing, this may no longer be feasible.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    29th March 2016
  • Landlords should face new limits on the amount they can borrow, the Bank of England has proposed. ‘This is a classic case of slamming the stable door after the horse has bolted,’ said Jeremy Leaf, a former chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. ‘The changes the Chancellor has made to mortgage interest tax relief and higher stamp duty for landlords will have enough of an impact on buy-to-let without the need for further interference from the Bank of England.’

    BBC News

    29th March 2016
  • Is the Chancellor finally killing off the buy-to-let golden goose? London estate agent Jeremy Leaf, a former chairman of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, says aspiring first-time buyers should be on full alert if prices do fall after April. ‘It could be a real buying opportunity as you may face less competition from investors.’

    The Sunday Express

    27th March 2016
  • Buy-to-let investors are rushing to push through deals before an increase in taxes on Britain’s army of landlords. Jeremy Leaf, a former chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: ‘Many landlords have brought forward their buying decisions because there is a saving to be made in doing so. Investors know they will pay more for the same property next month so why not buy before then?’

    The Daily Mail

    26th March 2016
  • Bicester has the advantage of being up to 50 per cent cheaper than Oxford. Ginny Gilmore, a property buyer with Prime Purchase, says: ‘Around Bicester, a continuing improvement in the transport system will cause property prices to rise, and the new developments on the outskirts will provide lots of housing.’ Sarah Broughton, a buying agent with Prime Purchase, says: ‘Cambridge is not a cheap option compared with London: people move here because the schools are very good and it’s a safe, appealing place to live, rather than because their money goes a lot further.’

    The Times

    25th March 2016
  • Are Covent Garden and Soho becoming desirable residential neighbourhoods for young urbanites? There is one bonus to this area that agents call “Midtown”: it’s central but still relatively cheap. Relatively. ‘That is arguably its main attraction,’ says Guy Meacock, director of buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘The new residential offerings are of greater quality than in the past, but few people would choose to live there full time. If you fall asleep in your Covent Garden living room, you’ll be woken up by rubbish trucks at 4am emptying the restaurants’ bins.’

    Telegraph Luxury

    22nd March 2016
  • Questions arose this week about whether overseas investors should be banned from buying in Britain after a developer stated it would sell ‘only to’ British buyers. Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said: ‘This is the first time I’ve come across such a ban and this advertisement is in danger of coming across as a bit racist or ‘little Englander’. The vendors make an odd distinction between UK and foreign buyers, and the proposal may even be illegal. It might be understandable if owner-occupiers were being given preference over investors but how would you define a UK-based investor? Will investor buyers have to prove UK residency and is it contrary to the EU treaty to prevent Europeans from buying property?’

    The Daily Mail

    21st March 2016
  • A parking space has gone on sale with an asking price of almost twice the value of a typical property. Adrian Dadds of Anderson Harris Commercial, said: ‘In principle, you should be able to get commercial funding on a car parking space if you were planning to rent it out, for example. But any lender would take some persuading that it is worth that amount of money and crucially, could be re-sold if the borrower defaulted on the loan.’

    The Daily Mail

    18th March 2016
  • Chester Square in Belgravia continues to attract buyers. ‘Outside Belgravia, big garden square-hunters would go to Notting Hill or Kensington Park Gardens where you get more bang for your buck,’ says Guy Meacock, director of buying agency Prime Purchase.

    The Financial Times

    18th March 2016
  • House prices show no signs of slowing but there are schemes to help first-time buyers get a leg up. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘First-time buyers are spoilt for choice with a range of schemes to help them onto the housing ladder. This is just as well as with lenders demanding bigger deposits to access the best mortgage rates, and property prices outstripping incomes making it hard to save, it can be difficult to get a mortgage.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    17th March 2016
  • Mortgage borrowing hit an eight-year high for the month of February, providing further evidence of a rush to buy ahead of changes to stamp duty on second homes in April. Mark Harris, chief executive of broker SPF Private Clients, said he expected the market to remain robust in the coming months. ‘The challenger banks are keen to lend, while more established lenders also wish to bring in more business, which will be reflected in cheap rates and some tweaking of criteria. On the buy-to-let side, lenders will need to adapt to lending to limited companies as it looks as though an increasing number of investors will go down this route.’

    The Financial Times

    17th March 2016
  • The Chancellor omitted to mention in the Budget that the Government’s Help to Buy ISA is set to be scrapped in 2019. ‘Despite it only being a year since the Help to Buy ISA was introduced to help first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder, it is set to be scrapped in 2019,” said Jonathan Harris from broker Anderson Harris.

    ‘The Lifetime ISA is set to supersede it, and, perhaps in an effort to simplify and streamline what is available, the Government has sacrificed the earlier product for the latest one.’

    The Daily Mirror

    16th March 2016
  • Budget 2016: The prime property industry reacts – Jonathan Harris of Anderson Harris, says: ‘With the Chancellor announcing that the new 3% stamp duty rate on additional properties will also apply to larger investors, as well as those buying via a limited company, any potential loopholes have been well and truly closed. However, going forward more investors are set to buy via a limited company and lenders will need to catch up with the changing face of buy-to-let as most of them offer few options on the mortgage front to those buying via a company. This will have to change – and quickly – if they wish to grow their buy-to-let lending book.’

    Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The property industry will be sighing with relief after this Budget pretty much left it well alone. The tweaks made to stamp duty on commercial property make it a fairer system and even the higher top rate is unlikely to deter investors. It is more likely to be absorbed into the cost of the asset. In future, more buy-to-let purchases will be made via limited companies even though in a shock move a policy statement supporting the Budget confirmed that those buying inside a limited company will still be hit by the 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge. Arguably the changes in mortgage interest tax relief were always the biggest hardship for landlords so moving an existing portfolio into a company still makes sense for many investors as corporate entities will remain able to offset mortgage interest against their tax bill as a business expense.’

    PrimeResi

    16th March 2016
  • Previously it was thought that corporate investors might be able to avoid the new stamp duty charge, but the Budget document has made clear that the higher rate will apply “equally to purchases by individuals and corporate investors”.

    Jeremy Leaf, former chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: ‘As it stood, the 3pc stamp duty hike from April unfairly favoured large investors at the expense of smaller landlords. In announcing that the new stamp duty rates on additional properties will apply to larger investors too, the Chancellor has balanced it so it is not helping either group, but in doing so he compromises the chances of improving supply.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    16th March 2016
  • ‘First-time buyers in the capital are being offered a leg up the property ladder via London Help to Buy, with thousands already rushing to take advantage. ‘Take a one-bedroom flat in Camberwell, on the market for £360,000,’ says Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris. ‘A 5% deposit is £18,000, and if you don’t buy via Help to Buy, you need a mortgage for the remainder. This requires an annual income of about £85,000, pricing out many buyers.

    ‘Under London Help to Buy, a 40% interest-free loan of £144,000 would reduce the mortgage to £198,000. This could be achieved with an income of £50,000, which is much more realistic in the capital.’

    The Sunday Times

    13th March 2016
  • Getting a mortgage is rarely straightforward and although loan rates have rarely been so low, there is still much to learn if you are planning to navigate the market this spring. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris says: ‘School fees can create a huge problem for borrowers because banks no longer regard them as discretionary spending but as a full credit commitment, like a car loan or a credit card. The pressure this puts on the affordability calculation can be massive and throw off some borrowers by hundreds of thousands of pounds.’

    The good news is that different lenders view school fees differently. Mr Harris adds: ‘In some circumstances, if the borrower can show significant enough assets to cover the fee commitment for a period of time then the lender will take this away from the calculation altogether. Alternatively, if there are large bonuses these can be used to cover the commitment. Good lenders to consider are Halifax, Nationwide and Metro Bank.’

     

    The Times

    12th March 2016
  • We identify the perfect village – close to London where you can walk to a station, a local shop or a good pub.

    Charlie Wells of buying agency Prime Purchase suggests Great Bedwyn, a busy village on the River Dun and stands in an AONB between the market towns of Hungerford and Marlborough.

    Ginny Gilmore of Prime Purchase is among the many who believe Kingham in Gloucestershire has real standout value. The Kingham Plough is a very civilized ‘dining pub’, which has won many awards, and the Wild Rabbit, part of Carole Bamford’s Daylesford, is recommended for ‘coffee, lunch, dinner and beds’.

    James Shaw of Prime Purchase suggests Haddenham in Berkshire. The village has been the backdrop for several TV series, including Jeeves and Wooster and Midsomer Murders. ‘It’s a pretty village with a duck pond and a church and it’s the home of the Tiggywinkles wildlife hospital,’ says James Shaw of Prime Purchase.

     

    Country Life

    11th March 2016
  • Landlords’ borrowing jumped 42 per cent year on year in January according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Adrian Anderson, director of mortgage brokers Anderson Harris, said: ‘Remortgaging and buy-to-let lending goes from strength to strength. More landlords are taking out mortgages and remortgaging as they try to buy before the stamp duty hike comes in from April, and are also looking at the costs associated with their investments, minimising their mortgage payments as much as possible.’

    Mail Online

    10th March 2016
  • The housing market is predicted to cool this summer following the current rush to snap up buy-to-let properties. Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said: ‘There is every chance that we will see property prices levelling off over the next few months, particularly one or two-bedroom properties that would normally attract first-time buyers. Prices may even reduce a little until the market has a chance to find a new level in a few months’ time.

    ‘The stamp duty hike is not the only cause of any uncertainty but concerns over the EU referendum will also play a part in the next few months.’

    Mail Online

    10th March 2016
  • The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicts that the UK housing market will slow down over the next three months due in part to the imposition of a 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge on new purchases for landlords and second home owners. Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said: ‘There is every chance that we will see property prices levelling off over the next few months, particularly one or two-bedroom properties that would normally attract first-time buyers.’

    The Spectator

    10th March 2016
  • Buy-to-let mortgages jumped by a whopping 42 per cent from the same month last year to £3.7bn, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘More landlords are taking out mortgages and remortgaging as they try to buy before the stamp duty hike comes in from April, and are also looking at the costs associated with their investments, minimising their mortgage payments as much as possible.’

     

    The Daily Express

    10th March 2016
  • How easy would it be for Brits to get a mortgage after Brexit? Miranda John, international manager at SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Even after Brexit, a Brit would find it easier to get a mortgage to buy property in France than an Estonian, for instance.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    7th March 2016
  • Wealthy homeowners are being denied access to the best mortgage deals from mainstream lenders, despite exemptions to affordability rules that should allow them to borrow higher sums at greater loan-to-income ratios. The FCA offered an exemption for HNW individuals but this is not being used. ‘The exemption is out there and available, yet the vast majority of lenders are choosing not to use it,’ said Mark Harris, chief executive of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘I think it’s fear of getting on the regulator’s radar for doing something out of the ordinary.’

    The Financial Times

    4th March 2016
  • The UK’s long-established relationship with European banks means that the ability to secure finance is unlikely to be affected by Brexit. Miranda John, the international manager at SPF Private Clients, the mortgage specialist, says: ‘Banks in countries such as France and Spain have strong lending divisions that have created products aimed at British buyers and these will continue even if Brexit happens. These countries are reliant on Brits buying property. Even after Brexit, a British buyer will find it easier to get a mortgage to buy property in France than, say, an Estonian.’

    The Times

    4th March 2016
  • We ask the agents about the top ten most expensive counties in the UK.

    Where are the million-pound homes in Surrey? ‘Where aren’t they?’ says Paul Frost, of Prime Purchase, a buying agency. ‘St George’s Hill and Oxshott keep the prices well into the multimillions. Those looking for a more country feeling head for the ‘Guildford villages’ where a village green, local shops, nearby schools and the fact that it is less than an hour on the train to central London mean prices regularly stray into the £2 million and £3 million brackets.’

    Dorset is another rich county. Robin Gould, of Prime Purchase, a buying agency, says: ‘The obvious place in Poole for expensive homes is Sandbanks, where pretty much everything, including flats, is more than £1 million.’

    The Times

    4th March 2016
  • Annual house price growth accelerated in February, according to Nationwide. Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said: ‘Property prices are steady as the market is being underpinned by buy-to-let investors and second home owners trying to beat the stamp duty hike in April.

    ‘The Nationwide figures are slightly historic, reflecting what was happening in November and December rather than now. We expect activity to continue to rise before it starts to let up. The March figures will reflect the greater rush to meet the deadline but after April we expect a marked decline in activity as people have brought forward their transactions.’

    What Mortgage

    3rd March 2016
  • Should you opt for the centrality of Mayfair or the garden squares of Knightsbridge? Guy Meacock of buying agency Prime Purchase says: ‘Mayfair and Knightsbridge are broadly the same, although Mayfair feels more contained and uniform because the Grosvenor Estate manages large parts of it, whereas Knightsbridge is more disparate and spread out. Mayfair has undergone a rebirth in the past decade. It had lost its shine, becoming a place of work and lacking the luxury residential offering it now has.’

    International Luxury Property & Travel

    1st March 2016
  • Banks and building societies will begin to withdraw their best mortgage deals next week as homeowners scramble to beat the rise in interest rates this winter. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Fixed rates are only going to get more expensive; if borrowers wait until interest rates are actually rising before securing one then they will pay a lot more than they would now.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    24th July 2015
  • If you are on a variable rate mortgage, it’s certainly worth locking into a fixed rate deal, reckons Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘There are some really cheap deals on the market, with two-year fixes starting at 1.05% and five-year fixes from 2.14%,’ he says. ‘In all likelihood, we have now seen the cheapest of these fixed rates so don’t delay if you want one of the more competitive deals in the hope that a better rate will come along. It probably won’t.’

    The Evening Standard

    21st July 2015
  • The era of ultra-low interest rates will soon be coming to an end. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris says: ‘Five-year fixes look particularly good value, but don’t fix for that long if there is a chance you might move in two or three years – or you’ll be hit with a hefty penalty.’

    The Guardian

    18th July 2015
  • Bank of England governor Mark Carney has hinted that low interest rates are set to rise from the 0.5 per cent they have been glued at since March 2009. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Once the money markets price in a rate rise, the cost of fixed rates start shooting up so if you want a fixed rate you may want to secure one quickly.

    ‘Five-year fixes look particularly good value but don’t fix for that long if there is a chance you might move in two or three years, or you’ll be hit with a hefty penalty.
    ‘Existing borrowers with spare cash not earning much in the way of interest may want to consider overpaying. This will put you in a stronger position when rates start to rise.’

    This is Money

    18th July 2015
  • Crawley is a popular choice for young families looking for space and a community feel. Only four miles from Winchester, it’s handy for London commuters. James Grillo of the buying agency Prime Purchase is smitten: ‘Crawley has the prettiest duck pond and a busy village hall, which hosts ballet lessons, NCT parenting classes, village panto, cabaret evenings, quizzes and yoga. There are several good nurseries near by.’

    The Times

    17th July 2015
  • Many pension savers are eyeing the property market, considering unlocking their pension funds for a deposit on a second property. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘People feel comfortable investing in bricks and mortar. It is familiar, they understand it and many have made significant gains in recent years on their own home.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    11th July 2015
  • A lesser known part of the West Country, the Blackdown Hills stretches across East Devon to the Somerset border, between Taunton and Tiverton. It has dramatic landscapes, narrow lanes and tiny villages such as Churchinford, Broadhembury, Hemyock and Luppitt, where the pub sells only local beers. Robin Gould, of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘In most of these places it is still possible to see the rural life of 40 or 50 years ago which quietly goes on underneath the tourists’ noses.’

    The Times

    10th July 2015
  • Some lenders, particularly the smaller building societies, will consider offering interest-only deals on a case-by-case basis while others. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says that the recent changes in this type of lending are ‘very encouraging’. ‘Banks clamped down on interest-only borrowing as a knee-jerk reaction to lax lending practices, but we are now starting to see some relaxing of overly tight criteria,’ he says. ‘Interest-only does have a place for the right borrower with a considered repayment strategy in place.’

    The Observer

    5th July 2015
  • The real impact of stamp duty and zealous sellers may not be felt for a few months. ‘It will be autumn before we can gauge whether power has shifted back from buyers to sellers,’ says Guy Meacock, head of Prime Purchase. ‘But the bigger deal may be the fall-out from the dramatic stamp duty reform. That’s yet to be absorbed.’

    The London Magazine

    2nd July 2015
  • Population growth in England has soared 12 per cent higher than previously projected. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘There is a housing crisis in the UK because we are not building flats and houses fast enough to keep pace with demand.

    ‘If population growth is going to be that much greater than previous forecasts suggest, lack of housing will be even more of an issue in the future. Already property prices are being pushed beyond the reach of first-time buyers and growing families, and if this situation continues, only the very wealthy will be able to afford to buy.’

    Zoopla

    1st July 2015
  • Mortgage lenders are coming under increasing pressure to offer loans to older borrowers, who are encountering difficulties finding suitable products when buying a home or extending a mortgage. Jonathan Harris of Anderson Harris, said lenders were also reluctant to consider pension or retirement income because it was usually lower than that generated by full-time employment. ‘Typically older clients are asset-rich and often income-poor as they avoid taking unnecessary income for tax purposes, tending to draw down on savings instead. This frustrates the affordability issue further.’

    The Financial Times

    29th June 2015
  • House prices froze last month as interest among homebuyers was slow to revive after a hiatus before the election. Guy Meacock, head of the London office of the buying agency Prime Purchase, said: ‘The traditional seasonality of the market has been absent so far this year and has yet to really recover from the election result.’

    The Times

    27th June 2015
  • Interest-only mortgages were hugely attractive in the past to borrowers. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Banks in the past would offer interest-only without asking enough questions around how the mortgage was going to be repaid. But many lenders then swung the other way and began making the decision for the borrower regardless of their repayment strategy.’

    The Independent

    26th June 2015
  • There are growing demands for the abolition of tax relief on mortgage interest paid by buy-to-let investors. But as Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris drily understated: ‘The investment starts to look very unattractive once relief is withdrawn.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    26th June 2015
  • Speculation is growing that base rate will start to rise next year as the UK economy improves. But Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said that any increase in rates will have more of an impact on UK domestic buyers than those from overseas. Ultra-high-net-worth internationals are likely to be less dependent on funding. ‘Even when rates start to rise they will be doing so from a very low base of 0.5% and the Bank of England has hinted that they will rise slowly, finally settling at around 2% or 3% so the effect will be limited, and there is no need to panic.’

    Mansion Global

    24th June 2015
  • Chancellor George Osborne’s “pension freedom” reforms, introduced in April, which allow the over-55s to cash in their savings, could worsen the imbalance. Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The reforms will give buy-to-let yet another boost as more elderly people take advantage of cheap mortgage rates to invest in property.’

    The Guardian

    22nd June 2015
  • Several competitive buy-to-let mortgage deals have been launched, although borrowers should always remember to factor in arrangement fees. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Borrowers should be wary of buy-to-let deals with large up-front fees if they are only fixing for the short term. Always look at the overall cost, including initial fees and the rate over the term.’
    If you do already own a property, however, then the mortgage application process should be more straightforward. Mr Anderson says: ‘Lending criteria for buy-to-let mortgages is still relatively relaxed.
    ‘However, we are increasingly seeing banks asking more questions than they used to around overall affordability and suitability, which is partly a backlash in response to lax lending before the downturn.
    ‘Regulation will come into force in March 2016 but only a limited number of those applying for buy-to-let mortgages will be affected, such as ‘accidental landlords’ who inherit a property or take out a mortgage to buy a second home because they can’t sell their original property.’

    The Times

    20th June 2015
  • Gross mortgage lending rose in May, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, but brokers say there remains a shortage of properties being put on the market. ‘The gap between what people earn and what they can afford to buy continues to be an issue. There is little incentive to sell when there is a lack of choice as to what to buy,’ said Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris.

    BBC News

    18th June 2015
  • The Chalke Valley is blessed by being one of the least accessible areas due to its lack of main roads or railway line. ‘That means it hasn’t been on the radar of people who need to commute to London every day,’ explains Robin Gould of buying agents Prime Purchase (01962 795035), ‘but the history festival is rapidly putting it on the map of those buyers who are looking to commute on a weekly basis or those who can work from home a few days a week and I’m now getting clients who will specifically ask me to find something in the Chalke Valley’.

    He adds: ‘Heading south into Dorset, there’s a lot of fresh air between the chimneypots, but the Chalke Valley has enough villages and settlements to mean it’s a nice compromise—a gateway to beautiful countryside with enough going on.’
    Read more at http://www.countrylife.co.uk/articles/the-charm-of-chalke-valley-73133#D9bcKl47w2BwRRAM.99

    Country Life

    17th June 2015
  • Year-on-year growth in London is now dropping because very sharp rises recorded at the start of last year are falling out of the comparisons. Guy Meacock, head of the London office of buying agency Prime Purchase, said: ‘London has gone through a period of stratospheric growth, which was always going to be unsustainable at the same rate. The regional breakdown shows other areas are seeing house-price growth outperform London but these markets are cyclical – that is a normal market with good and bad periods. London is set for an adjustment.’

    This is Money

    16th June 2015
  • The higher cost moving to a property worth more than £1.5 million meant fewer were going on the market, with the supply problems ‘trickling down the ladder’. Guy Meacock, of buying agency Prime Purchase, said: ‘With the cost of moving so high, many homeowners are preferring to stay put and improve what they have got, rather than go through the stress, hassle and cost of moving. The sales market at the upper end is still digesting the changes in stamp duty and it is now dawning on sellers that buyers can’t stomach higher transaction costs of 10 to 15 per cent of the purchase price, with about £1 million in costs on a £10 million purchase.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    10th June 2015
  • Start your mortgage application before you have found a property. Since tougher rules on borrowing were introduced last year — in the Mortgage Market Review — lenders have more stringent affordability criteria.
    As each has interpreted the guidelines differently, it can be tricky to know which one will suit your circumstances best.
    This is where a broker comes in. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Use an independent mortgage broker who will know which lenders are slow on service so you can avoid those if you are in a hurry.
    ‘A broker will also help you collate all the information the lender requires to ensure your application is processed without delay.’

    The Daily Mail

    6th June 2015
  • Commenting on Nationwide’s data, Charlie Wells, managing director of buying agency Prime Purchase, said the housing market had been “livelier” since the general election. ‘But the problem is stock levels: there is not a lot of property on the market. Vendors who have been sitting on their hands because of election uncertainty are not yet making the decision to sell up,’ said Wells. ‘Vendors may be waiting until the summer is out of the way and planning on selling in the autumn when everyone is back from their holidays so it may be too early to tell whether this situation will change. But with interest rates so low, where else would you put your cash to earn the same returns?’

    The Guardian

    3rd June 2015
  • The buying process overseas can be very different from that in the UK. Miranda John, international manager at broker SPF Private Clients, said that in Spain it was increasingly common to be asked to pay a small reservation fee to take a property off the market. At this point you should be provided with a contract stipulating the terms under which this fee is refundable, such as title issues or a mortgage being declined. ‘Further to this, a more formal sales contract is drawn up and at this point a deposit of 10pc is required, although higher amounts of 20pc can be agreed if acceptable to both parties,’ she said. ‘This is a binding contract on both parties so should the buyer withdraw from the sale they will forfeit their deposit.’

    However, the Spanish system protects the buyer to a large extent as the penalties are even more severe for a seller who pulls out. ‘If a seller does this, he or she forfeits the deposit, and in addition the same amount must be paid as compensation to the buyer,’ Ms John said. ‘This measure deters vendors from changing their minds or accepting a better offer as it would have to be substantially higher to be worthwhile.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    2nd June 2015
  • Should you go for a property with a concierge service? ‘Service charges are often so high that it is pretty hard to get  your money’s worth. All the bells and whistles are nice to have  but are not used as much as you might think. The spa rooms in One Hyde Park are rarely occupied on each of the occasions I have visited with prospective buyers,’ says Guy Meacock from Savills’ buying agency Prime Purchase.

    The London Magazine

    1st June 2015
  • Experts said the Conservative election victory is likely to have bolstered the market in the south, with some estate agents reporting significant increases in business over the past three weeks. Mark Harris of brokers SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The lull people were talking about in the run-up to the election was mainly focused in London and the surrounding areas; elsewhere it was more or less business as usual.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    1st June 2015
  • Lenders look at your credit score to help them decide whether you meet their crtieria. Before applying, you should get hold of a copy of your credit report from one of the credit reference agencies — Experian, Equifax or CallCredit — and see if there are any ways in which you can improve it.

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Lenders need to see a track record of paying back debt so take out a credit card and ideally pay off the balance in full each month. Don’t forget to register on the electoral roll too.’

    Cutting down on any non-essential spending several months before you apply for a mortgage can help improve your chances. Adrian Anderson of Anderson Harris, the broker, says: ‘Since the mortgage market review reforms took effect, lenders have been scrutinising regular spending and taking it into account when calculating how much you can borrow. So if you can do without that wine club membership, cancel it several months beforehand, if possible.’

    The Times

    30th May 2015
  • The BBA figures showed approvals rose in April, although gross mortgage borrowing was 13 per cent lower year on year. ‘There has been much talk of a pre-election lull in the upper echelons of the housing market, but in the mainstream it was ‘business as usual’ with mortgage approvals rising significantly in April,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘The frenzy we saw in the first part of last year has not been repeated yet this more considered phase, with growing confidence among buyers, is likely to be more sustainable.’

    The Financial Times

    29th May 2015
  • Offset mortgages work by letting you offset your savings against your mortgage. Rather than earning interest on your savings, you don’t pay it on the equivalent amount of your mortgage debt, enabling you to pay off what you owe more quickly. As you don’t earn interest on your savings, there is no tax to pay on them, and you can still take your money out at any time.

    Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Overpaying on your mortgage also enables to you clear the loan more quickly and reduce the interest you pay, but money overpaid is impossible to claw back. The more cash you have to offset, the more interest you save.’

    Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Offsets allow borrowers to redraw money or make overpayments more easily than other mortgages, which is particularly useful for the self-employed who may have a fluctuating and less predictable income.’

    The Times

    29th May 2015
  • Women who are pregnant or on maternity leave – or even just thinking about starting a family – are being treated unfairly by mortgage lenders. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘More questions are being asked about affordability and whether a ‘change in circumstances’ is expected that might affect the borrower’s ability to pay their mortgage. One client was asked this three times by a lender after revealing she had three young children, with the implication that she might cut back her working hours to look after them, or even have another child.

    ‘Another client wasn’t allowed to use her pre-baby salary for mortgage purposes until she had actually returned to work and had received her first month’s wages into her bank account.’

    The Sunday Times

    24th May 2015
  • Getting on the property ladder can be difficult enough, but the newly self-employed face extra challenges. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘In theory, you should be able to get a mortgage as long as you can prove that you can afford it. In reality, the self-employed are discriminated against as banks would rather lend to an employed applicant with a lower salary than someone who has started their own business. The latter is still viewed as being riskier.’

    The Times

    23rd May 2015
  • The fall in the inflation rate to -0.1% is likely to give buyers confidence that interest rates will remain at rockbottom lows. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘With inflation now in negative territory, the likelihood of an interest rate rise has been pushed even further back.

    ‘Buy-to-let lending remains strong. The rising demand for rental property from those unable to buy means there is a ready supply of tenants. The relaxation of pension rules last month is likely to provide a further boost for the sector. A combination of cheap mortgage rates, easing criteria and poor savings rates are convincing many that investment property is a sensible home for their money.’

    The Guardian

    19th May 2015
  • Now parents are turning to the Bank of Son and Daughter to help them get a mortgage as banks discriminate against older borrowers. In one such example, a son in his late thirties had to help out his parents, both in their sixties, when they were told they were too old to remortgage their London home. The son, who runs an insurance brokerage, ended up buying them a small lodge in Suffolk near his home. He took out a mortgage for them through the broker Anderson Harris.

    The Sunday Times

    17th May 2015
  • Markets hate uncertainty, and the specter of a “mansion tax” on all properties worth £2 million or more, plus proposals to change non-domicile status under a Labour majority, has held back wealthy international buyers as well as vendors. ‘Foreign nationals were particularly concerned about a mansion tax on top of recent tax changes,’ said Jonathan Adams of prime central London estate agency Napier Watt. ‘The outcome has signaled that the U.K. and London is open to continued foreign investment.’

    Mansion Global

    15th May 2015
  • The proportion of British mortgages in serious arrears is now at its lowest level since 2008 as the economic recovery begins to feed through to household finances. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris stressed that thousands of homes are still set to be repossessed each year, adding ‘even though we have had a benign interest rate environment for some years now, there are likely to be people whose finances are teetering on a knife edge and rate rises could easily push them over’.

    The Financial Times

    14th May 2015
  • Home repossessions and the number of people with mortgages in arrears dropped to a new low in the first quarter of this year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, warned of the potential impact of interest rate rises on struggling homeowners.
    Mr Harris said: ‘Even though we have had a benign interest rate environment for some years now, there are likely to be people whose finances are teetering on a knife-edge and rate rises could easily push them over.
    ‘Borrowers must keep their lender in the loop if they are struggling with their mortgage. It is much easier and less stressful to come up with solutions early on than further down the line when the options may be much more limited.’

    This is Money

    14th May 2015
  • Many people are trading in their London home for a place in the country. ‘The differential between property pries in London and the country has never been as great as it is now,’ says Robin Gould of buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘So if you were picking a moment to move to the country, there has never been a better one.’

    The Independent on Sunday

    10th May 2015
  • The Spanish market is bouncing back but take advice on how to fund your purchase. ‘An option may be to extend the mortgage against your UK property and use the money to buy in Spain,’ says Miranda John, international manager at broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Daily Mail

    9th May 2015
  • The Co-operative Bank has launched a two-year fix at a record low. However, Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients said that for many people a five-year fixed rate might still be the best option. ‘Most borrowers are opting for five-year fixes for medium-term certainty rather than two-year deals. Five-year money is not that much more expensive than two-year, even with this rock-bottom rate.’

    The Times

    1st May 2015
  • The Co-operative Bank has launched a record low two-year fix at 1.09 per cent. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said ‘it could only be a matter of time’ before a provider came out with a two-year fix below 1 per cent. ‘However, most borrowers are opting for five-year fixes for medium-term certainty, rather than two-year deals,’ he said. ‘Given that five-year money is not that much more expensive than two year, this may continue to be the case, even with this rock-bottom rate.’

    The Financial Times

    1st May 2015
  • The UK’s cheapest-ever fixed-rate mortgage goes on sale on Friday as a price war continues to drive home loan rates to record lows. ‘Borrowers have never had it so good,’ claimed Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, adding that the fierce competition between lenders was likely to push rates even lower. ‘Admittedly, borrowers need to get past the tighter restrictions introduced as a result of the mortgage market review, and require a sizeable deposit in order to access the best mortgage deals, but if they can do this, then the rates on offer are spectacularly low,’ he said.

    The Guardian

    1st May 2015
  • House prices in England and Wales fell by 0.8% in March, according to the Land Registry.

    Guy Meacock, from buying agency Prime Purchase, said: ‘There is panic in the housing market as a result of the culmination of many different tax changes coming together. A possible mansion tax and fear of the unknown is playing a big part, although the recent stamp duty changes arguably have had a much bigger impact on the top end of the market.

    ‘A Labour/SNP coalition will soften the market but in terms of buying now it is still a good time as there is less competition and more room for negotiation.’

    The Guardian

    30th April 2015
  • Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Borrowers are taking advantage of record low mortgage rates and the signs are that these will continue to be competitive over coming months.

    ‘Lenders have ambitious targets for the year and in order to achieve them will either have to compete on rate or loosen criteria. While many are not yet prepared to do the latter, they are tightening margins and cutting rates across the loan-to-value curve.’

    This is Money

    28th April 2015
  • When buying at auction, the financing options are the same as buying a property through any other channel, according to Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. He says: ‘With the exception of added time pressure, the options and the process are the same. A buyer can choose to use a residential mortgage, a bridging loan or a buy-to-let mortgage.

    ‘To ensure a smooth completion, make sure you have a mortgage offer. Some rely on a ‘decision in principle’, which some buyers depend on at their peril.’

    The Times

    24th April 2015
  • Two thirds of prospective home buyers say the garden is a deciding factor when they choose whether or not to buy. Robin Gould who covers Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset and Devon for the buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘Many properties have large, complex gardens, sometimes listed and sometimes open to the public. It’s rare for there to be a commitment to keep a garden open to the public but I have come across these, and also a commitment in terms of staff and running costs. It can be a significant outlay and I have had examples where annual running costs were in six figures.’

    The Times

    24th April 2015
  • Many buyers are having to look off market to secure a prime property. Guy Meacock, head of the London office of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘The more you spend on a property, the more you will find that the majority of flats and houses are traded behind closed doors.

    ‘At the sub-£1m level, there are far fewer off market transactions. They happen but rarely. But if you are very wealthy and have a house costing a lot of money, you won’t want other people to know.

    ‘There is some benefit to a seller in trading property off market. If you have a property for sale on the open market for several months, it can ‘go off’ and people will think something is wrong with it. That isn’t an issue with off-market. You won’t get the same volume of people through the front door but they will be a better quality and much more credible than if they just walked in off the street.’

    Prime Resi

    22nd April 2015
  • The lowest ever five-year fixed rate mortgage has been launched. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Just when you thought mortgage rates couldn’t go any lower, HSBC offers a five-year fix at an incredible sub-two per cent. This is unlikely to be the last of it: with lenders keen to compete for business, this mortgage rate war will continue to rage.

    ‘However, many people won’t qualify for this rate and other cheap deals like it so it’s important to seek independent advice from a broker to find out what is available to you.

    Zoopla

    20th April 2015
  • Five-year fixed mortgage rates have fallen below 2pc for the first time ever. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, predicted in February that five-year fixed rates would fall below 2pc. ‘A sub-2pc five-year fix has been on the cards for some time as lenders compete on rates,’ he said. ‘However it is still truly astonishing, and an incredibly low rate for medium-term certainty. While interest rates are unlikely to rise in the next year or so, over five years a rate rise could be a real possibility so borrowers will snap up this deal, assuming they meet the criteria and have the necessary deposit.’

    Adrian Anderson, of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘If you need a mortgage now, and can access one of these great rates, it makes sense to secure it rather than holding out in the hope of a lower rate. Don’t be greedy: historically these rates are so low that you wouldn’t regret fixing now.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    18th April 2015
  • The UK’s first five-year fixed-rate mortgage under 2 per cent was unveiled this week amid a flurry of rate cuts. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Borrowers have never had it so good. Admittedly they need to get past the tighter restrictions introduced as a result of the mortgage market review, and require a sizeable deposit to access the best mortgage deals, but if they can do this, the rates on offer are spectacularly low.’

    The Financial Times

    18th April 2015
  • If you are buying a cottage, you will pay a premium for it. Robin Gould, who covers Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset and Devon for the buying agency Prime Purchase, says that a 20 to 30 per cent premium for the best cottages would not be unusual and people are prepared to pay more for period features such as exposed beams, inglenook fireplaces and brickwork, flagstone floors, raised skirtings and ceiling roses.

    The Times

    17th April 2015
  • Interest rates have plunged so low that a few homeowners locked into their tracker mortgage deals before the financial crisis are starting to be paid by their banks for borrowing money. Sean Adams of broker SPF Private Clients International, said: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before.’

    The Times

    15th April 2015
  • Mortgage lending dipped in February, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said that as of March, the mortgage market has started to pick up, as would be expected in spring. ‘Buy-to-let lending is up year on year, proving its enduring popularity,’ he said. ‘The relaxation of pension rules this month is likely to provide a further boost for the sector. A combination of cheap mortgage rates, easing criteria and poor savings rates are convincing many that investment property is a sensible home for their money.

    ‘Once election uncertainty is out of the way, we expect to see a flurry of activity in the mortgage market. There will certainly be plenty of cheap mortgage rates to tempt buyers.’

    The Guardian

    14th April 2015
  • The uncertainty surrounding the general election hit mortgages in February. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Despite the dip in lending across the board in February compared with the previous month, the mortgage market started picking up in March, as you would expect for the time of year.

    ‘Government schemes aimed at helping first-time buyers are proving to be hugely successful, with the Help to Buy Isa announced in the Budget set to raise awareness even further.

    ‘Buy-to-let lending is up year-on-year, proving its enduring popularity. Investors like the tangible nature of property compared with stocks  and shares, and the rising demand for rental property from those unable to buy means there is a ready supply of tenants.

    ‘The relaxation of pension rules this month is likely to provide a further boost for the sector. A combination of cheap mortgage rates, easing criteria and poor savings rates are convincing many that investment property is a sensible home for their money.

    ‘Once election uncertainty is out of the way, we expect to see a flurry of activity in the mortgage market. There will certainly be plenty of cheap mortgage rates to tempt buyers. Lenders have lots of capacity to lend and if lending levels have been subdued at the beginning of the year, they will have plenty of ground to make up.’

    CityAM

    14th April 2015
  • Some lenders will not accept downsizing as a repayment strategy on an interest-only mortgage. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Many banks are too strict [on this]. The reality is that many older borrowers genuinely would sell up and downsize when the children have flown the nest, so this is a viable repayment strategy and therefore should be treated as such.’

    The Sunday Times

    12th April 2015
  • In a list of 15 of the best market towns in the country, Ginny Gilmore of buying agency Prime Purchase, suggests Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire. Ginny says: ’10 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon and 15 miles west of Banbury, S-o-S is a less discovered, more “exclusive” Cotswolds’ town, with two butchers, a fishmongers, a grocer and a deli/farm shop.’

    The Times

    10th April 2015
  • Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says the mortgage-rate war is well and truly raging. ‘A 10-year fix pegged at less than 3% is a phenomenal rate and if you can commit yourself for that length of time, you won’t regret it.’

    Interest rates are almost certain to rise, he says. ‘Interest rates have been stuck at 0.5% for six years but they have to go up at some point, so securing a low rate for 10 years is likely to be a very good move indeed.’

    Moneywise

    10th April 2015
  • The pension freedoms could trigger huge interest in becoming a landlord but is it a sensible move? Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Mortgage rates are at an all-time low, which makes borrowing to buy a property more attractive than ever.’

    The Sunday Times

    5th April 2015
  • French property is attracting huge interest from British buyers thanks to falling house prices, cheap long-term mortgages and favourable currency exchange rates.

    Miranda John, international manager at SPF Private Clients, a broker, said British buyers who had been waiting a long time to invest in France were now taking the plunge. ‘Mortgage rates are amazing at the moment, they’re the best they’ve ever been,’ she said. ‘French affordability criteria can be tough, particularly for the self-employed and those who don’t have a long-term history of stable earnings, but if you meet the requirements you can get a fantastic deal.’

    But Ms John warned that anyone looking to make a quick buck on property should buy elsewhere. ‘French lenders are incredibly keen on long-term fixes,” she said. “This means you can lock in very cheap rates for the long term, but these loans usually come with early repayment penalties that can be as much as 3pc of the capital outstanding.

    ‘In addition to these penalties, house prices are unlikely to rise enough in the short term to cover the purchase price, so buyers should be prepared to hold on to their properties for at least seven or eight years in order to recoup their initial costs.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    2nd April 2015
  • Can I get a buy-to-let mortgage into my eighties? Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘As with residential criteria, most lenders have a maximum age at the end of a buy-to-let mortgage term of around 70 or 75. A few lenders will let borrowers go beyond that age, providing they meet all the lender’s other criteria.

    ‘For example, Aldermore, Kent Reliance and Precise Mortgages allow borrowing to 85.

    ‘A few of the smaller, regional building societies do not have a stated maximum age limit but they may limit the term depending on the applicant’s age.’

    Mr Harris explained that less stringent regulation was only one reason why lenders were more prepared to accept older landlord borrowers than they were to accept older owner-occupiers. ‘Getting a buy-to-let mortgage should be easier for an older borrower than obtaining a residential loan because the income of the property should not fall when the landlord retires, as it might if they were leaving their main employment,” he said.

    ‘Proving retirement income can be tricky but projecting rental income should be much easier.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    30th March 2015
  • Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said that Government schemes aimed at first time buyers, including the Help to Buy ISA announced in the Budget, could increase appetite for homes. ‘The lack of inflation, and talk of an interest rate cut rather than a rise, could have an impact on people’s inclination to take on new debt,’ Mr Harris said. ‘With lots of capacity in the market, as lenders such as HSBC and Tesco look to boost their offering via brokers, mortgage rates are likely to remain extremely competitive in the months to come.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    30th March 2015
  • Brokers believe mortgages will stay lower for longer now that inflation has dropped to zero, meaning that the housing market looks increasingly bright this spring. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘This is arguably the best year ever for remortgaging in terms of the rates available, with all lenders reducing their fixed-rate deals.
    ‘Longer-term fixes have proved popular because they have been so cheap; some lenders have introduced ten-year fixes at less than 3 per cent, although high early repayment charges mean these products often don’t suit borrowers once they look into them in more detail. There was speculation earlier this year that two-year fixes would dip below 1 per cent and five-year deals below 2 per cent, but rising swap rates have meant this hasn’t happened.
    ‘It is unlikely now that we will see fixed rates fall this low. That said, there are still some amazing fixed rates available and any borrower who takes one out now is unlikely to regret their decision as they are historically very good value.’
    Mr Anderson recommends Halifax’s five-year fix, with a rate of 2.19 per cent at 60 per cent LTV plus a £999 fee, and Yorkshire Building Society’s 1.18 per cent two-year fix at 65 per cent, the cheapest on the market.

    The Times

    28th March 2015
  • When choosing a riverfront property, do choose carefully if you are seeking value. In parts of the West Country a spate of floods in recent years has made buyers wary of being near rivers, says Robin Gould of the buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘The premium has gone for any old house near water and if the house has been flooded, you are looking at a discount. This is the first question asked by buyers as insurers won’t touch it otherwise.’

    The Times

    27th March 2015
  • Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said low mortgage rates are likely to be around for a while yet. He said that with Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation at 0 per cent, a rise in the Bank of England base rate from its current 0.5 per cent level this year is ‘highly unlikely and could even have been pushed back for 18 months to two years’. Mr Harris said: ”The good news for borrowers is that rates are likely to be very competitive over (the) coming months.’

    The Daily Mail

    26th March 2015
  • Although most agents agree that the Chilterns has no equivalent to the Cotswolds hotspot of the ‘Daylesford triangle’, the two standout areas are the valleys of Hambleden and Stonor. According to James Shaw of buying agency Prime Purchase (01608 810662), Hambleden—where Band of Brothers and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were filmed—is where you pay a premium as it’s the first real bit of countryside you reach as you head out of London. He particularly recommends The Quince Tree farm shop in Stonor.

    Country Life

    25th March 2015
  • Several big lenders have limited the size of loans relative to borrowers’ salaries. For example, Santander lends up to 4.49 times a first-time buyer’s income, compared with 5 times for other borrowers. This multiple applies to both single and joint incomes.

    Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘It is tough being a first-time buyer. Income multiples are the biggest hurdle, with several lenders discriminating against them. It is all very well having a bigger deposit, and the Help to Buy Isa will assist with this, but you still need the income to get the mortgage you require. The government has demonstrated that it misunderstands the hurdles faced by first-time buyers. Credit scoring is trickier for them as it is much harder for borrowers with a low deposit.’

    The Sunday Times

    22nd March 2015
  • Finding a big enough deposit remains the biggest barrier to first-time buyers, particularly in London and the southeast, says Jonathan Harris, of Anderson Harris. ‘If the bank of mum and dad is drafted in a ‘gifted’ deposit sits better with a lender than a loan, as the latter will affect how much the child can borrow. Repayments will be factored into their affordability.’ Most lenders will want to see a letter from parents contributing to a deposit confirming that no payback is required, and that the parents have no rights or charge over the property.

    Charlie Wells, of buying agency Prime Purchase, has been putting £50 a month into a savings account for his four-year old daughter since birth. He is now transferring it to a riskier investment fund to generate a decent return over the next 20 years to provide a deposit for when she’s ready to buy a home.

     

    The Times

    21st March 2015
  • Mortgage lending fell by 9 per cent in February, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jonathan Harris, of broker Anderson Harris, said the seasonal drop in lending was exacerbated by the upcoming general election. ‘Many buyers and vendors are taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude. At least after May there will be certainty, and borrowers can make decisions fully armed with the facts.’

    The Financial Times

    20th March 2015
  • Budget 2015: The prime property industry’s reactions

    Charlie Wells, Managing Director, Prime Purchase

    ‘Rolling out ultrafast broadband to rural areas will make a huge difference to many people. All of our clients want to work from home and getting fast broadband access by other means is incredibly expensive. The move will help rural businesses.

    ‘Assistance for first-time buyers is extremely welcome. There is always someone at the bottom of a chain who can slow the whole process down or even derail the deal if they can’t get the funding they need so making it easier for first-time buyers will benefit all homeowners.

    ‘It is important that people have the ability to own their own home. If you don’t start building equity in property early on as you move up the housing ladder, you are at a disadvantage. It means you will be priced out further and this could have knock-on consequences for the rest of your life.’

    PrimeResi

    18th March 2015
  • Budget 2015: The prime property industry reacts
    Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘It is good news that first-time buyers will get government assistance with their deposit but it would have been better if the announcement had come hand in hand with detailed plans to build more houses. There is a danger that giving first-time buyers assistance with a deposit will only push up house prices further.

    ‘It is great news that accounts are limited to one per person rather than per home as many first-time buyers are couples so this will boost their deposit further.Some might question whether the £450,000 limit in London will be enough but it is important that there is a limit on the scheme and that ambitions are kept within realistic parameters.

    ‘The big issue however, is that even if a first-time buyer can get together a deposit, there is no guarantee that they will be able to get a mortgage. Tighter rules under the mortgage market review mean many people who shouldn’t be struggling to get a mortgage are doing so and this requires government intervention.’

    PrimeResi

    18th March 2015
  • First-time buyers have been given a generous boost by the Chancellor in the Budget with a Help to Buy Isa. Jonathan Harris, of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is good news that first-time buyers will get Government assistance with their deposit. The big issue, however, is that even if a if a first-time buyer can get together a deposit, there is no guarantee that they will be able to get a mortgage. Tighter rules under the mortgage market review mean many people who shouldn’t be struggling to get a mortgage are doing so and this requires Government intervention.’

    Zoopla

    18th March 2015
  • Mortgage lenders are abandoning older borrowers in a move described as ‘real ageism’ by a government adviser. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Lenders may not yet have got to grips with the likelihood of borrowers using pension pots to pay off mortgages.’

    The Sunday Times

    15th March 2015
  • For most young people, owning a property is a pipe dream but there are still ways to get on the housing ladder. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Saving for a deposit is hard when property prices keep rising, particularly in London. Increasingly, we are seeing people buy with friends, partners or siblings to make the mortgage more affordable.

    ‘For example, we have a brother and sister buying a two-bedroom flat in Brixton, south London. Their father is providing a hefty deposit of £150,000 and they are still having to borrow the absolute maximum to secure the flat.’

    The Sunday Times

    15th March 2015
  • Swap rates — the wholesale rates that determine the cost of fixed home loans — have been climbing since February, and lenders are now beginning to react. ‘Be prepared for more moves at short notice,’ says a spokesman for SPF Private Clients, a broker. ‘We’ve seen several lenders re-price upwards already — Woolwich and Coventry to name two — while others have pulled rates and not replaced them.’

    The Times

    14th March 2015
  • Five-year swaps have gone up from 1.09 per cent in mid-January to 1.52 per cent this week. Two-year swap rates rose from 0.7 to 0.94 per cent over the same period, according to data from broker SPF Private Clients. Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Some lenders are looking to gain a bit more margin, after months of offering rock-bottom rates. Others are looking to preserve service levels: if they don’t raise rates in response to other lenders doing so, those with the cheapest rates will be inundated with business and may struggle to cope.’

    The Financial Times

    14th March 2015
  • The majority of lenders will only grant a mortgage to your planned retirement date. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The ageist attitude being taken by lenders is a result of their interpretation of the MMR [mortgage market review] guidelines. Given that the average age of a first-time buyer is now 37, it is all rather worrying as it doesn’t leave much time to get a mortgage paid off before retirement.’

    The Guardian

    14th March 2015
  • Can I put solicitor fees and stamp duty on a credit card to protect my deposit? Christian Hinzpeter, at broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘You will have to declare where the money to pay the deposit and fees is coming from, even if a credit card is taken out after the application has been submitted to the lender.

    ‘If the deposit is coming from a credit card, even though you may have a 0 per cent card, the bank will ignore that and work out your commitments based on its own assumption of the interest rate and that can be as high as 3 per cent per month  –  36 per cent a year. 

    ‘This means that on a balance of £10,000 it will assume a commitment of about £300 per month. This will in turn reduce the total amount you can borrow on the mortgage.

    ‘Different banks have different calculations so although your overall affordability could be reduced, you should still be able to get a mortgage for the required amount. 

    ‘Lenders can check any changes in the application prior to completion so if you do not disclose all your credit commitments on application, the lender can in extreme cases withdraw the mortgage offer even after you have exchanged, which would put your money at risk.’

    This is Money

    13th March 2015
  • Call in the professionals: a guide to Aussie Man & Van‘s removal services

    Who? A London based removal company which operates throughout the UK and Europe. After trading for more than 12 years, the fleet continues to grow with an average of 300 homes and offices moved every week.

    In their own words: ‘We take pride in maintaining a fleet of modern vehicles in good condition to assure that your valuable possessions are safe in transit. We make moving in London hassle-free for you.’

    How much? For a quote call 020 3405 2000 or visit manandvan.biz. The Man and Van service is available seven days a week from 7 am. Customers are charged by the hour, by the day or through a specific quote (according to preference) and you can also choose the number of men and vehicles accordingly.

    The Evening Standard

    13th March 2015
  • How to buy before the election: ‘Follow opportunities by making an approach at the right time,’ says Charlie Wells of the buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘Look out for the ‘Four Ds’: death, debt, divorce and disaster, which often cause people to sell.’

    The Times

    6th March 2015
  • A professional property buyer can save you money.

    Finding a keen seller should be your top priority, says Guy Meacock of Prime Purchase. ‘Even when it seems like a buyers’ market, don’t be fooled: you won’t automatically get 20 per cent wiped off the asking price.’ A buying agent will be able to do this much more easily because of longstanding relationships with local businesses, but there are still things you can do yourself.

    The Times

    6th March 2015
  • Since new mortgage affordability rules were introduced, banks are only prepared to lend where they are certain that mortgages will be affordable when rates start to rise. Older applicants are often refused mortgages because they have to prove their retirement income from state pension age. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Many lenders insist that the mortgage is paid off by the age of 65 or 70, depending on their criteria. So if you are taking out a mortgage in your fifties, the term might have to be shorter than you would like. This will affect affordability as you will have to pay the loan back more quickly than you otherwise might have done, significantly increasing your monthly payments.
    ‘Increasingly, many lenders are using 65 as the applicant’s retirement age, which makes little sense when the state retirement age is rising and most people will work on beyond this age.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    6th March 2015
  • Charlie Wells of buying agency Prime Purchase, said the looming election would likely put off some buyers who fear making any investment before more certainty returns.

    CityAM

    5th March 2015
  • Iconic streets: Wimpole Street

    ‘As beautiful and impressive as the houses here may be, the lack of internal lifts and planning inflexibility hampers their desirability but makes for good value,’ says Jazmin Atkins of buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘A fair amount of land is owned by the Crown and De Walden Estates, which means freeholds are few and far between. But this makes for continuity. The unchanging nature of doorways, staircases and rooflines is still in evidence.

    ‘Those rare freehold units that do come up for sale can be found on the quieter northern end nearer Regent’s Park,’ Atkins adds. The rest, if not medical premises, are divided into apartments – but they lose little of their grand dimensions.

    The London Magazine

    3rd March 2015
  • What is the meaning of luxury? Guy Meacock of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘Having a property in prime central London costs so much money, it could alone be the very definition of luxury. For many overseas buyers, owning such a property provides them with a passport to the premier league.’

    The London Magazine

    2nd March 2015
  • March sees the launch of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme. Paul Frost of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘pumping more into the economy will make Europeans feel richer and more secure, which may persuade them to invest in property – and not just on the Continent, they may decide they can afford to buy and live in London.’

    The London Magazine

    2nd March 2015
  • The remortgaging market is picking up. ‘While we expect house purchases in the capital to be subdued in the first half of this year until election uncertainty is out of the way, lenders are aggressively going after the remortgage market,’ says Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Times

    27th February 2015
  • House prices rose 1.3 per cent in January, according to the Land Registry. Guy Meacock, of buying agency Prime Purchase, said: ‘After five years of strong house-price growth, there is plenty of uncertainty, with the forthcoming general election, possible mansion tax and an interest rate rise next year – all of these mean that the next six months is likely to be an improving market for buyers.’

    This is Money

    27th February 2015
  • ‘The volume of transactions in London has slowed with a general election looming and the property market adjusting to the increases in stamp duty. With so much uncertainty, we are not expecting any growth in London values this year but for the first time since 2009 it is a buyer’s market,’ said buying agent, Paul Pavlides from Prime Purchase.

    The Daily Telegraph

    25th February 2015
  • Buying agency Prime Purchase expands its London team by hiring a key member of Foxtons’ sales team. Paul Pavlides joins the buying agency from the flagship Mayfair branch after a eight-year stint. The prime central and northwest London specialist’s appointment bolsters an already-robust offering in the capital, headed up by Guy Meacock and including Jazmin Atkins and James Watts. Charlie Wells of Prime Purchase: ‘We are delighted to welcome Paul to the team at a very exciting time for Prime Purchase, one of the largest and most experienced buying teams in the business.’

    PrimeResi

    25th January 2015
  • Even if you pay a penalty for leaving a fixed-rate deal early, you might still be better off paying it. Everyone should be looking at their mortgage. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Anyone on their lender’s SVR should be considering the alternatives — you’d be unlucky not to get a lower rate. You shouldn’t be greedy, hanging on in the hope that rates will fall further; they might not, and in the meantime, you will be overpaying.’

    The Sunday Times

    22nd February 2015
  • My first Million: Anthony Ward Thomas, removals entrepreneur

    The Financial Times ran a profile of Anthony, who founded Ward Thomas Removals in 1985.

    The Financial Times

    21st February 2015
  • Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said lenders are busy competing for business as they are ‘keen to get off to a good start’ in early 2015 as the looming general election adds an element of uncertainty as to what will happen in the market later this year. He said: ‘While January and February can traditionally be quiet times for the housing market, lenders are keeping busy undercutting each other on mortgage deals. Rates are astonishingly low, and yet lenders continue to reduce them.’

    This is Money

    19th February 2015
  • Homeowners looking for a mortgage and young people getting their first loans can choose between some of the cheapest mortgage deals in history. However, you must look beyond the headline mortgage rate and evaluate the total cost of taking out the mortgage. Adrian Anderson, from broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘While mortgage rates are at record lows, often a cheap rate carries an expensive sting in the tail with a very high fee.’

    The Sunday Times

    15th February 2015
  • The regulator made it clear that it wanted a transitional period during which existing customers would not be subject to tighter affordability tests but this is not happening. Adrian Anderson, from broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The client’s track record does not stand for anything. Tighter criteria are strangling the market.’

    The Sunday Times

    15th February 2015
  • Santander this week tightened its mortgage affordability rules for first-time buyers, constraining borrowers to 4.49 times their salary, down from 5 times. This follows Barclays, which did the same thing overnight. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘This affects transactions in progress where the application has not been formally submitted so brokers are having to go back to clients to tell them they can no longer borrow as much as they thought.’

    The Financial Times

    14th February 2015
  • Mortgage deals are hitting record lows as lenders compete against each other to have the cheapest rates. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, bemoaned the fact that most of the good deals are only offered to those with decent equity in their home. ‘While mortgage rates are at record lows and could go lower still, what would be more useful is if lenders eased criteria instead. The best rates are only available to those with big deposits, and since the new lending rules under the Mortgage Market Review were introduced in April 2014, some borrowers have found it very tricky to get a mortgage, such as older applicants.

    ‘It is not right that those who are a good credit risk are struggling to get funding as lenders interpret the regulator’s rules too strictly.’

    The Independent

    13th February 2015
  • The number of homes repossessed in the UK last year reached its lowest level since 2006, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders revealed today. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Repossessions continue to fall, while the number of borrowers in arrears has also declined. This is to be expected with rock-bottom interest rates and improving employment numbers, as well as lenders prepared to be flexible and show forbearance.
    ‘However, there are still tens of thousands of home-owners being repossessed each year, which begs the question: what will happen when interest rates do start to rise? How will people cope? We suspect that when it comes to their finances, there are many people teetering on a knife-edge and rate rises could easily push them over.
    ‘Interest rate rises are inevitable at some point. When they come, they must do so gradually. Thankfully, the Bank of England has suggested that this will be the case,’ he added.

    This is Money

    12th February 2015
  • The number of people who fell behind with their mortgage repayments or had their home repossessed last year feel to the lowest level in eight years, according to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, saidthere was a concern about how some people would cope with rate rises. ‘We suspect that when it comes to their finances there are many people teetering on a knife edge and rate rises could easily push them over.’

    The Guardian

    12th February 2015
  • First-time buyers are being denied the cheapest mortgage deals as banks penalise young borrowers for wanting to start a family. Adrian Anderson, of broker Anderson Harris, said 80 per cent of homebuyers with small deposits were being denied the best rate.

    The Times

    12th February 2015
  • There may never be a better time to buy a house. Charlie Wells, of buying agency Prime Purchase, said the “bounceback” was due to the Chancellor’s stamp duty reforms in December. ‘With interest rates unlikely to rise this year, those reliant on a mortgage will find it is a good time to buy,” he said. “This will particularly benefit first-time buyers and stretched young families trying to move up the housing ladder.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    10th February 2015
  • Lenders are slashing buy-to-let rates and relaxing lending terms as the ‘mortgage rate war’ spreads from the mainstream market. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘With lenders aggressively competing for business, there are more buy-to-let mortgages available with increasingly relaxed criteria and lower rates – all providing a further boost to an already-popular sector.

    ‘The best rates remain available to those with the biggest deposits, while landlords are increasingly opting for fixed-rate mortgages to provide more certainty and help with budgeting.

    ‘While it is easier to get into buy-to-let now then it was five years ago, it is still harder than it was before the downturn. Lenders have learnt their lesson and are being more cautious.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    10th February 2015
  • What makes a perfect pied à terre? Jazmin Atkins of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘A pied à terre would typically be a studio or one-bedroom apartment; a normal flat could be larger. You need to look for three things in a pied à terre. Location: it needs to be near your work, or near a Tube station that is close to your work (the term means “foot on the ground”). Being close to shops is also essential. Functionality: it’s a residence for sleeping and eating rather than entertaining. And size: it has to be small and easy to maintain. There’s a difference between a work pied à terre and a holiday pied à terre. The latter might be slightly larger in order to house more family members rather than just the working person. You would expect to pay anywhere between £300,000-£500,000. Anything more than £500,000 and you can start to enter the two-bedroom market.’

    The London Magazine

    February 2015
  • If you are frustrated by the paltry interest rate on your savings account but do not want to take any risks with your cash, an option is to get creative with your mortgage. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘If you have a substantial amount of cash earning next to nothing in the way of interest, it makes sense to overpay on your mortgage once you have cleared more expensive debts, such as credit cards or personal loans. This is particularly true if the rate of interest on your mortgage is higher than the one on your savings after tax.’

    The Sunday Times

    8th February 2015
  • The cost of borrowing is falling so fast that homebuyers taking out the best deals could save thousands of pounds compared with a year ago. Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Even though we know it is coming, it will still be truly astonishing when it happens. With Barclays launching its lowest ever five-year fix at 2.29 per cent and Virgin Money launching a five-year deal pegged at 2.24 per cent, we are edging ever closer to a five-year fix below 2 per cent.’

    ‘Historically these rates are so low that you wouldn’t regret fixing now,’ said Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris.

    The Times

    7th February 2015
  • A property with land, paddocks or offices, is likely to be subject to a reduction in stamp duty of up to 8 per cent. Frank Speir, of buying agency Prime Purchase, recently helped a client to save £93,000 on a £2.5 million purchase by going down the mixed use route. He says: ‘The stamp duty changes have sent a shock wave through the housing market. However, the changes won’t affect the country market in the same way as they will hit London. Our clients have either changed their brief or stated that they would like a house with land so that it will qualify as mixed use. This results in a much lower rate of stamp duty — 4 per cent — as opposed to a top rate of 12 per cent on anything north of £1.5 million sold on a purely residential basis. There will be much more competition for country houses with land going forward.’

    His colleague Charlie Wells agrees. ‘We’ve been highlighting the opportunity to our clients more and more, in recent years, especially since the stamp duty changes came into force in December. It’s paramount that you have a lawyer look into the specifics, but if a property has a genuine agricultural element — however small — a 2.5-acre paddock with an agricultural holdings number, for example, then it could be eligible for a lower stamp duty payment designed for mixed use properties.’

    Wells bought seven properties last year, but buyers only paid full residential duty on one of them. ‘A typical client is moving out of London and has two million quid for a nice house. They want land around them for privacy and protection. Five to ten acres, let’s say. They are delighted when we point out that the area on the land registry map marked as an official paddock may help them qualify for mixed use.’

    The Times

    6th February 2015
  • A mortgage rate war has broken out among the banks. Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Lenders are keen to advance more money this year and they’re cutting their prices to attract customers. Banks will hope to make money by selling customers other products such as current accounts and credit cards.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    6th February 2015
  • A mortgage rate war has seen the average home loan drop by £1,700 in just four days. Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Lenders are keen to advance more money this year and they’re cutting their prices to attract customers. Banks will hope to make money by selling customers other products such as current accounts and credit cards.’

    The Daily Mail

    6th February 2015
  • Guy Meacock, of buying agency Prime Purchase, agreed that a mansion tax on £2m plus homes, one of Labour’s flagship proposals, is ‘an issue’. ‘Labour just don’t think these things through,” he said. “It’s a vote winner and the politicisation of property. It’s rich-bashing.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    4th February 2015
  • The Land Registry found that prices went up 0.6 per cent in December. Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The Land Registry is just the latest index to show that house-price growth is slowing and with the BBA pointing to a dip in lending as well, the market is definitely more subdued. That said, the CML pointed out that 2014 was the best year for mortgage lending since 2008 and while we expect the housing market to be quieter over the next few months, we still predict lending in the region of £215billion for the year, compared with £205billion last year.’

    Guy Meacock of buying agency Prime Purchase, explains that ‘within London the boroughs are behaving quite differently. Kensington and Chelsea saw a monthly drop of 0.6 per cent, for example, while Newham and Hillingdon saw rises of 1.6 and 1.5 per cent respectively.’

    This is Money

    29th January 2015
  • The number of first-time buyers plummeted in November, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. ‘The deposit remains the biggest barrier to first-time buyers getting on the housing ladder,’ notes Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘The best thing they can do is save, save, save, and ask for help. Some parents are acting as guarantors, making them responsible for the mortgage payments if their child defaults.
    ‘The lender will want to see evidence that the parent can afford their child’s mortgage, as well as their own. But with lenders reducing the maximum age at which they are prepared to lend, some parents are deemed too old to meet their criteria, and are refused permission to act as a guarantor.’

    The Independent on Sunday

    25th January 2015
  • Lenders cut their mortgage rates again this week, with brokers expressing surprise at the move. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘With the Monetary Policy Committee now unanimous that interest rates should not rise at the present time, the markets are not pricing in a rate rise until towards the end of next year. So why fix if interest rates aren’t going up in the short term? The main reason is that they are just too good to miss.
    ‘In reality they can’t go much lower, with lenders more likely to focus on easing criteria this year instead. And if you are on a tight budget, certainty is always welcome.
    ‘However, don’t fix for longer than you are absolutely sure about. Ten-year fixes have never been popular because they have been expensive and carry hefty early repayment charges [ERCs] if you wish to exit before the fixed period comes to an end.
    ‘The rates have fallen but you still need to look out for the ERCs.’

    The Times

    24th January 2015
  • Guy Meacock, of buying agency Prime Purchase, gives his expert view on the various house-price indices. He says: ‘Buyers and sellers should retain a healthy dose of scepticism when looking at house-price indices. You should be distrustful because the range of numbers they come up with is so varied. Part of this is because the underlying data and what is being measured differs considerably. Some are regionally led, some record sales statistics, others show mortgages taken out with a particular lender. The range is so massive that it should discourage people from believing in them too strongly.

    ‘We would lean towards any official body that produced an index, such as RICS, rather than some of the less rigorous organisations. It is worth remembering however that even professional bodies such as the Land Registry don’t include transactions bought in trust names or corporate entities, as many of these are not recorded. It makes me laugh when certain streets are pointed out as the most expensive in London, as we know this is not the case. The agent is often talking about one particular deal which has skewed the figures. Ultimately it is not very well researched analysis.’

    The Times

    21st January 2015
  • Household spending in Guernsey is increasing faster than income, according to a new survey. Pierre Blampied, of broker SPF Private Clients Guernsey, said: ‘The percentage of income going towards a mortgage is far greater than it used to be. People tend to live beyond their means. It doesn’t surprise me that people are eating into their savings.’

    BBC News

    16th January 2015
  • Investors are capitalising on bumper rental returns fuelled by people forced to rent for longer by escalating house prices and stricter lending rules. Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients, said it was ‘no real surprise’ that buy-to-lending was growing, with the attractive potential returns on offer for investors compared with savings accounts – which are paying ‘pitiful’ rates of interest. He said: ‘Of course, the resurgence of buy-to-let does have an impact on first-time buyers, with many competing for the same entry-level properties.’

    The Daily Mail

    15th January 2015
  • UK homeowners that hold a mortgage in Swiss francs will see their monthly repayments shoot up after the country’s central bank abandoned its currency peg to the euro. The prevalence of multi-currency mortgages has fallen since the recession, according to Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Five or six years ago it was fashionable to hold a multi-currency mortgage – people were after an angle and getting creative. But lots of people lost money through them,’ he said. While many have now unravelled these structures, some will “catch a cold today” and may pay a penalty to switch currency, Mr Harris explained.

    The Daily Telegraph

    15th January 2015
  • Lending to landlords is up 9pc over the year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘While the number of first-time buyers, those moving and remortgaging has fallen compared with November last year, buy-to-let goes from strength to strength. This is no real surprise with savings accounts paying pitiful rates, demand from tenants for rental property strong and lenders cutting buy-to-let rates.’

     

    The Daily Telegraph

    14th January 2015
  • Are you too busy finding that perfect house? If so, you should recruit a buying agent. ‘We kick off with a run through of available properties,’ explains Charlie Wells, of buying agency Prime Purchase. This allows the buying agent to understand exactly what the client wants, where and at what price range. ‘I also look at the “home team” – the solicitor, accountant, even a landscape architect and a planning consultant if necessary. It’s all about getting the right people so that you fast track your client and put them in the strongest position possible,’ explains Wells.

    Country & Town House

    January 2015
  • Could mortgage rates fall any further? Some think yes. ‘While fixed rates are astonishingly low there is always the potential that they could fall even lower,’ says Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. However, he adds that borrowers should not be greedy and that fixing now is probably the best choice for someone worried about rising rates. ‘Fixing for ten years at 2.99 per cent is unlikely to be a decision you regret, unless of course you need to get out of the mortgage before the end of the fixed period and have to pay a penalty to do so. There is no guarantee that rates will go lower and you don’t want to take chances with your mortgage.’

    The Times

    10th January 2015
  • Bath Building Society offers a ‘Buy for Uni’ product to help students purchase a buy-to-let property while they are studying.  Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris says: ‘The initial pay rate is 5.04%, and as it is discounted from the standard variable rate, it will go up when interest rates rise. While the rate isn’t cheap, there aren’t many lenders who will lend against student accommodation, so it is the price you pay. If parents are going to consider a lender taking a legal charge over their property, it might be worth taking out a more conventional mortgage at much more attractive terms, assuming they qualify for them.’

    The Guardian

    10th January 2015
  • Tougher rules on mortgage lending are causing problems for wealthy home buyers after private banks tightened their assessment processes, brokers have warned. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘On the private banking side, between 10 and 20 per cent of our clients are struggling to get their loans through. Another 30 per cent are having difficulty, but we will get it done.’ He added: ‘Those [private banks] that are owned by the larger banks are more likely to have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. But even some smaller ones all of a sudden have a diktat from the FCA that they need to have a policy on affordability. They’re having difficulty fitting the clients into the structure.’

    The Financial Times

    10th January 2015
  • Can you still make money from your home? Guy Meacock, a director at buying agency Prime Purchase, says doing up a property tends to take longer than most people think and costs a lot more. ‘You should set up a contingency fund of at least 10% to 15%, as you will inevitably overrun your initial budget.’

    Moneywise

    7th January 2015
  • A mortgage rate war has broken out among banks. Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Lenders are keen to advance more money this year and they’re cutting their prices to attract customers. Banks will hope to make money by selling customers other products such as current accounts and credit cards.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    6th February 2015
  • The Financial Conduct Authority has urged borrowers denied mortgages on the grounds of age to turn to brokers and specialist lenders. But Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris warned: ‘There is a risk these lenders may get swamped with applications and will not be able to process loans.’

    The Sunday Times

    4th January 2015
  • The work of removal men is tough and dangerous. However, even the professionals don’t get it right every time. Anthony Ward Thomas, who owns Ward Thomas Removals, recalls moving a London family to Devon. ‘I got down there and told the client I had good news for them — I’d brought the cat. They then said they had bad news for me— they didn’t own a cat.’

    The Sunday Times

    4th January 2015
  • When the base rate rises, tracker mortgage rates will increase in line and it is likely that standard variable rates and new fixed rates will go up too. In fact, non-tracker rates are expected to increase before any rate rise. Adrian Anderson, of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Banks are one step ahead and if a base rate rise looks imminent most would have already priced this in by the time it happens.’

    Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘If you are on a base-rate tracker you are currently benefiting from low rates but if you’re worried about rate rises, five-year fixed rates are still available for less than 3 per cent. Lenders are still competing, so good rates should be available for a while. However, it is worth fixing while you can as you do not want to play Russian roulette with your mortgage.’

    Guy Meacock of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘After five years of strong house price growth there is currently plenty of uncertainty, with the forthcoming general election, a continuing question mark over a possible Labour mansion tax and the potential interest rate rise. These factors mean that during the next six to nine months it is likely to be an improving market for those buying.’

    The Times

    3rd January 2015
  • Greenwich is on the up, according to Jazmin Atkins from buying agency Prime Purchase, due to its illustrious history, wide-ranging transport links (including City airport) and new units from around £650 sq ft. ‘It makes complete sense to the City worker and frequent traveller.’

    Telegraph Luxury

    30th December 2014
  • House price growth in Britain slowed to its most sluggish pace of the year this December as stricter mortgage rules, designed to temper the London property market, have stifled the rest of the UK as well. tThere is growing evidence of a slowdown in the housing market, with tougher criteria as a result of the mortgage market review now really having an impact,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Daily Telegraph

    30th December 2014
  • Experts said the Mortgage Market Review had put the brakes on the housing market. Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The changes to stamp duty should provide a modest fillip in the spring but we expect uncertainty around the general election to keep the housing market fairly subdued until after May.’

    The Evening Standard

    23rd December 2014
  • The Council of Mortgage Lenders recorded a 9 per cent fall in the £18.6bn borrowed this November on the previous month.
    Dampened demand for new homes was reflected in fewer people applying for mortgages, as well as the more stringent criteria. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said he expects a “boost” to lending in the new year with interest rate rises delayed until the second half of 2015 and more competitive deals flooding the market to tempt borrowers.

    The Daily Telegraph

    19th December 2014
  • Profile of Anthony Ward Thomas, who started his eponymous removals company in 1985. He has just sold a stake to private equity, rather than pass onto his children. ‘Removals is my bag, not theirs, and I don’t believe in automatic succession,’ says Anthony Ward Thomas. ‘The business can fail quite badly when it goes wrong. When they have different interests it’s welcome, because there should be no divine right that they get the business,’ he says.

    ‘People who have worked hard in the company for years deserve a go more than offspring sometimes. It’s wrong to just hand your children your business just like it’s wrong to hand them a load of money. It destroys their ambition.’

    The Times

    16th December 2014
  • The annual rise in UK house prices slowed in October, official figures show. ‘There is still momentum in the market although it is definitely slowing,’ said Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients.

    BBC News

    16th December 2014
  • The Sunday Times has been inundated with stories from readers who feel unfairly discriminated against because of their age. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘The ageist attitude being taken by lenders is a result of their interpretation of the MMR guidelines. Until the regulator clarifies its position, or lenders become more sensible in their interpretation, nothing will change.’

    The Sunday Times

    14th December 2014
  • What will happen to base rate next year? Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, the mortgage broker, says: ‘When rates do start to rise, they will do so slowly, with quarter-point rises taking it to 2 per cent for the medium term, so there’s no need to panic.’

    The Times

    13th December 2014
  • Young professionals are relying more and more on the bank of mum and dad (or relatives and friends) for financial help. If your parents want to help but can’t afford to give you the money, there are other options. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘You can use a product such as Barclays’ Family Springboard mortgage. The buyer pays a 5 per cent deposit, with the parents or grandparents placing 10 per cent of the purchase price in savings with the lender; after three years they get their money back, and they receive interest in the meantime. The mortgage rate is just 2.99 per cent fixed for three years with no fees, far cheaper than other 95 per cent rates.’

    The Times

    6th December 2014
  • Property professionals have voiced their concerns that should Labour win the general election, Ed Miliband will bring in mansion tax on top of the new stamp duty regime. ‘It really will be a case of killing the golden goose. Politicians simply don’t understand the amount of money that comes into the UK from wealthy foreigners buying property in London and the south east,’ said Hugo Thistlethwayte of buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘Meddling with further taxes will sabotage that and affect all the builders, decorators and others who benefit through property changing hands. It makes the whole thing unsustainable and these buyers will go elsewhere.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    5th December 2014
  • Britain’s newest mortgage lender says there is no reason why older borrowers should be denied loans on the grounds of age. The new rules could mean a borrower aged 46 would be barred from taking out a traditional 25-year mortgage. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Given that many first-time buyers are in their late 30s, it is all rather worrying. It doesn’t leave much time to get a mortgage paid off before retirement.’

    The Sunday Times

    30th November 2014
  • Borrowers have always paid a premium for the security of a fix but with the Bank of England base rate at a historic low of 0.5 per cent for five-and-a-half years now, fixed rates have plummeted. Twelve months ago pricing between low loan-to-value fixed rates and comparative trackers reached parity, says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, which made opting for a fix a “no brainer”.

    The Times

    29th November 2014
  • The small market town of Marlborough is emerging as something of a honeypot for the creative industry. ‘It has the ideal combination of being in proper countryside, but still accessible from London—it’s about as far west as anyone is prepared to go if they need to commute daily,’ says Charlie Wells of buying agency Prime Purchase, who used to live in nearby Ramsbury. ‘Although it’s in Wiltshire, it’s very much west-Berkshire orientated, by which I mean that people who live there are still London-centric. They use the capital on a regular basis.

    ‘Unlike many high streets in towns around the countryside that are undistinguished, with their replica chains of shops and cafes, Marlborough has its fair share of independent boutiques and with the High Street being so wide and long, it makes for a lovely place to promenade on a Saturday morning,’ he adds.

    Country Life

    29th November 2014
  • More parents will be forced to downsize their homes to help children onto the property ladder because of banks’ ageist lending policies. As a result, parents’ usual options are no longer available. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Relatively simple requests, such as extending a mortgage or acting as a guarantor to a child’s loan, are being rejected because lenders consider borrowers too old. Downsizing may be the only option. But downsizing can be hard. Not only do the parents move out of the family home into a smaller one; they may also have to move to a cheaper area to release as much money as possible.’

    The Sunday Times

    23rd November 2014
  • As fixed rates fall, with several lenders cutting rates every week, homeowners fixing now may be concerned that rates after Christmas could be even better. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris warned against waiting around, in case rates rise: ‘Most lenders have reduced their mortgage rates several times over the past three months, due to falling swap rates — the rate lenders pay to borrow money — and the pressure banks are under to do more business before the end of the year. The mortgage market review slowed things and the banks are playing catch-up. It is difficult to predict where swap rates will be after Christmas. If you can secure a cheap fixed rate now, you won’t regret it.’

    The Times

    22nd November 2014
  • Interest-only mortgages will make a comeback over the next two years as provides jostle for new business and fears of irresponsible lending recede under new regulations, brokers said. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The pendulum has swung too far against interest only. It’s a sensible concept for the right sort of borrowers and as long as someone has a considered repayment strategy in place, there is no reason why they shouldn’t utilise this option.’

    The Financial Times

    22nd November 2014
  • Mortgage lending has reached levels last seen in the aftermath of the housing market crash of 2008. ‘MMR had a bigger impact than anticipated,’ said Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris. ‘The regulators didn’t want it to prevent credit worthy people from borrowing but it had an effect across the board even impacting private bankers lending to clients.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    20th November 2014
  • House prices fell faster in London than anywhere else in Britain in September in the latest sign that the capital’s housing boom has come to a halt. Guy Meacock of buying agency Prime Purchase, said: ‘There are many opportunities for buyers this autumn. After five years of strong house price growth, there is plenty of uncertainty, with the forthcoming general election, possible mansion tax and an interest rate rise next year.’

    The Evening Standard

    19th November 2014
  • The high-end buy-to-let market is being hit by a prospective Mansion Tax, as investors move away from £2m-plus flats, especially in central London, where they are commonplace. ‘Buy-to-let investors won’t buy in the upper brackets because they’ll be hit by extra stamp duty and, potentially, a mansion tax,’ says Guy Meacock, director at the buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘Instead of, say, one £3m property, they might buy three at £1m each to escape these taxes.’

    The Sunday Times

    16th November 2014
  • Parents are being banned from helping their children onto the housing ladder because lenders consider them to be too old. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Lenders’ attitudes to older borrowers are making it almost impossible for parents to help their children onto the housing ladder. Unless they have tens of thousands of pounds sitting in a savings account that they can gift towards their child’s deposit, they won’t be able to help. It is particularly difficult where a parent has acted as a guarantor in the past but no longer meets the lender’s criteria because of age. Even when the child can afford the mortgage payments, if they don’t meet the lender’s affordability criteria, it can be an issue.’

    The Sunday Times

    16th November 2014
  • Treats are on offer for British homebuyers in the shape of super-cheap mortgage deals with interest rates as low as 0.99 per cent. But as Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris observes, applicants for such mortgages must also fit lenders’ ‘affordability model’.

    The Times

    14th November 2014
  • A drop in mortgage lending to first-time buyers signals a dip in confidence among those intending to buy a home, according to mortgage brokers. ‘This reflects the market generally, suggesting a growing lack of confidence among buyers,’ said Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris.

    BBC News

    11th November 2014
  • The number and value of mortgages taken out by home buyers reached its highest level since 2007 in the third quarter of the year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Despite the third quarter seeing the highest levels of house purchase since 2007, the number of first-time buyers slipped for the second consecutive month. This reflects the market generally with the number of home movers also falling.’

    The Guardian

    11th November 2014
  • Readers have told how draconian rules have stopped them changing their mortgages. Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘Transitional provisions in the MMR allow lenders to provide a new mortgage or a deal to customers with existing loans who may not meet the new MMR requirements for the loan, including for interest-only. However, in reality lenders are failing to do this.’

    The Sunday Times

    9th November 014
  • Experts say mortgage rates are set to fall even lower. ‘The trend shows no  signs of abating,’ says Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Evening Standard

    5th November 2014
  • Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris joined the panel on Money Box Live on BBC Radio Four taking calls from listeners on all aspects of mortgages. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04n601d

     

    BBC Radio Four Money Box

    5th November 2014
  • Interior design: 17 cool features to make your dream home

    Of course you need a media room. But how to make it stand out? Why not make it an outdoor media room? The basement of this three-floor apartment, in Belgravia, London SW1 (of course), has a 55in , iPhone-controlled TV, and an outdoor terrace. Price: £9m from London Rock Capital (020 7355 0096)

    The Daily Telegraph

    31st October 2014
  • The curbs on lending may have had less of an impact because the majority of people buying at auction are buying for investment purposes, using buy-to-let mortgages or bridging loans for quick turnaround refurbishments, neither of which fall under the new rules. Now buyers looking for a place to live are also turning to other forms of lending. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘For those buying a property to live in, we have seen an increase in bridging finance due to constraints on mainstream funding. This may partly be down to MMR but also the tightening of lending criteria for both residential and buy-to-let mortgages.’

    The Sunday Times

    31st October 2014
  • Property of the Day – Riverside Refurbishment, Hammersmith, from developer London Rock Capital.

    The Resident

    27th October 2014
  • Crossrail is kick-starting the regeneration that some areas desperately need. A great example is Tottenham Court Road, a relatively down-at-heel area. Crossrail will ‘breathe new life into the place’ anticipates Guy Meacock of Prime Purchase, the buying agency which is part of Savills. He says two good examples of regeneration are Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury, which had ‘fallen on hard times, occupied more by institutions than people.’

    Country and Town House

    October 2014
  • Britain’s lending giants have entered into a ‘rate war’ which means that it has never been cheaper to take out a mortgage. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Lenders are keen to boost business levels before the end of the year. A rate war is under way — and it is likely to hot up as lenders compete for business.’ Homebuyers should be wary of hesitating if they want to bag a super-cheap deal. Anderson said: ‘This could all come to an end in the new year, so borrowers shouldn’t be complacent and just expect rates to get cheaper and cheaper. However, if the housing market does not pick up, banks will still want to lend so it won’t be the end of attractive deals for borrowers.’

    The Sunday Times

    26th October 2014
  • Borrowers are watching mortgage rates fall as lenders continue to indulge in an unexpected price war. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘We wouldn’t rule out record low fixed rates, and even a five-year fix at 1.99 per cent, which would represent tremendous value for borrowers.’

    The Times

    25th October 2014
  • Brokers agree that now is a good time to check if it’s possible to secure a good rate. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Many borrowers are holding off from remortgaging because they have got used to interest rates at 0.5 per cent over the past five years and can’t see them moving up anytime soon. But while we may not see an interest rate rise for some months, if you wait until this is the case before moving on to a fixed-rate deal, it will be more expensive than securing a deal now.’

    The Times

    24th October 2014
  • House of the Day – Elegant London Apartment on the market with London Rock Capital

    Wall Street Journal

    21st October 2014
  • The housing market is ‘sitting on a plateau’ according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

    ‘Lenders who are behind target for the year as a result of the delays caused by the mortgage market review are cutting their fixed rates in order to catch up before the end of December, said Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘We expect this to continue as they look to develop a strong pipeline for next year.’

    BBC News

    20th October 2014
  • Millions of people in their sixties and seventies risk becoming trapped in their homes or being forced to downsize because banks are refusing them mortgages. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘We had two clients with substantial homes who were looking to buy smaller residences for retirement. Both needed to remortgage to raise the funds for the purchases and both were refused loans by banks on the basis of insufficient income to meet affordability requirements. We were able to resolve the issue by approaching a private bank. When it comes to porting, older borrowers will more often than not fail to meet the affordability requirements.’

    The Sunday Times

    19th October 2014
  • HSBC will cut mortgage rates to an ‘astonishing’ 0.99 per cent, a record low, igniting a price war that will reduce the cost of home loans by thousands of pounds. Mark Harris of mortgage brokerage SPF Private Clients said that gave the green light for lenders to reduce loan rates to new lows.

    The Daily Telegraph

    18th October 2014
  • About 1.6m first-time buyers could face their first-ever rise in mortgage payments amid growing concerns that interest rates could go up in the next few months, experts warn. Adrian Anderson at broker Anderson Harris advises borrowers to avoid fixing for any longer than necessary, as they may not be able to move their mortgage to a new home.

    The Sunday Times

    12th October 2014
  • Homeowners are being penalised by lenders who refuse to let them take their mortgages with them when moving to another property. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Any porting is subject to a whole new application and to the lender’s criteria at the time of porting, not at the time of the original application.’

    The Sunday Times

    12th October 2014
  • The challenger banks are shaking up the lending market. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘They have established themselves as an option for pretty much every mortgage case. They are always on the shortlist when you’re considering options for a client, no matter how complex or large the loan. Sometimes they fall short owing to lack of experience or teething problems but these issues should improve.’

    The Times

    11th October 2014
  • One of the busiest foraging seasons is upon us. Charlie Wells, director of buying agency Prime Purchase and search agent to millionaires, says that even high-pressured financiers want to reconnect with the land. Ever since Denmark’s Noma was named best restaurant in the world in 2010, seashore and forest finds have been on the most expensive menus.

    A prize ingredient can play a part in property purchases. ‘One seller said that he had particularly good Wiltshire truffles under a tree on his land but he wouldn’t say where they were until contracts were exchanged,’ says Charlie. ‘Another city dweller who kept bees on top of the office wanted a cottage with room for his hives. I found him a property and he has renamed it Beehive Cottage. I find that the more high-powered people are, the more they want to get back to nature.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    7th October 2014
  • Homeowners and first-time buyers face a bewildering choice when choosing a mortgage and using a broker will make the process run more smoothly. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Post MMR, the market is littered with complex criteria and restrictive lending rules. An independent broker will guide the borrower through this maze.’

    The Sunday Times

    5th October 2014
  • Across London’s prime residential property market a third of buyers are from overseas. The Russians, agents whisper, are used to getting exactly what they want. One installed a dog spa, complete with pooch massage table, in a Kensington pad. Another, says Jonathan Harris, of Mayfair broker Anderson Harris, ‘had his developer install ‘runway lights’ like you have on the floor of aeroplanes to mark an emergency exit in his apartment. He wanted them to come on in his bedroom at night when he nipped to the loo so he could find his way in the dark.’

    Their favoured postcodes are Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Mayfair, and the Russians like ‘more lateral buildings like the new-builds of Number One Kensington Gardens, One Hyde Park and the Lancasters’, says Hugo Thistlethwayte of buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘They want good communal facilities, such as pools, and are drawn to developments that have an integrated hotel, such as the Corinthian in Whitehall Place or One Hyde Park.’

    ‘Asian buyers tend to prefer developments close to landmarks such as Covent Garden or Trafalgar Square, and properties located near St James’s Palace or Green Park,’ says Rory Penn, partner of prime London agency VanHan. ‘As far as interior design is concerned, they prefer wide hallways, natural colours and clear aspects.’

    The Evening Standard

    3rd October 2014
  • British buyers are returning to the country house market. So where exactly are these buyers going? Charlie Wells, of the buying agency Prime Purchase, says that the most popular areas for those trading up are around the M3, M4 and the M40, which agents call “the wealth corridor”. Prep schools are often a big draw, private secondary schools less so. ‘By then it’s off to boarding school for many, so being close to the school isn’t such an issue,’ says Wells.

    ‘Over the past 12 to 18 months, the wealth gap between London and the countryside has been at its greatest,” he adds. “Many Londoners and ex-pats have tried to exploit the relative value of country property at this time, which has seen a resurgence of British buyers. It’s not that there are fewer foreign buyers necessarily, just that there has been more stock and more British buyers since things became a bit calmer and prime country property started to look like quite good value.’

    The Times

    3rd October 2014
  • Many borrowers are not preparing for an increase in interest rates. Mark Harris, chief executive of the mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said people taking out a mortgage now shouldn’t face difficulties as new rules introduced in April force lenders to “stress test” borrowers for their ability to cope with any future rate rises. But people who are already borrowers could face problems. ‘The Mortgage Market Review ensures that any borrower can afford their mortgage both now and in the future when interest rates rise,’ said Harris. ‘However, if you have had a mortgage for some years, you may have got used to cheap mortgage rates and not given any consideration as to what you will do when rates rise. The problem is that if you are overstretched now, the situation will only get worse.

    ‘If you would struggle to pay your mortgage when rates rise then a fixed rate is a sensible option. The good news is that there are some excellent rates available, with most people able to fix for five years at less than 3.5%. Looked at in a historical context, this is excellent value. He added: ‘Even if you don’t remortgage, if you can get into the habit of overpaying on your mortgage each month, you will pay it back more quickly and prepare yourself for the pain of higher monthly payments.’

    The Evening Standard

    30th September 2014
  • Mortgage lending is set to fall further over the next few months, as official statistics reveal that new loans to homebuyers have dropped again. But Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said that ‘as a business we had one of our best months’. This performance emphasised ‘the continued strength of the mainstream London property market in particular’.

    The Daily Telegraph

    29th September 2014
  • Accidental landlords may struggle to qualify for mortgage under tough new European rules. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is already harder than ever to get a buy-to-let mortgage and it is likely to become tougher still for accidental landlords. Buy-to-let mortgage rates may be cheap but the hoops landlords have to jump through to get these products, particularly in London with high-value, low-y8ieding properties, mean that many can’t take advantage. Tough affordability rules, which take into account a landlord’s own income, will make it hard for some to get the numbers to add up.’

    The Sunday Times

    28th September 2014
  • The Land Registry says the average house price in England and Wales is approaching its 2007 peak. ‘As far as the Land Registry is concerned, the London property market shows no signs of slowing,’ said Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Prices rose 2.7% in August and 21.6% over the year, giving an average property price of £476,000.’ He added: ‘While there may be a slowdown in the £2m-plus market regarding concerns about a mansion tax if Labour win the general election, the mainstream market motors along with borrowers taking advantage of cheap mortgage rates and an improving economy, which brings better job security.’

    The Guardian

    26th September 2014
  • This autumn has seen the launch of some outstanding country houses to the market. Hampshire-based Robin Gould of buying agency Prime Purchase is ‘genuinely surprised’ that, a year after its launch onto the market through Savills (01722 426880) at a guide price of £2.5m, charming Grade II*-listed The Manor House at Poynington, near Sherborne, Dorset, has yet to find a buyer. As with so many of the best houses that have seen deals collapse in the final stages this year, a sale was agreed early at well over the guide price, but then failed to proceed. By then, however, other interested parties had moved on to pastures new.

    Country Life

    25th September 2014
  • Buy-to-let home owners will have to pass tough new affordability tests that could result in tens of thousands of people being denied loans. Mark Harris, the chief executive of the mortgage broker, SPF Private Clients, said that the new system would bring extra costs. ‘The decision to regulate some buy-to-let loans but not others makes little sense and is bound to confuse borrowers,” he said. “Buy-to-let is an investment, whether the property was inherited, a let-to-buy or purchased independently, and should be treated as such. Regulation costs money and lenders are bound to pass these extra costs on to borrowers in the form of higher mortgage rates and heftier fees.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    25th September 2014
  • Raising a second mortgage on a house will become harder after the City watchdog said it would subject the niche product to more stringent rules. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris says: ‘Bringing second charge loans under the FCA’s remit will make it much tougher to get one . . . Anyone looking for a second charge loan as a last resort because they are short of cash is likely to be turned down.’

    The Financial Times

    25th September 2014
  • Buying a studio flat is fraught with problems. Broker Anderson Harris says that lenders who do not impose size restrictions are Santander, Nationwide, Woolwich and the Lloyds Banking Group brands (Halifax, BM Solutions, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland). If the studio is more than 30 sq m, NatWest and Leeds building society may also lend on it, and brokers Anderson Harris says to consider applying to Clydesdale, Kent Reliance and Metro Bank, too.

    The Observer

    21st September 014
  • The Council of Mortgage Lenders said that mortgage lending hit a six-year high in August. ‘As we move into autumn, lenders have one eye on their year-end figures and are ramping up their lending volumes to meet them,’ said Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Consequently, there are some excellent fixed-rates available over two and five years.’

    The Guardian

    18th September 2014
  • If you have a bit of cash to spare each month one of the best ways of putting it to work is to overpay your mortgage, says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris.’Say you had a £200,000 mortgage with a 25-year term 4 per cent and overpaid by, say, £50 per month, you would save £9,956 in total interest and clear your debt one year and 11 months early,’ he says.

    The Daily Express

    17th September 2014
  • UK house prices increased by 11.7 per cent in the year to July 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘ONS house prices tend to be more historic than other indices, revealing that there was no cooling in the housing market in July with house prices continuing to increase strongly. However, since then the temperature has definitely dropped as growing uncertainty with regard to the political climate and interest rates take the wind out of prospective buyers’ sails.’

    The Independent

    16th September 2014
  • Processing times vary between lenders. Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘Typically, smaller building societies do not have the IT systems, infrastructure or resource budgets of the high street giants, or purchasing power with large surveyors, so they may take longer to process an application. However, where smaller organisations win is through a manual, case-by-case approach to lending.’

    The Sunday Times

    14th September 2014
  • Competition in the mortgage market has intensified as lenders cut rates across a range of products. Mark Harris, chief executive of broker SPF Private Clients, said lenders typically came out with good deals after the summer break, partly to meet their end-of-year targets. ‘Lenders remain keen to increase their volumes and price is one way of doing that,’ he said.

    The Financial Times

    13th September 2014
  • Strict criteria introduced as part of the Mortgage Market Review are making it harder to get a mortgage. ‘If you have an interest-only mortgage, lenders will now want to see evidence of what repayment strategies you have in place,’ says Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Not all strategies are acceptable. Some lenders won’t allow sale of the property and are stricter on the maximum age of borrower they will lend to. Expenditure issues can also be a problem: commitments that may have been ignored previously, such as school fees, may now affect the amount you can borrow.’

    The Times

    13th September 2014
  • The number of mortgages handed to first-time buyers in a single month has reached its highest level since before the economic crisis, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘First-time buyers continue to return to the market, and in July took on the highest average loan size for a first-time buyer on record. While this may be cause for concern, the new mortgage rules should at least ensure that those mortgages are affordable both now – and in the future, when rates rise. However, borrowers still need to be cautious about the level of borrowing they are taking on and not overstretch themselves.’

    The Daily Mail

    11th September 2014
  • Borrowers must not be lulled into a false sense of security about interest rates, which are expected to rise early next year. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Borrowers still need to be cautious about the level of borrowing they are taking on and not overstretch themselves.’

    The Times

    11th September 2014
  • First-time buyers spent nearly 20pc of their monthly income servicing mortgage debt in July, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. ‘Borrowers need to be cautious about the level of borrowing they are taking on and not overstretch themselves,’ warned Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris.

    The Daily Telegraph

    11th September 2014
  • More than 30,000 mortgages were handed out to first-time buyers in July, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Loans for home movers and first-time buyers drove the housing market in July as borrowers took advantage of low mortgage rates and more stock coming onto the market. Given that rates are so competitive, it is surprising that remortgaging continues to be muted. This may be down to borrowers fearing that they won’t be able to remortgage as a result of the new mortgage rules or simply enjoying such good standard variable rates that they don’t see the point.’

    This is Money

    11th September 2014
  • If you’re ready to move, you can shift the odds of a successful completion in your favour. Now is a good time to go property hunting because the run-up to Christmas tends to be a buyer’s market, says Guy Meacock at buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘Vendors who want to exchange by Christmas may be more flexible on the price. Prices have softened over the summer, so there are good opportunities out there.’

    The Daily Express

    10th September 2014
  • Britain’s housing market is starting to cool with prices rising by just 0.1 per cent last month, Halifax said. Guy Meacock, from the buying agency Prime Purchase, said: ‘On balance the next few months will be the time to buy a home rather than sell. Vendors who want to exchange by Christmas are coming to market at an unfashionable time of year and may need to be more flexible on the price if they want to meet that deadline. Prices are already softening so there are good opportunities for buyers.’

    The Daily Mail

    9th September 2014
  • The strong pace of UK house price growth cooled off in August, with average prices rising by 0.1% amid signs that more homes are coming on to the market, according to the Halifax. Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the combination of more property coming up for sale and the likelihood of an interest rate rise at some point in the coming months was applying the brakes to the “runaway” market. ‘August saw a further cooling in the housing market, according to the Halifax, which is perhaps not surprising as it tends to be a quieter time of year. However, the three-month data also points to a less frenzied market, which is good news for buyers,’ he said.

    The Guardian

    8th September 2014
  • Homebuyers could move into their new homes only to find serious problems as mortgage lenders turn to computer valuations instead of human surveyors to speed up applications and cut costs. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Without a human being looking round, vital issues might be missed, such as knotweed and severe damp. This could be an expensive oversight that costs thousands of pounds to rectify.’

    The Sunday Times

    7th September 2014
  • Property owners who reluctantly become buy-to-let landlords because they cannot sell their homes will fall foul of a new regulatory crackdown. Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, the mortgage broker, said: ‘Regulating some buy-to-let loans but not others will add another layer of cost and confusion for lenders, brokers and borrowers alike.’

    The Times

    6th September 2014
  • Homeowners who become accidental landlords could find it harder to get a mortgage, thanks to European legislation. However, Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘A buy-to-let is an investment, whether the property was inherited, a let-to-buy or purchased independently, and should be treated as such. Regulating some buy-to-let loans but not others will add another layer of cost and confusion for lenders, brokers and borrowers alike.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    5th September 2014
  • More Britons are pulling the plug on home purchases amid signs that the market’s 16-month rally is coming to an end after banks tightened mortgage standards. ‘We’re seeing people in professional vocations like lawyers and accountants that have had agreements in principle granted and then, when push comes to shove, the banks won’t get to the number they agreed,’ Mark Harris at mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said in an interview. 

    Bloomberg

    2nd September 2014
  • Getting a mortgage for a property for your child, which you also want to let, is not easy. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Many lenders are not keen on lending on a buy-to-let basis if there is a family member living in the property, as they are concerned the rent may be lower than market rates. To avoid this, one option is to refinance the main home, so parents can buy the investment property with cash. But it is only an option if there is equity in their home and income to service a mortgage.’

    The Sunday Times

    31st August 2014
  • Hopes that Britain’s property boom might be levelling off have been dashed after figures from Nationwide and the Land Registry both showed a renewed surge in house prices. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘We had one of our best months for new business in August- emphasising the continued strength of the London property market in particular.’

    The Guardian

    29th August 2014
  • House prices edged up in August, said the Nationwide. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘August proved to be a decent month for the housing market, even though it is traditionally a quiet time of year when not much gets done.’

    BBC News

    29th August 2014
  • UK house prices rose during August at a much faster monthly pace than expected, said Nationwide. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘August proved to be a decent month for the housing market, even though it is traditionally a quiet time of year when not much gets done. Prices continued to edge up slightly, while we had one of our best months for new business – emphasising the continued strength of the London property market in particular.’

    The Guardian

    29th August 2014
  • ‘August proved to be a decent month for the housing market, even though it is traditionally a quiet time of year when not much gets done,’ said Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘The hysteria surrounding the hiking of Bank base rate has subsided again, with the economic news since early August dampening down speculation.’

    Rory Penn of prime London property agency VanHan, said: ‘The Land Registry tends to be regarded as one of the more reliable of the various house price indices and shows values continuing to rise in July. While August may have been quieter, as you would expect, there is still demand from both domestic buyers and a seemingly infinite range of overseas homeowners and investors. Sensibly priced stock will sell but it has to be priced at market levels.’

     

    The Independent

    29th August 2014
  • The challenger banks are primarily competing on service rather than interest rates, says Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Aldermore, One Savings Bank and Shawbrook differentiate themselves by looking at riskier or more complex mortgage business, rather than making a simple tick box decision,’ Harris says.

    This can make them attractive to would-be borrowers who have been rejected because they fall outside the narrow criteria adopted by the major lenders, Harris adds. ‘Aldermore, for example, offers mortgages up to 100 per cent LTV for first-time buyers and second-steppers via a Family Guarantee. Unlike many of its high-street peers, Metro is willing to look at loans over £1million, up to a maximum £5 million.’

    Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The beauty of the challenger banks is their ability to underwrite and do deals that other banks can’t. But you should also look at traditional lenders to find the right deal.’

    The Daily Express

    27th August 2014
  • The stretch of countryside that opens out once you get past Newbury on the M4 and runs until Marlborough is another prime hunting ground for weekend homes: many places are reachable within an hour and a quarter from west London. ‘It has a pretty chalk stream running through it, which is so clear, you can see the bottom,’ says Charlie Wells of buying agency Prime Purchase (01962 795035).

    Country Life

    22nd August 2014
  • Mark Harris of mortgage brokers SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Already the Bank of Mum and Dad has become essential in helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder and this research suggests that their role will become even more crucial. With wages failing to keep pace with property prices, home ownership is only going to become more unaffordable unless Mum and Dad come to the rescue with a hefty deposit.’

    Zoopla

    20th August 2014
  • While speculation about the timing of a rate rise rumbles, mortgages continue to offer excellent value for money compared to historic levels. ‘If you’re thinking about remortgaging, there’s no better time than the present,’ said Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Longer-term fixes have been popular in recent months, and while rates are nudging up, it is still possible to get a five-year deal at under 3.5 per cent.’

    The Daily Express

    20th August 2014
  • UK homebuyers are taking bigger mortgages for longer periods than they did before the financial crisis six years ago. ‘When it comes to their finances there are many people teetering on a knife edge and rate rises could easily push them over,’said Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Any rise in interest rates must be gradual and we welcome indications from the Bank of England that this will be the case.’

    Bloomberg

    14th August 2014
  • Hugo Thistlethwayte of buying agency Prime Purchase, said conditions were not completely in the favour of buyers yet. ‘Much depends on which area you are looking at and the price range as it can be very different depending on your budget,” he said. “The economy is improving and this will continue to support prices. Interest rates are still low. They may go higher but we are likely to stay in a low interest rate environment. However, there is a check on the market in the form of the new mortgage rules, with the stress testing that will now go on to ensure borrowers can afford them even when rates rise.’

    The Daily Express

    13th August 2014
  • The biggest obstacle facing first-time buyers is assembling a big enough deposit, says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘The best thing you can do is save and ask mum and dad for help. The larger the deposit, the cheaper your mortgage.’ You could also take out a family offset mortgage, Anderson says. ‘Market Harborough Building Society offers a deal that allows a family member to offset savings against the mortgage, while retaining fiscal control.’

    A number of other specialist mortgages help parents support children on to the property ladder, including the Family Springboard Mortgage from Woolwich and Lend a Hand from Lloyds Bank. Aldermore Mortgages offers the Family Guarantee mortgage, says Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘No deposit is required but a parent or grandparent must guarantee the mortgage above 75 per cent loan-to-value with a charge on their property. There is a choice of fixed rate for two or three years, pegged at 5.48 and 5.68 per cent.’

    The Daily Express

    13th August 2014
  • Some brokers and estate agents have said the process of a mortgage application can take longer now. ‘Those who are lucky enough to be buying with cash have the best choice in the marketplace. The new mortgage rules will hamper those who need to borrow, as they are constrained by what they can afford and the length of time it will take,’ said Hugo Thistlethwayte, managing director of buying agency Prime Purchase.

    BBC News

    11th August 2014
  • Investors should be careful of rental guarantees. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Lenders do not like guaranteed rents as they want to see that the property is viable on a long-term basis. Mortgage applications are underwritten on the rental income achievable on an AST basis, as provided by a surveyor, and not the guaranteed rent figure … If the AST figure is lower than the guaranteed rent, then the borrowing will be reduced accordingly, in spite of the guarantee element.’

    The Independent on Sunday

    10th August 2014
  • As the economy continues to grow quickly, a rate rise is on the cards. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘As with any market there are always going to be ups and downs. Mark Carney is suggesting rates will have to increase soon. The MMR is definitely having an impact on the market and, since the Funding for Lending scheme came to an end, banks no longer have this source of cheap money at their disposal.’

    The Independent on Sunday

    10th August 2014
  • Mortgage brokers have reported a rise in the number of people seeking help in navigating the home loan maze since new rules designed to curb irresponsible lending came into effect in April. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘We are seeing an increasing amount of business as high street lenders are unable to cope after MMR.’ Mortgage broker Anderson Harris charges between 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent.

    The Sunday Times

    10th August 2014
  • Some Londoners are selling their homes in prime areas and heading to the country where their money goes further. Hugo Thistlethwayte, of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘The property market in Prime Central London has reached equilibrium. Buyers are comfortable with paying prices set at the beginning of the year but not with another set of price rises. Many homeowners are selling up and moving out as the price disparity between London and the country has probably never been greater. Incidentally, what has prevented the country market from performing better is that people have been staying in London for longer because of the unstable job market, which has now settled so they are more willing to buy property out of town and commute. Another issue has been soaring property prices: while there is still some way to go, homeowners will stay put but if prices flatten out, which is what is likely to happen over the next 18 months, there is less reason to hang around rather than make the move.’

    The Wall Street Journal

    6th August 2014
  • When buying fractional ownership property overseas, you will not be able to get a  mortgage to fund your share because lenders are unable to repossess the property in case of default, says Miranda John of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Barclays tried to lend on a fractional basis in Portugal but the legal issues were evidently insurmountable. So this is really only an option for cash buyers.’ If you don’t have cash to spare, you may be able to raise funds against your existing home, John adds. ‘Under strict new mortgage regulations, your lender will want to ensure you can afford any extra borrowings now and when rates rise.’

    The Daily Express

    6th August 2014
  • Mortgage lenders are cutting rates to take advantage of a dip in funding costs, ahead of an imminent rise in interest rates. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Falling funding costs are being passed on to borrowers with several lenders cutting their fixed rates in the past couple of weeks.’ However, some lenders are struggling to maintain reasonable service levels so won’t be joining the party. Harris adds: ‘These lenders won’t be reducing their mortgage rates for fear of increasing the number of applications, and making the problem worse. With an interest rate rise likely to come at some point, borrowers should not take these mortgage cuts for granted. At some point lenders will be raising their fixed rates again so if you need the certainty of a fix, it makes sense to secure one while rates are so competitive.’

    The Financial Times

    3rd August 2014
  • Brokers have reported a knock-on effect from the mortgage market review, with applicants who struggle to meet the stringent affordability tests dealt a double blow if they approach more than one lender. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Going from lender to lender is bad news for your credit score and is like a red flag to lenders because it suggests someone desperate to borrow money.’

    The Sunday Times

    3rd August 2014
  • Lloyds has drastically cut the amount that can be borrowed under the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, slashing the maximum by 70%. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The Lloyds change means less choice for first-time buyers, particularly those buying in the southeast, where property values are that much higher.’

    The Sunday Times

    3rd August 2014
  • Moving home is expensive and distracting enough as it is, and comparing the costs of different removal firms only adds to the burden. To help, removals firm Aussie Man & Van has launched a fixed- price national removals service, with the amount you pay governed by how much notice you give. If you plan ahead and can fix a moving date two weeks in advance, you can get one of the firm’s containers – which is then sealed and attached to a van once you’ve filled it up – for just 299 plus VAT. If you can only give a day’s notice, the price increases to £499 plus VAT. You can get full details at manandvan.biz

    The Independent

    1st August 2014
  • Lack of space is a common gripe for renters. If your possessions are spilling out of control consider renting a self-storage space to stash your treasures. Removals firm Aussie Man & Van offers storage in London for £9.95 plus VAT per week for a 175 cubic ft space.

    Zoopla

    28th July 2014
  • Mortgage approvals increased for the first time in five months in June. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Mortgage approvals are on the rise once more after four months of decline, which may come as a surprise as many agents are now talking of a cooling off in the housing market.’

    This is Money

    23rd July 2014
  • The number of mortgages approved by high-street banks increased slightly in June, according to the British Bankers Association. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said it was possible the MMR rules were behind a fall in remortgaging, however. ‘MMR is likely to be having an impact here: either homeowners are struggling to remortgage under the new rules or worry that they will, and so are not bothering even trying.’

    The Guardian

    23rd July 2014
  • Parents are increasingly having to help their offspring onto the housing ladder.Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Guarantor mortgages are becoming a thing of the past in their traditional form. Instead, mortgages such as Woolwich’s Family Springboard are becoming more popular, where parents offset savings against their child’s mortgage. These products essentially reduce the loan-to-value to make it affordable.’ Another option is for the parent to put their name on the loan as a non-resident. Anderson adds: ‘Some lenders allow this, and the advantage is that the parent’s income is taken into account when the lender is deciding how much can be borrowed.’

    The Daily Express

    23rd July 2014
  • One way of beating inflation is to opt for an offset mortgage. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘An offset deal enables you to use your savings to reduce the interest you pay on your mortgage, ensuring you clear the debt more quickly – and potentially saving you thousands of pounds in interest. You can also access your savings at any time, without notice.’

    The Sunday Express

    20th July 2014
  • In the three months since the MMR was introduced, banks have been criticised for being too strict. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The post-MMR regime is a minefield for borrowers.’

    The Sunday Times

    20th July 2014
  • Think carefully when opting for a fixed-rate mortgage if you require a high loan-to-value; if you fix for more than three years you might get stuck on a rate of 5 per cent, which means you can’t shop around for cheaper rates. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘When choosing a fix or tracker, much depends on how long you plan to stay in the property. A two-year fix could be a good compromise for a first-time buyer, as it will help with budgeting.’

    The Times

    19th July 2014
  • Commenting on the ONS figures, Rory Penn of prime London property agency VanHan, says: ‘While the heat may have come out of the super-prime London housing market, the mainstream London market is full of buyers with salaries, deposits and mortgages – buyers who are still desperate to get into the market. The economy is on the up and so therefore is consumer confidence.’

    This is Money

    15th July 2014
  • The average price for properties bought by first-time buyers has risen by more than 11 per cent, according to the ONS. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘In some ways it’s harder than ever to take that first step. However, lenders have stepped up to the plate with more higher loan-to-value products available now than four or five years ago, with family-assisted schemes and offset products, as well as government schemes such as Help to Buy. The important thing is that buyers are able to afford the mortgage now, as well as in the future.’

    The Independent

    15th July 2014
  • London’s super prime market has calmed down. Rory Penn of prime London property agency VanHan, says: ‘Contrary to popular belief, there is still demand from both domestic buyers and a seemingly infinite range of overseas homeowners and investors. With many buyers priced out of super prime areas, focus has switched to emerging residential areas such as Covent Garden, which is now drawing the glitterati from Mayfair.’

    The Independent

    15th July 2014
  • The spectre of a mansion tax on properties over £2m looms large. Guy Meacock of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘The bulk of interest from my clients is in the sub-£2m market. Talk of a mansion tax has simply reinforced the appeal of that market.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    13th July 2014
  • Big lenders are locking expats out of UK mortgages. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘If you can demonstrate some sort of credit profile in the UK, it will help with you mortgage application. This might be a bank account or credit cards. If you are self-employed and living overseas, it helps if your accounts are signed off by one of the internationally recognised accounting firms, rather than a smaller firm.’

    The Sunday Times

    13th July 2014
  • The full extent of the housing market slowdown. The ripple from the slowdown has hit the people who pack and shift. ‘We’ve had three non-completions in a week — the number we’d normally get over an entire year,’ says James Robertson, of removals firm Anthony Ward Thomas. ‘These are people who exchanged, but failed to complete, mainly because funds haven’t come through. It causes huge disruption, with owners having to put items into storage, then move to hotels. We may even have to move them back to their original home.’

    The Sunday Times

    13th July 2014
  • It makes sense to plan ahead and future proof your home. Mary Hurst, CEO of developer London Rock Capital, says: ‘Think about future use and prepare for it now. It might be possible to split a property into two flats later; the trick is to prepare when you do the original work: put the infrastructure in place under the plaster for a kitchen and bathroom on an upper floor. This will save you time and money years later when you do the conversion.’

    The Times

    11th July 2014
  • Can’t say goodbye to your home? Try let-to-buy. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Those who are new to investing must do their research extremely carefully, as you would with any buy-to-let. You may have enjoyed living in your property but will it appeal to prospective tenants? Is it close to good transport links or does it need a fresh coat of paint? It’s not easy but you must view it as dispassionately as you can if you are to get the best results.’

    The Times

    11th July 2014
  • Can’t say goodbye to your home? Try let-to-buy. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients has noted a significant increase in demand for let-to-buy. He says: ‘It’s down to market conditions. Homeowners looking to move but who can’t sell their property in time, or those who want to hang on to their existing home because they believe it represents a good investment, are moving on to what is effectively a buy-to-let mortgage and the new lender is supporting the purchase.’

    The Times

    11th July 2014
  • Older borrowers are facing problems taking out mortgages. ‘Lenders are increasingly concerned as to how mortgages are going to be repaid,’ said Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, ‘and have particular worries about those borrowers taking on interest-only mortgages who don’t have any plans in place to pay off the loan. It is harder for older applicants to get a mortgage with many lenders insisting the loan is paid off by the age of 65 or 70, depending on their criteria.

    ‘Increasingly since Mortgage Market Review, many lenders are using 65 as the applicant’s retirement age which makes little sense when the state retirement age is rising and most people will work on beyond this age.

    ‘Given that the average age of a first-time buyer is their mid-30s, by the time many have saved up for a deposit there is not enough time to pay the mortgage back by the time they reach retirement age. Stretching the term to reduce the payments and help with affordability is not an option either. Some lenders are more flexible than others with regard to when a mortgage is paid off so if you are in an occupation where you are intending to work until you are 70, some lenders will consider this.’

    The Independent

    11th July 2014
  • The impact of the Mortgage Market Review is subtle. However, Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘While the CML suggests that the impact of MMR on the market has been subtle, one wonders whether it really is still too early to call.’

    This is Money

    10th July 2014
  • Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said that the impact of MMR on the market was still too early to evaluate. ‘While some lenders were MMR-compliant ahead of the official launch at the end of April, using May data to assess the impact of the new rules is perhaps premature,’ he said. ‘People are still able to take out new mortgages and to remortgage but it is taking longer and borrowers may find they have to compromise in terms of rates and loan-to-values.’

    The Independent

    10th July 2014
  • New mortgage rules show little impact on latest loan figures. Some lenders are expected to focus on BTL to drive up volume, with several already having improved their range of BTL loans in recent weeks. For example, Accord, a major BTL lender, has increased its maximum loan size to £1m from £300k, while Platform, Post Office and Virgin have all improved their offers to landlords, according to broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Guardian

    10th July 2014
  • The new mortgage rules show little impact on latest loan figures. ‘The CML figures show that the buy-to-let sector continues to perform well,’ said Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris. ‘Over the past couple of months in particular, lenders have been channelling their energies into buy-to-let, improving rates and easing criteria. Over-onerous rules, such as borrowers having to be experienced landlords or earning significant minimum incomes have eased a little, making buy-to-let an even more attractive investment.’

    The Guardian

    10th July 2014
  • Marc Da Silva continues his series of interviews with some of the biggest figures in UK housebuilding by speaking to Mary Hurst, CEO of developer London Rock Capital.

    Where in London is your firm developing new homes? ‘We build properties in central London locations such as Mayfair, Belgravia, and southwest of the capital, including Fulham and Streatham,’ she says. Click here for the full interview.

    What House

    9th July 2014
  • House prices dip in June as fewer buyers look for homes. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘With estate agents reporting applicant levels are falling, fewer sealed bids and packed open houses, some moderation is returning to the market.

    ‘As more property comes up for sale, with vendors worrying that they may have missed the boat, the heat has come out of the housing market.’

    The Daily Mail

    9th July 2014
  • UK house prices keep rising, says Halifax. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the three month average was a more reliable figure than the month-on-month figures which showed a dip.

    ‘With estate agents reporting that applicant levels are falling, fewer sealed bids and packed open houses, some moderation is returning to the market,’ he said. ‘As more property comes up for sale, with vendors worrying that they may have missed the boat, the heat has come out of the housing market.

    ‘The threat of an interest rate rise is there in the background, influencing people’s willingness to take on more debt. Fixed-rate mortgages are still cheap however, although they are edging up slightly. The mortgage market review is having an impact and slowing things down although we expect this to be temporary as lenders get to grips with the new regime.’

    The Independent

    9th July 2014
  • Vast majority of commutable London housing is unaffordable for the average Londoner. Jonathan Harris, of mortgage brokers Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is not just London which has enjoyed significant house price growth, but the surrounding areas have also seen prices rise over the past few months. This has meant that those spreading their net and looking to buy cheaper property outside of the capital are finding it is not that easy with family homes in particular at a premium.

    ‘Commuters are having to look further afield beyond the magic ‘one hour maximum’ commute for an affordable home, which is do-able if you don’t have to be in London every day of the week. Otherwise, it can put a strain on family life, with fathers in particular having to leave the house before the children are awake and returning after they’ve gone to bed.’

    Zoopla

    7th July 2014
  • Homeowners race for mortgage fixes. The mortgage broker Jonathan Harris, of Anderson Harris, which is based in London, says that 65 per cent of his clients have signed up to fixed deals lasting for five years. This highlights the desire for protection against a growing awareness of the new tougher affordability Mortgage Market Review (MMR) tests which put multiple obstacles in the way of loan applicants. A two-year gap between such sessions may not seem enough.

    ‘Banks treat anyone who wishes to port as a new application — the ability to port is still there, but people need to be aware that it’s far from a done deal, as it would have been five years ago,’ Mr Harris says. ‘We have found that with clients on cheap trackers — deals that banks essentially don’t want them to be on — it’s been incredibly difficult to port. The same may be true in the future when people want to port the cheap five-year fixed deals.

    ‘Some clients who own two properties — one their main home and one investment — opt to fix one of their properties and put the other on a tracker. They are hedging their bets.’

    The Times

    5th July 2014
  • The truth behind London’s soar away housing market. The way the uncertainty in PCL is manifesting itself on the street, says buying agent Nicholas Ayre, of Home Fusion, is that only the absolutely top-end properties (in terms of location and spec) are being snapped up. ‘The really good properties are still selling but it is taking buyers longer to make up their minds and there are fewer local buyers so the market is quiet and a little flat,’ he said.

    The Times

    4th July 2014
  • Many Londoners are relocating to Bosham in West Sussex. ‘Bosham is all about sailing,’ says Hugo Thistlethwayte of buying agents Prime Purchase. ‘It’s a very pretty creek, which is a haven for dinghy sailing.’

    Country Life

    3rd July 2014
  • Home lending falls as interest in the market cools. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said total mortgage lending remained strong but the number of mortgage approvals was lower, suggesting that the heat has come out of the housing market.

    ‘Estate agents are reporting that applicant levels are falling, with fewer sealed bids and packed open houses,’ He said. ‘More property is coming to the market as panicked vendors worry about missing the top of the market and the threat of an interest rate rise is bound to have an impact on people’s inclination to take on new debt.’

    However, he said there was ‘no need for buyers to panic’ about interest rate rises as many borrowers were now opting for fixed-rate mortgages. ‘June’s data will show more clearly how much of an impact the MMR is having on the market’ he said.

    The Metro

    1st July 2014
  • Flexible living means flexible homes. Guy Meacock, from buying agency Prime Purchase, is not convinced that upsizing is the best idea generally, but he admits there is something to be said for getting children to pay their parents rent. ‘At least this avoids deposits and rent reviews, and the landlord kicking them out’

    He suggests that if a homeowner has the space, then converting a basement into a self-contained flat has its attractions, as the children, parents or nanny can come and go as they please.

    ‘Self contained accommodation could also be created on an upper floor by creating a kitchenette, although this is a less desirable approach due to lack of separate access.’

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that reselling a property can be tricky if you have divided it up into two units, unless it can be easily converted back into one dwelling, adds Meacock. 

    London Property Review

    July 2014
  • Mortgage approvals were slow in may, according to the Bank of England. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘June’s data will show more clearly how much of an impact the MMR rules are having but with remortgaging numbers falling in May, it indicates that existing homeowners could already be struggling to meet the tighter criteria being imposed by lenders.

    ‘This will be a particular problem when interest rates do start to rise, if borrowers become mortgage prisoners trapped on high standard variable rates with nowhere to go.’

    This is Money

    30th June 2014
  • Guarantor mortgages are becoming a lot harder to get. Mark Harris of the mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Other lenders such as Virgin Money and Skipton will allow guarantor applications where the borrower can demonstrate good salary enhancement over the next few years’

    The Independent on Sunday

    29th June 2014
  • First-time buyers are finding the doors are slamming shut. Adrian Anderson of the mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says ‘Banks have not liked guarantor mortgages for a long time as it is time consuming and expensive legally … to try and force a parent to pay the mortgage if they are a guarantor, and not on the deeds of the mortgage or property.’

    Mr Anderson says: ‘Despite arranging many deals … we have only seen on request for Help to Buy. Most borrowers are opting to find an extra 5 per cent of the purchase price and get a much lower rate.’

    The Independent on Sunday

    29th June 2014
  • Mortgages are to be dependent on repayments under rates rise. Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘These new rules will have a much bigger impact on borrowers in London and the South East. The key will be assessing what income the lender applies the 4.5 times multiple to. More people in London are on basic salaries with a bonus element and this needs to be taken into account.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    27th June 2014
  • House prices in London are now ‘far ahead of the curve’. ‘The London market powers onwards  with double-digit growth,’ said Nicholas Ayre, of buying agency Home Fusion. ‘But agents suggest that sentiment is changing as buyers are taking more time to consider a purchase before taking the plunge.

    ‘Mark Carney has made it clear that interest rates will go up sooner rather than later so buyers are rightly asking whether they can they afford the property now and also in a year’s time when rates could be higher. Even a 0.25 percentage point rise will make a difference.’

    The Independent

    27th June 2014
  • A healthy income is key to financial security in retirement, however the pension scheme is being radially overhauled. ‘While property is attractive to investors because it is tangible and people understand it better than stocks and shares, it is important to spread your investment risk particularly as property prices can go down as well as up,’ advises Nicholas Ayre, of buying agency Home Fusion.

    HSBC Newsletter

    24th June 2014
  • Mortgage loan approvals fall to a nine-month low, says the British Bankers’ Association. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘There are rumours that Mark Carney will unleash new powers to control the housing market and attempt to curb risky mortgage lending.

    ‘But he doesn’t need to do that: this was the whole point of the mortgage market review – making sure lending is affordable today and tomorrow.

    ‘The BBA suggests that the weakening in mortgage approval volumes in May is in part down to the introduction of the MMR, indicating that it is already curbing unsuitable lending.’

    This is Money

    24th June 2014
  • Remortgage lending down 17 per cent, says Council for Mortgage Lenders. ‘This contradicts some other indices which suggest that the housing market is taking a breath,’ said Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris. ‘Demand is still strong as buyers remain confident of their ability to get a mortgage and their perception that now is a good time to buy, with more stock coming onto the market.’

    The Independent

    24th June 2014
  • The sunny slowdown is exacerbated this year by the World Cup, a distraction not just for pupils sitting their exams, but for buyers. The result? Some insiders think the sales season may be all over — and, according to one buying agency, it is now. ‘The market is set to be consistently unexciting for the rest of the year,’ says Robin Gould, who handles west of England clients for the buying agency Prime Purchase.

    ‘The recovery is fragile and buyers will continue to be cautious,’ says Robin Gould, of buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘Vendors have a Hobson’s choice in terms of timing when to sell. On balance, this year is probably best — unless they can wait until after the election.’

    The Sunday Times

    22nd June 2014
  • How to cut the cost of moving home. When you are booking a removal van think carefully about what day you want to move. ‘Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be quieter and we offer cheaper rates on these days,’ says Mark Prout, of Aussie Man & Van. ‘Conversely, the end of the month, Fridays and Saturdays are our busiest times.’

    The Times

    20th June 2014
  • The costs of fixed rate mortgages are starting to rise, says Bank of England. Adrian Anderson, of broker Anderson Harris, said borrowers who are on their lender’s standard variable rate or are due to remortgage in the next six months should look at their options now.

    ‘Most mortgage offers are valid for up to six months so you can secure a rate now that you can move onto at a later date,’ he said. ‘With swap rates rising significantly in the past week, fixed rates are certainly not going to get any cheaper. In a few months’ time, you might be pleased you secured a fix now.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    20th June 2014
  • Women take the top jobs in property. Mary Hurst, of development company London Rock Capital, used to work in banking, until she decided to pursue an interest in property that she had harboured since her university days, and left the City to become a property developer.

    ‘When I was at university, doing a business and marketing degree in Newcastle, everyone told you to be a banker, an accountant or a lawyer,’ says Hurst. ‘There just aren’t many female property developers so I think it just doesn’t occur to many people to do it.’

    Five years later and, Hurst, 32, has co-founded London Rock Capital, a boutique company that develops high-end properties across London, from Mayfair to Streatham.

    Hurst is part of a trend in a traditionally male-dominated industry that is suddenly welcoming more women. The Association of Women in Property notes an increase in the number of female property developers, as well as women training to be architects, agents, builders and surveyors. Many have career paths rooted in financial and corporate backgrounds. For these women, property is a natural extension of the things they have done in their career.

    The Times

    19th June 2014
  • ‘Statistical fog’ on mortgage loans, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders. ‘The threat of an interest rate rise is bound to be having an impact on people’s inclination to take on new debt,’ said Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

    BBC News

    19th June 2014
  • One in five buyers are paying more than the asking price. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said that the threat of an interest rate rise is ‘bound to be having an impact’ on people’s thoughts on taking on new debt.

    ‘While it still looks as though the first rate rise won’t come before the middle of next year at the earliest, fixed-rate mortgages are becoming more expensive, and will continue to do so,” he said. “However, borrowers shouldn’t panic as five-year fixes are still available for a little over three per cent, historically, an excellent rate. Borrowers might want to secure a fix now though if they need certainty rather than waiting several months to see what happens. Ultimately, there is only one way for interest rates to move and that’s upwards, it’s a question of when this will happen.’

    The Independent

    19th June 2014
  • When it comes to buying bricks and mortar, the end of the summer often means lower prices. ‘The autumn market is rarely as strong as the spring market, so the vendor has run out of time if the property has been on sale for several months,’ says Hugo Thistlethwayte, of buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘As they will have to pay to re-market the property into a weaker autumn market, August can be a great time to get the vendor to move on the price.’

    The Guardian

    16th June 2014
  • Heat is on over the housing bubble. Prepare to have your mortgage deposit looked at closely, too. The broker Anderson Harris has had a nightmare with a couple of clients, with teams of ‘verification of deposit specialists’ demanding to know the source of every pound. Cue difficulties trying to locate years of savings statements and detailed proof of gifts from mum and dad or inheritance.

    The Sunday Times

    15th June 2014
  • Don’t be caught out when Banks rate rises. The broker Anderson Harris calculates that someone with a £200,000 repayment mortgage with 23 years left to run, who is on a rate of 3%, would see monthly payments go up from £1,004 to £1,056 if rates rise 0.5%, and to £1,109 if there is a 1% increase. This could push already stretched families over the edge.

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Worries about interest rate rises have been increasing for some time. This means the allure of a fix is strong, particularly over five years.’

    The Sunday Times

    15th June 2014
  • Don’t get stung by the interest rate rise. ‘There has already been an increase in people fixing before rates rise in the past two to three months,’ says Jonathan Harris, of mortgage brokerage Anderson Harris. ‘The numbers of people refinancing will no doubt rise considerably.’

    ‘First-time buyers and young professionals will struggle as they are less likely to be established in their career and they might not have accrued as much equity in their home’, adds Mr Harris.

    He also says that for some clients on fixed rate mortgages ending next year or in 2015, it may make sense to exit early, paying the penalties and swapping to a five-year fixed rate this year.

    Reducing debt should be a priorty, even at the expense of your savings. ‘If you need to purchase a new car, consider paying cash if you can rather than taking on more debt or not buying it until you have a mortgage,’ adds Mr Harris.

    The Times

    14th June 2014
  • What you need to know about the Mortgage Market Review. Adrian Anderson, of Anderson Harris, the mortgage broker, says: ‘Historically, it has always been good to have savings in the bank, but under the new regime you are better off utilising these to meet your expenditure as the focus of MMR is affordability. For example, if you are paying school fees, it is better to pay in lump sums from capital if you can, rather than monthly from income so that you can demonstrate that you don’t have any pressure on your cash flow. There is not the advantage that we saw in the past for building up savings; the emphasis is now on income, regular commitments and affordability.’

    The Times

    13th June 2014
  • Homebuyers told to lock in fixed-rate deals. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘There is no need to panic. Fixed rates have already gone up and you will pay more now for one than you would have done six months ago . . . but fixed rates are still very cheap historically.’

    The Financial Times

    13th June 2014
  • First-time buyer mortgages up by a third: Council of Mortgage Lenders. George Spencer, of lettings agency Rentify, said: ‘With the number of buy-to-let mortgages up 49 per cent on the same month last year, the sector continues to go from strength to strength. However, the 38 per cent increase in buy-to-let remortgages shows that landlords are continuing to seek out the best deal for their investment, with many opting for fixed-rate mortgages as a defence against the rumoured interest rate rises.

    ‘In the short term, the buy-to-let market should remain strong as it is under-pinned by a shortage of affordable homes to buy. However, it remains to be seen what long-term effects the government’s plans to make it easier to build new houses for sale, announced in last week’s Queen’s Speech, will have on the rental market.’

    The Independent

    12th June 2014
  • Thousands face ‘unaffordable’ mortgage rate rises. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said he expected the base rate to be raised in mid-2015.

    ‘Nobody has a crystal ball, or at least not a reliable one,’ he said. ‘We are not expecting interest rates to rise any time soon as the economic recovery is still too tentative.

    ‘Indications are that when interest rates do start to rise they will do so slowly before settling at 2 to 3 per cent, lower than the 5 per cent we have been used to in the past.’

    Confused.com

    11th June 2014
  • Demand for risky mortgages reaches five-year high. Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Borrowers are protecting themselves where they can with more than 80pc of new mortgages taken on a fixed basis. Even though the average fixed rate edged 2 basis points higher, while variable rates fell on average by 6 basis points, the growing threat of an interest rate rise means the allure of the fixed rate is strong.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    10th June 2014
  • Rising numbers are taking out riskier mortgages. Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said that while lending figures had risen to the highest amount since the start of 2008, they was still 8.5 per cent less than the end of 2013 and suggested that the ‘housing market frenzy is moderating’.

    ‘Borrowers are protecting themselves where they can with more than 80 per cent of new mortgages taken on a fixed basis,’ he said. ‘The growing threat of an interest rate rise means the allure of the fixed rate is strong.’

    The Independent

    10th June 2014
  • Government to end London’s prohibitive renting laws. Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said it was ‘unfair’ this law only applied to London and questioned how various councils could have policed its implementation.

    ‘There could well be a grey area with lenders, in that letting out your home on a temporary basis puts you in breach of your mortgage covenant, so you would need to seek consent to let,’ he added.

    The Financial Times

    10th June 2014
  • Some experts believe that other banks will follow Lloyds and RBS in reducing their mortgage cap. But not all mortgage experts share the same view. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients says: ‘It will be interesting to see if other lenders feel under pressure to do the same. Neither RBS nor Lloyds are significant players in the large loan market, so while it is disappointing to see their move, we do not expect others to follow. There are still plenty of options for those needing larger loans.’

    The Sunday Express

    8th June 2014
  • Helping your children build a future with property. Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘It might be worth considering a deed of trust, detailing how much each owner contributed towards the purchase price, their respective ownership shares and what happens if someone dies or wants to move out, so there are minimal disagreements.’

    The Sunday Times

    8th June2014
  • Further lending curbs are unlikely. Hugo Thistlethwayte, of buying agent Prime Purchase, said the market had reached an ‘equilibrium’ at the top end, particularly for large, classic London town houses over several floors. ‘The market is just not prepared to go on to the new asking prices that have been suggested.’

    The Financial Times

    6th June 2014
  • Removal companies are also reporting a spike in London-outbound buyers heading beyond the commuter zone. ‘We’ve seen an increase in removals further afield, as homeowners cash in and make their money go further by moving down the M4 corridor, to places in Gloucestershire, into Somerset and even as far as Cornwall,’ says Anthony Ward Thomas, the founder of Anthony Ward Thomas Removals.’The big moves we handle can take a week. We might take several days to pack up a six-storey house in Notting Hill or St John’s Wood and transport it to Somerset, during which time we’ll get to know the family, drink lots of scrumpy and even sleep in a neighbouring field if the weather is good, before heading back to London.’

    The Sunday Times

    1st June 2014
  • How to avoid becoming a mortgage prisoner. Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Ideally, you should already be looking around to see what sort of product you can get at the end of your fixed rate. Speak to an independent broker to see what options are available, particularly if your income has fallen or you’ve become self-employed since taking out the mortgage.

    ‘If you have an interest-only mortgage, the options will be more restricted than they were when you took out your loan, particularly if you have a high loan-to-value. With the new Mortgage Market Review rules, lenders will be looking closely at outgoings so start reining in any non-essential spending to improve your affordability.’

    The Independent

    31st May 2014
  • How to avoid becoming a mortgage prisoner. Mark Harris, of brokers SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Compare your SVR with the alternatives. If your SVR is 5.99 per cent or more, there are plenty of cheaper fixed-rate options. However, those sitting on historic super-low SVRs may find that the long-term fixes out there are less attractive so may decide to stay put for now and benefit from that cheap rate for longer.

    ‘If you do this, consider overpaying with the money you are ‘saving’ each month; this will reduce your outstanding mortgage faster plus ensure you get used to paying a higher mortgage amount each month for when you do move on to a higher fixed rate.’

    The Independent

    31st May 2014
  • Should you move house or add space where you live. It is important not to overdevelop a plot,” warns Guy Meacock, at the buying agent Prime Purchase. ‘A small terraced house, say, might not cope with an extra family room and bedroom.’

    The Times

    30th May 2014
  • House prices: an early summer lull falls on the market. ‘The market is still very price and quality-sensitive, so the good is going, but the bad and ugly are not,’ says Robin Gould, of buying agency Prime Purchase.

    The Times

    30th May 2014
  • Five-year swap rates have almost doubled since May last year according to data supplied by SPF Private Clients. Mark Harris, of mortgage brokers SPF Private Clients, noted that although the cost of swaps has gone up, mortgages rates have not risen by the same amount because lenders are competing to attract business.

    ‘The margins banks have applied to swap rates have come down because of competition. They’ve worked on smaller margins compared to a year ago,’ said Mr Harris.

    The Financial Times

    30th May 2014
  • Lending has hit its highest level in six year according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Fears are growing that Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s comments about the need to cool parts of the housing market will impact the ability of some borrowers to get a mortgage.’

    FT Adviser

    29th May 2014
  • Lenders are using the Mortgage Market Review to lengthen lending. Adrian Anderson, of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘This is likely to be a knee-jerk reaction to MMR, with lenders trying to ensure that borrowers can afford their mortgages when interest rates rise.

    ‘However, it does not seem to follow that someone paying a higher rate of interest with no problems before they remortgaged would then struggle on a lower rate, and maybe not much common sense is being applied.

    ‘With MMR, it comes down to how lenders interpret the FCA guidelines and some are being less pragmatic than others.’

    FT Adviser

    29th May 2014
  • The ‘Help to Buy’ scheme should be more competitive. Jonathan Harris of mortgage brokers Anderson Harris said: ‘The products on offer tend to be very short-term fixes and with the rates people are obviously paying a preview for the higher loan-to-values.

    ‘It would be good to see a more competitive product range and more innovation from the lenders.’

    ITV News

    29th May 2014
  • Housing market activity is up but loan approvals have fallen: British Bankers’ Association. Jonathan Harris, of London-based mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘This is not a market running away with itself. The introduction of the mortgage market review may be having an effect. While it is still early days, with many lenders introducing the new rules weeks ahead of the official launch, its impact may already be starting to be felt. Talk of interest rates rising continues, with Charlie Bean, the retiring deputy governor of the Bank of England, saying they could rise to 3 per cent in the next three to five years. While there is no need for borrowers to panic, it is important to consider whether they can afford any mortgage they take on and to opt for a fixed rate if concerned about budgeting.’

    FT Adviser

    29th May 2014
  • As the house prices soar – now is the time to make the right move. ‘There are a lot of bad properties out there that require a lot of work so make sure you know what you are getting into,’ says Nicholas Ayre from buying agency Home Fusion.

    The Daily Express

    28th May 2014
  • Buyers are spooked by market growth – make the right move now as prices soar.

    Yet only one in 10 homeowners are planning to remortgage in the next six months to protect themselves against a rate hike, claims credit reference agency, Equifax. If you’re worried about rising rates, protect yourself by taking out a five-year fix, says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris.

    ‘These are competitively priced and give protection in the medium term.’ Although some have increased rates in recent weeks, there are still some competitive deals available.

    The Daily Express

    28th May 2014
  • Mortgage lending hits a five-and-a-half year high. Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The actual number of mortgage approvals for house purchase was below the six-month average of 45,720. This is not a market running away with itself.

    ‘The introduction of the Mortgage Market Review may be having an effect. While it’s still early days, with many lenders introducing the new rules weeks ahead of the official launch, its’ impact may already be starting to be felt.’

    Zoopla

    27th May 2014
  • Mortgage lending has hit a six-year high. Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said while confidence continued in the housing market, ‘this is not a market running away with itself’.

    ‘The introduction of the mortgage market review may be having an effect. While it’s still early days, with many lenders introducing the new rules weeks ahead of the official launch, its impact may already be starting to be felt,’

    The Guardian

    27th May 2014
  • Student ‘digs’ offer a harsh lesson for investors. ‘While not impossible to obtain finance to buy a student pod, it will not be through a traditional buy-to-let provider, so you will not be able to get any of the leading buy-to-let rates,’ said Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Finance may be possible via commercial divisions of lenders or, very occasionally, where a regional building society will have a loan available in conjunction with a local higher education establishment. The issue traditional lenders have with such investments is the tenancy and re‑saleability.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    25th May 2014
  • Before you commit to a costly project, think about the impact on your home life in the short and longer term. As well as the day-to-day practicalities of living with extended family, consider the property you will eventually be left with. ‘If you do go ahead with changes to your home, make sure they can be used afterwards,’ says Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion. ‘If you’ve added another bedroom, bathroom or living space, then once your parents or children have moved out, can you convert it into something you want?’

    The Guardian

    25th May 2014
  • House extensions are on the rise. ‘You must ensure that the property will be marketable when you come to sell, so ask three agents,’ says Guy Meacock of agency Prime Purchase. ‘The planning process has loosened up but extending is not always the best course of action. It’s important not to overdevelop the plot: a small terrace, for example, might not cope with an extra family room and bedroom.’

    The Guardian

    25th May 2014
  • There will be many would-be homeowners planning to buy a property in the autumn who could be concerned about missing out. Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘There will be people who were planning on using Help to Buy later this year who may panic at the thought of it being removed and accelerate their plans. It could lead to a surge of interest in the scheme and, potentially, people jumping in before they are really ready. Borrowers shouldn’t jump in before they are ready.’

    The Times

    24th May 2014
  • Budget and hunt for a new home loan. For those with deals that expire later this year, it might be worth applying for a remortgage now, according to Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

    He says: ‘If your fixed or tracker rate reverts to your lender’s standard variable rate in the next few months, plan ahead. New mortgage offers are generally valid for six months, so start shopping around and reserve a product now to complete on in six months’ time.’

    The Times

    24th May 2014
  • Brokers warn that the cost of mortgages for first-time buyers will rise if Help to Buy disappears. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘If we lost Help to Buy, lenders keen to assist in the high loan-to-value market would charge higher rates of interest.’

    The Times

    24th May 2014
  • More landlords are adding buy-to-let portfolios. ‘These figures highlight the continuing strength of the buy-to-let sector,’ said George Spencer of lettings agency Rentify. ‘With a lack of new housing stock entering the market and many investors seeing property as a better bet than the traditional investment alternatives, the sector looks in good health.’

    What House?

    22nd May 2014
  • First-time buyers year-on-year rise of 24%. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said there was more choice for first-time buyers in terms of competitive mortgage rates on the market, and said it was unlikely that interest rates will rise any time soon.

    He added: ‘It is too early to say what effect the MMR will have, but it will ensure that affordability is not compromised as house prices continue to rise. Even if borrowers do lack prudence and want to overburden themselves with a mortgage that they will struggle to pay when interest rates rise, the new rules mean they simply cannot.’

    FT Adviser

    22nd May 2014
  • Lloyds have announced their are lowering their cap on mortgages. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, commented: ‘The move by Lloyds is slightly puzzling and won’t have a significant impact on Lloyds’ lending book. We don’t expect other lenders to follow suit as it doesn’t make a great deal of sense. If you are earning in the region of £125,000, which would qualify you for a £500,000 loan, you are the sort of person who can cope with an increase in interest rates as you will have greater disposable income than a first-time buyer.

    ‘While a first-time buyer is likely to plough every last penny of savings into a property purchase, on larger loans borrowers often don’t need to borrow at quite that level. They tend to have plenty of fall-back cover, such as lots of liquid cash in savings and ISA portfolios that they can dip into in the event of changing circumstances or an interest rate rise. They are much more capable of dealing with a change in situation.

    ‘Lloyds would not necessarily be the first choice for borrowers requiring £500,000-plus loans anyway and there is plenty of capacity elsewhere in the market to take up the slack.’

    The Independent

    21st May 2014
  • What should I do if I’ve got three-to-six months left on my fixed rate? Adrian Anderson, of Mortgage Broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Ideally, you should already be looking around to see what sort of product you can get at the end of your fixed rate. Speak to an independent broker to see what options are available, particularly if your income has fallen or you’ve become self-employed since taking out the mortgage.

    ‘If you have an interest-only mortgage, the options will be more restricted than they were when you took out your loan, particularly if you have a high loan-to-value. With the new MMR rules, lenders will be looking closely at outgoings so start reining in any non-essential spending to improve your affordability.’

    The Independent

    21st May 2014
  • What should I do if I’m on a standard variable rate? Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Compare your SVR with the alternatives. If your SVR is 5.99 per cent or more, then there are plenty of cheaper fixed-rate options. However, those sitting on historic super-low SVRs may find that the long-term fixes out there are less attractive so may decide to stay put for now and benefit from that cheap rate for longer.

    ‘If you do this, consider overpaying with the money you are ‘saving’ each month; this will reduce your outstanding mortgage faster plus ensure you get used to paying a higher mortgage amount each month for when you do move onto a higher fixed rate.’

    The Independent

    21st May 2014
  • How to purchase property abroad safely. Miranda John, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It is always prudent to consider all financing options, such as a a sterling loan secured on a UK asset or a local mortgage secured on the property itself. There is a currency issue whichever way you choose and for many matching the currency of the asset and liability makes sense.

    ‘Lending is generally far more restricted in other countries so raising finance as an equity release when you already own the property may be impossible. In most instances, the only time you can have a mortgage secured on the property is at the acquisition stage.’

    The Times

    20th May 2014
  • How to avoid the trap of rising rates. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘There is no need for borrowers to panic but it’s worth taking a look at your finances to see whether you will be at risk when interest rates start to rise.

    ‘If you would struggle to pay your mortgage and are currently on your lender’s standard variable rate, check to see if you could remortgage on to a fixed rate to help with budgeting.

    ‘Or, if your circumstances have changed, say you’ve become self-employed or your income’s fallen so that you cannot remortgage to another lender, then go and ask your existing lender what deals it can offer you.’

    The Daily Express

    20th May 2014
  • Help to Buy interest could surge as panic buyers react to fears scheme may be pared back. Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘There will be people who were planning on using Help to Buy later this year to get on the housing ladder who may panic at the thought of it being removed and accelerate their plans.’

    Zoopla

    19th May 2014
  • Tread carefully and do your research if you’re going into the buy-to-let market. ‘It is hard to go wrong with popular locations that have good transport links,’ says Rayhan Rafiq Omar of property tech start-up, Wigwamm. ‘But you need to do your homework.’

    The Express

    18th May 2014
  • Help to Buy mortgages are shrinking. Jonathan Harris of the mortgage broker Anderson Harris said lenders were being cautious as a result of stricter lending criteria brought in last month under the mortgage market review (MMR).

    He added: ‘The MMR will further ensure that borrowers are prudent and don’t take on too big a mortgage which they will struggle to repay.’

    The Sunday Times

    18th May 2014
  • Mortgages from Harrods? London-based high net worth broker SPF Private Clients is involved in a pilot due to launch this summer. Mark Harris, of SPF, says: ‘Harrods Bank will be offering products for individuals who have complicated incomes — perhaps from a trust or an offshore source. Loans will have a bespoke underwriting process.’

    The Times

    16th May 2014
  • Would a 10 year fix rate be useful? Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said fixing for a decade could be a good option. ‘A 10-year fixed rate option widens the choice available to those taking advantage of the Government’s scheme and gives security for a longer period of time. The rate isn’t bad either.’

    The Independent

    16th May 2014
  • Lending to landlords up 69% in a year. George Spencer of lettings agency Rentify said: ‘These figures highlight the continuing strength of the buy-to-let sector. With a lack of new housing stock entering the market and many investors seeing property as a better bet than the traditional investment alternatives, the sector looks in good health.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    15th May 2014
  • First time buyers figure jumps 24% in run up to new lending rules. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It is too early to say what impact the MMR will have but it will ensure that affordability is not compromised as house prices continue to rise.

    ‘Even if borrowers do lack prudence and want to overburden themselves with a mortgage that they will struggle to pay when interest rates rise, the new rules mean they simply can’t.’

    Zoopla

    15th May 2014
  • So you want to be a developer, make sure you have the right finance. Instead, you’ll have to either remortgage to release equity from your own home or raise short-term finance on the unregulated market. Jonathan Harris, of Anderson Harris, the broker, says that rates for a simple project start at 0.7 per cent a month for one year.

    The Times

    10th May 2014
  • Mortgage rates are raised to dampen demand. Adrian Anderson, of Anderson Harris, a mortgage broker, says: ‘Two-year fixes are now following the same path as five-year fixed rates, which crept up to around 3 per cent.’

    The Times

    10th May 2014
  • Rising house prices fuel pressure tactics. ‘Gazumping is on the rise,’ says Nicholas Ayre from home-buying agency, Home Fusion. ‘Sellers know that if they don’t see action from the buyer, such as booking a survey, there are plenty of other potential purchasers willing to jump in.

    ‘As a buyer, the best way to protect yourself is by moving quickly and not giving the seller an excuse to look elsewhere.’

    The Sunday Express

    10th May 2014
  • Mortgage rates are raised to dampen demand. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, argues that the two-year fixed-rate market is not the way to go: ‘You will have to remortgage again when interest rates could well be rising, which will be expensive. Five-year fixes may have risen slightly since the start of this year but as long as this is a reasonable amount of time for you to commit, it could be the sensible option.’

    The Times

    10th May 2014
  • Home truths about remortgaging to repay other debts. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, has mixed feelings. ‘Remortgaging to repay expensive debt such as credit cards and personal loans is sensible as mortgage rates are lower than unsecured borrowing,’ he says. ‘But if you are converting short-term debt to long-term, you need to think carefully, as you could end up paying back more in the long run.’

    The Guardian

    9th May 2014
  • What lies ahead for buy-to-let landlords. Then there’s the added complication of Labour’s intervention. ‘These reforms are sure to impact the buy-to-let market negatively,’ insists George Spencer, of the lettings agency Rentify. ‘There will be fewer properties available for tenants to rent overall — which is partly what caused the UK’s housing crisis in the first place.’

    The Times

    9th May 2014
  • Now is the moment to rescue a wreck. Robin Gould, of the buying agency Prime Purchase, says that another key issue to consider is how long buyers plan to stay in the property: ‘If its’s less than five years, the balance sheet needs careful scrutiny, but longer periods have a great way of evening things out.’

    The Times

    9th May 2014
  • The nations passion fort a (not so) humble semi. As Hugo Thistlethwayte, of the buying agency Prime Purchase, points out, buyers have confidence in and feel comfortable with this property type. ‘The semi is ubiquitous and familiar,’ he says. ‘They follow a fairly standard layout so people know where to find the kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and so on.’

    The Times

    9th May 2014
  • Price dip or just a blip? Nicholas Ayre, of buying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘With prices levelling out and even tailing off a little in the past month, we could be seeing the first signs of resistance from buyers who are not prepared to pay what sellers are asking. However, this may just be a blip rather than the beginning of a downwards trend in prices.’

    The Independent

    8th May 2014
  • Property prices fall marginally, reports the Land Registry. Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion said: ‘The increased availability of mortgage finance at higher loan-to-values is finally making it possible for many frustrated first-time buyers to take a step onto the ladder. The real challenge is finding a property you can afford to buy and being able to secure it in the face of stiff competition before prices move higher still.’

    What House?

    8th May 2014
  • Halifax reports that the house prices are down in April. Nicholas Ayre, of buying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘With prices levelling out and even tailing off a little in the past month, we could be seeing the first signs of resistance from buyers who are not prepared to pay what sellers are asking. If buyers are being sensible and refusing to pay over the odds because they can’t afford it, then that is a good thing. While interest rates are low at the moment, they won’t always be and working out whether you can afford your mortgage when rates do rise is a reasonable strategy.’

    The Independent

    8th May 2014
  • Halifax reports fall in UK house prices for second month running. Nicholas Ayre, of buying agency Home Fusion, said the fall could be a sign that buyers were not prepared to pay what sellers are asking.

    ‘If buyers are being sensible and refusing to pay over the odds because they can’t afford it, then that is a good thing,’ he said.

    ‘However, this may just be a blip rather than the beginning of a downwards trend in prices. Prices still rose on the quarter and on the year. And while the market may be adjusting, there are pockets of the London housing market where it is still crazy busy while in other parts of the country talk of a bubble is laughable.’

    The Guardian

    8th May 2014
  • There will be new rules for mortgage lenders. Richard Stock of SPF Private Clients urges prospective borrowers to start preparing at least six months in advance of making a mortgage application, limiting their spending and paying off debts.

    With many of the MMR’s recommendations already adopted by lenders over the past few months, he says, its formal introduction could nevertheless still slow the market down for a while as the detail is implemented. Nevertheless, he adds, ‘The new mortgage rules will take some of the heat out of the housing market but they won’t ‘fix’ its problems, nor stop house prices from rising.’

    The Brentwood Gazette

    8th May 2014
  • Leeds offers 10-year Help to Buy mortgage. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said these products were important for first-time buyers, who are the ‘lifeblood’ of the housing market. ‘However, the borrower should consider whether fixing for ten years is a good idea,’ he added.

    The Financial Times

    7th May 2014
  • There were concerns that the MMR would lead to mortgages being harder to get. Mark Harris at broker SPF Private Clients said that many banks and building societies had been following the new rules for some time. ‘We are not suddenly seeing scores of declined applications,’ he said.

    However, Harris added that lenders were looking at applications in much more detail and said that in some cases, common-sense decisions were not being made. ‘For example, one client would have been 71 when his mortgage was paid off but the lender said they couldn’t lend past 70.

    ‘He was 66 and taking a five-year term, so we suggested a four-year term but the lender said it didn’t offer deals over four years.’

    The Daily Express

    7th May 2014
  • Before applying for a mortgage, control your outgoings. Adrian Anderson, of Anderson Harris, the mortgage broker, says: ‘Before applying, you need to know exactly how much you spend on so-called committed outgoings, such as food, utility bills and commuting; and on discretionary spending, which is things like meals out. There may not be much you can do about the committed outgoings but you should be careful with your discretionary spend before making an application. Sensible applicants will act as though they already have the mortgage, and trim their spending accordingly.’

    The Times

    7th May 2014
  • Pay off your debts before applying for a mortgage. Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, the mortgage broker, says: ‘Lenders will want to see evidence that you can pay back loans and cards on time and in full each month. If you do so, you will appear to be a much better risk than someone who only makes the minimum payments or doesn’t pay off debts in the agreed timeframe. Before you make an application, clear as much debt as you can to maximise the amount you can borrow.’

    The Times

    7th May 2014
  • How long should you fix for? Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said fixing for a decade could be a good option. ‘A ten-year fixed rate option widens the choice available to those taking advantage of the government’s scheme and gives security for a longer period of time. The rate isn’t bad either.’

    The Independent

    7th May 2014
  • Moving or improving is a hard choice. Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion, says that it can be difficult for homeowners to decide whether or not to move if they need more space.

    ‘Both moving and staying put and improving have their merits,’ he says.

    ‘Moving can mean being closer to work, school or parks for the children to play in or living in a better area but stamp duty and other fees for the mortgage, solicitor or removals can soon add up.’

    Confused.com

    6th May 2014
  • If you want a mortgage, prepare for a lengthy interrogation. Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, advised: ‘Cut back for three months before applying for a mortgage: pay off debts and simply spend less.

    ‘In the past, borrowers reined back their spending once they had a mortgage and had to pay it each month; now you should act as though you already have that commitment in place and reduce your spending accordingly.’

    The Independent

    3rd May 2014
  • Lenders are concerned about false buy-to-let loan applications. ‘Lenders are aware that borrowers may try to pull the wool over their eyes, so they apply plausibility checks to ensure what they are saying is true,’ says Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Times

    3rd May 2014
  • How can I have a perfect garden without gardening? Robin Gould of buying agency Prime Purchase, reports that for his older, and often retired, clients — who have the time to potter about dead-heading roses — mature gardens are still a must. Non-city parents may well be interested in growing some of their own food, too. ‘They often want a few chickens — a little slice of the good life’ says Gould.

    The Times

    2nd May 2014
  • House-price growth is at its fastest since 2007, says the Nationwide. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said ‘The housing market is showing no signs of slowing. Despite the Land Registry reporting that house prices have started to wobble, as far as Nationwide is concerned the pace of house-price growth is accelerating.’

    The Independent

    1st May 2014
  • Annual house-price growth has reached double digits, according to the Nationwide. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘With house-price growth across the country over the past 12 months hitting double digits for the first time in four years, the housing market is showing no signs of slowing. Despite the Land Registry reporting yesterday that house prices have started to wobble, as far as this lender is concerned the pace of house-price growth is accelerating.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    1st May 2014
  • House sales rose by 46 per cent. Nicholas Ayre of home buying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘The capital’s housing market doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. While parts of the country are starting to see a slowdown in price rises, the capital defies the odds. Pressure to buy is still considerable with many buyers competing via open houses and sealed bids for a limited amount of stock.The increased availability of mortgage finance at higher loan-to-values is finally making it possible for many frustrated first-time buyers to take a step onto the ladder. The real challenge is finding a property you can afford to buy and being able to secure it in the face of stiff competition before prices move higher still.’

    The Independent

    30th April 2014
  • If there is a London housing bubble, it shows no signs of bursting. Nicholas Ayre of buying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘The capital’s housing market doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. Pressure to buy is still considerable with many buyers competing via open houses and sealed bids for a limited amount of stock. The real challenge is finding a property you can afford to buy and being able to secure it in the face of stiff competition before prices move higher still.’

    The Evening Standard

    30th April 2014
  • When spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds on an overseas property, it’s vital to get the finance right, says Miranda John of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. She says the simplest way to fund your purchase may be to release equity from your home in the UK, either through your current lender or by remortgaging to another bank or building society.

    If you plan to service your mortgage from your UK income, it makes sense to borrow in sterling because that protects you from sudden currency shifts, which could bump up the cost of your repayments. Alternatively, she adds, you can take out a mortgage locally in the currency of the country you’re buying in, secured on your holiday home.

    The Daily Express

    30th April 2014
  • As the pound rises how can you benefit when buying abroad? Miranda John of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘American mortgages vary between states but 80% LTV can be achieved, while long-term fixed rates of up to 30 years are common. Rates start from 4.85%.’

    The Sunday Times

    27th April 2014
  • Buckle up for a rise in the base rate but don’t panic as mortgage rates are still more than reasonably priced. ‘Longer-term fixes of five years are still incredibly cheap,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris.

    The Sunday Express

    27th April 2014
  • First-time buyers are hit by rate rises on Help to Buy deals. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The introduction of the MMR means greater costs for lenders in training advisers and spending extra time processing applications, costs that will be passed on to the borrower.’

    The Sunday Times

    27th April 2014
  • Homebuyers are to receive a reality check with stricter rules on lending. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The cost of short-term fixes is rising, but it is not the end of them, as they will still suit many borrowers.’ Most banks are already stress-testing affordability against a notional rate and not the two-year fixed rate. However, although these deals will continue to be available, they look set to become rather more expensive.’

    The Times

    26th April 2014
  • Homebuyers are to receive a reality check with new mortgage rules. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘If borrowers are being stress-tested to ensure they can afford repayments when rates are higher, there is no need to abolish cheap, short-term fixed rates. The next time banks need to lend to hit their targets they will release highly competitive short-term fixed rates, no doubt about that.’

    The Times

    26th April 2014
  • New mortgage rules are set to push up rates. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘If borrowers are being stress-tested to ensure they can afford repayments when rates are higher, there is no need to abolish cheap short-term fixed rates. The next time banks need to lend to hit their targets they will release highly competitive short-term fixed rates.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    26th April 2014
  • The housing crisis overtakes transport as the biggest concern for Londoners. Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘The market has a 2007 feeling — if you don’t buy now and pay that extortionate price, there is a long queue of people behind you ready to jump in.’

    The Evening Standard

    16th April 2014
  • Homebuyers face being quizzed over their spending as mortgage rules tighten. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, advised would-be buyers to limit their spending well before they are interviewed about their bank statements. ‘Our advice is to cut back for three months before applying for a mortgage,’ he said. ‘Pay off debts and simply spend less. In the past, borrowers reined back their spending once they had a mortgage and had to pay it each month; now you should act as though you already have that commitment in place and reduce your spending accordingly.’

    The Evening Standard

    22nd April 2014
  • Two-hour quizzes for borrowers are entirely possible under the new loans rules. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, advised: ‘Cut back for three months before applying for a mortgage: pay off debts and simply spend less. In the past, borrowers reined back their spending once they had a mortgage and had to pay it each month; now you should act as though you already have that commitment in place and reduce your spending accordingly.’

    The Independent

    25th April 2014
  • On buying a house at auction, Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It is vital finance is organised up front, whether it be cash for the deposit, or a mortgage, and this should be a ‘mortgage offer’ as opposed to a ‘decision in principle’, which some buyers rely on at their peril.’

    The Times

    21st April 2014
  • Tougher mortgage rules coming in later this week could make it harder to get a mortgage. Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson ­Harris, said: ‘The main difference is that previously an applicant declared their outgoings and the lender took a cursory look at bank statements; now the bank is likely to go through them with a fine tooth comb. Our advice is to cut back for three months before applying for a mortgage: pay off debts and simply spend less.’

    The Daily Express

    21st April 2014
  • With the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) introduced in less than a week, borrowers are being urged to brace themselves for a big change when it comes to applying for home loans. ‘Post-MMR, the lender is likely to go through your bank statements with a fine-tooth comb,’ says Adrian Anderson from broker Anderson Harris. ‘Payments for pet or dental insurance, or direct debits to wine companies, will all count against you.’

    The Sunday Express

    20th April 2014
  • Mortgage lending has increased to its highest level in a decade, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.  Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said borrowers need to be ‘vigilant’ about the possibility of interest rates rising as the economy continues to improve. He suggested that those people who are worried that they might over-stretch themselves financially when interest rates rise could consider taking out a fixed-rate mortgage.

    The Daily Telegraph

    17th April 2014
  • Mortgage lending has gone up by more than a third according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The lending market continues to strengthen as a result of the combination of cheap finance and lenders with a real appetite to lend. With the MMR introduced next weekend, some borrowers will find the mortgage application process more protracted but with many lenders having already introduced the new rules, it should be a fairly smooth transition on the whole.’

    The Independent

    17th April 2014
  • More detailed questions into earnings will have to be asked before a mortgage can be approved. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said those with a good financial record – for example, a high credit score, relatively few bills and other commitments, and a decent surplus of funds each month which is put into savings or left in a bank account – could be able to borrow up to five times their salary. This applies to couples as well as single applicants. A single person earning £35,000 a year who meets the requirements may be able to borrow up to £175,000, while a couple each earning that amount could qualify for as much as £350,000.

    The Guardian

    11th April 2014
  • Applying for a loan is about to get tougher. Adrian Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says those remortgaging are in for a shock. ‘Before, you might have declared your outgoings and the lender took a cursory look at your bank statements; post-MMR they will go through them in great detail, paying attention to outgoings they may not have considered before, from pet insurance to gambling.’

    The Times

    5th April 2014
  • Before going to an open house you have to do your research. ‘Check out readily available facts such as lease length, go online to check out the postcode and street, and look at comparable properties to see whether the pricing is out of kilter,’ advises Nicholas Ayre of buying agency Home Fusion.

    The Metro

    11th April 2014
  • House prices took a dip in March, according to the Halifax. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Monthly house price figures can be volatile so it would be premature to read too much into this fall in prices in March. Over three months, prices continued to rise so this could well be just a blip. The Bank of England credit conditions survey showed that lenders expect heightened demand between April and June and are preparing to do more lending on the back of this. This suggests that any dip in lending now is not the beginning of a sustained decline. The lack of stock coming to the market is the real issue slowing everything down, with buyers competing at a frenzy of open houses and on sealed bids. New homes are being built but they simply can’t be built quickly enough.

    ‘However, the Halifax believes rising house prices might persuade homeowners to cash in on their growing equity and move up the housing ladder. This would free up some housing stock and make it easier for first-time buyers.’

    The Independent

    4th April 2014
  • To get ahead of the pack in a booming market, you need to have your mortgage in place, advises Nicholas Ayre of buying agency Home Fusion. ‘That way, when you come to make an offer, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you can move quickly and are a serious buyer,’ he says. ‘Typically, a mortgage agreement in principle lasts for six months and isn’t specific to any particular property. However, don’t panic and assume you have to stick with this deal if your bid is accepted.

    The Guardian

    10th April 2014
  • Tracker mortgages can be more attractive than fixed rates. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said he believed rates would not rise above 2pc in the next five years. He said the economy was still in a state of recovery and couldn’t yet cope with sustained rate rises. Mr Harris said borrowers who had financial flexibility should consider a tracker. ‘They could be the cheaper option over five years. But trackers are only for borrowers who can afford to be wrong if rates move against them.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    13th April 2014
  • The latest CML figures show a 33 per cent year-on-year growth in mortgage lending in February. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, stated Help to Buy has made it much easier for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.

    On top of this, lenders are also more generally showing a greater appetite to lend at higher loan-to-values. He added the introduction of MMR should allay any fears that borrowers will be ‘tempted to overstretch themselves’.

    Zoopla

    10th April 2014
  • Deposits for first-time buyers are hitting around £26,000, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. George Spencer, of lettings agent Rentify, said: ‘Buy-to-let goes from strength to strength with nearly a 50% uplift in the volume of lending compared with the same month last year.’

    He added: ‘Cheap mortgage rates and an increase in appetite among lenders are playing a part but it also shows that landlords being more savvy with their money, keen not to pay over the odds for advertising, letting and property management services. The Budget changes to annuities should further boost the buy-to-let sector with more pensioners choosing property as an alternative to pensions in retirement.’

    Moneywise

    10th April 2014
  • A garage in London has been put onto the market for £300,000, Zoopla revealed. Rory Penn, of Mayfair estate agency VanHan, said: ‘Parking spaces in prime central London are without doubt the most unrecognised investment opportunity. Some have risen by 100 per cent in value in just two years and this trend shows no sign of abating. For example, secure underground parking spaces in Knightsbridge can cost around the same as a good house in many UK postcodes.

    ‘There is a huge lack of supply and many high-net-worth individuals living in London’s most desirable addresses require parking for their car collections or staff. They will often pay any price for this, due to the convenience, making them an incredible mid-term investment if you purchase and flip it on for a profit.’

    Zoopla

    10th April 2014
  • Owning a small holding is becoming increasingly popular. ‘The other buyer type we see is someone who’s never experienced farm living, but has long been a frustrated farmer,’ suggests Charlie Wells of buying agency Prime Purchase.

    PrimeLocation

    9th April 2014
  • On buying property in Spain, Sean Adams of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said it is common practice to ask the owner or estate agent to remove a property from the market while you arrange the legal side of the deal. ‘If you are satisfied with the first legal checks, you would normally be expected to pay a 10pc deposit to secure the sale,’ he adds.

    The Telegraph

    9th April 2014
  • Homeowners stuck on their lender’s expensive standard variable rate may find it even harder to remortgage elsewhere, according to Mark Harris from broker SPF Private Clients. ‘These individuals could effectively become ‘mortgage prisoners’ who cannot move on to another deal,’ he says. ‘This may be fine while interest rates are low but will become an issue once they start to rise.’

    The Daily Express

    9th April 2014
  • You can still go direct to a mortgage lender after 26 April but that bank or building society will then have to give you advice, says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Note, though, that your bank’s in-house adviser will not be independent, because staff are able to discuss only the bank’s own products,’ he says.

    The Daily Express

    9th April 2014
  • Remortgaging is on the increase, according to figures from property specialists LMS. ‘With rates edging upwards, there is no better time to refinance,’ says Adrian Anderson from broker Anderson Harris. ‘Even those on cheap legacy trackers should seriously consider a fix now before they get more expensive.’

    The Sunday Express

    6th April 2014
  • There is little point trying to rush into getting a mortgage before the MMR comes into play. Mark Harris from broker SPF Private Clients says: ‘Many lenders are already MMR-compliant, so there is no advantage in rushing to remortgage before the end of the month.’

    The Sunday Express

    6th April 2014
  • The average London home sells for £362,000 according to Nationwide. ‘This will not completely comfort those worried about a house-price bubble,’ said Rory Penn, of London estate agency VanHan. ‘However, there are signs that growth is moderating This cooling will only be moderate, all things considered, given the continued strong demand from buyers combined with a structural lack of supply.

    ‘Rising consumer confidence among borrowers, increased lending and government schemes such as Help to Buy, are all contributing to the uplift in property prices. London again led the surge, with the average property costing twice as much as elsewhere in the UK. This is causing more Londoners to stay put rather than make the natural progression out to the countryside, fearful that they will ever afford to buy in London again, and further contributing to the shortage of stock for sale in the capital.’

    The Independent

    2nd April 2014
  • Stress testing will now be implemented before a mortgage is approved, due to the new MMR rules. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘If you cannot meet the higher repayments, the lender will reject your application.’

    The Times

    5th April 2014
  • Soaring London Prices create a record gulf between the capital and the rest of the country. Rory Penn of London estate agency VanHan, said the capital’s runaway market ‘is causing more Londoners to stay put rather than make the natural progression out to the countryside, fearful that they will ever afford to buy in London again, and further contributing to the shortage of stock for sale.’

    The Evening Standard

    2nd April 2014
  • The house price gap between London and UK is at its highest level in 40 years. Rory Penn of London estate agent VanHan, said the surge in London prices was causing homeowners to ‘stay put rather than make the natural progression out to the countryside, fearful that they will never afford to buy in London again.’

    This trend, he said, was ‘further contributing to the shortage of stock for sale in the capital.’ He added: ‘In some areas the shortage of decent property for sale is creating a frenzy, with packed open houses, sealed bids and gazumping.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    2nd April 2014
  • House prices are up 8.7 per cent from March last year, according to the Halifax. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said the month-on-month fall in house prices ‘could well be just a blip’. He said: ‘This suggests that any dip in lending now is not the beginning of a sustained decline. The lack of stock coming to the market is the real issue slowing everything down, with buyers competing at a frenzy of open houses and on sealed bids. New homes are being built but they simply can’t be built quickly enough.’

    The Independent

    4th April 2014
  • Are basement excavations worth the costs? ‘Much depends on the location as to whether it will pay for itself; in prime central London it totally will, and in south west London where more families are digging down to create more space, it also makes financial sense,’ said Hugo Thistlethwayte of buying agency Prime Purchase.

    ‘But beyond actually paying for itself in terms of what you get back when you sell the property, if the basement gives your family the space it needs so you can stay put rather than move, it can save you tens of thousands of pounds in stamp duty alone so could be worth it.’

    Yahoo Finance

    28th March 2014
  • Will a housing bubble hurt shared ownership buyers? Nicholas Ayre of home-buying agency Home Fusion, warns: ‘The main downside is that if you buy a 70 per cent stake in a property, you will owe 30 per cent of what you sell for – not what you bought for.‘If property prices do soar you will end up paying a lot more back than you would have if you’d paid the full amount at the outset [with shared ownership].’

    Ayre still thinks the gamble can be worthwhile although he warns shared ownership buyers that they will have to foot 100 per cent of their repair bills, even though they may only own 30 per cent of their property. ‘You may decide that a share of something is better than nothing if you can’t afford to buy otherwise, as the stake you do own will be worth that much more.’

    The Metro

    27th March 2014
  • Housing prices are shown to be steadying out in March, according to the Nationwide house price index. Rory Penn of London estate agency VanHan, thinks the market still has some way to go before it returns to normal conditions. ‘This cooling will only be moderate, all things considered, given the continued strong demand from buyers combined with a structural lack of supply,’ he stated. Sensibly-priced housing is selling extremely quickly, while the lack of available stock is leading to a “frenzy” in some areas, Mr Penn remarked.

    Zoopla

    2nd April 2014
  • When choosing a mortgage, Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It’s vital that you shop around and find the best mortgage for your circumstances. There are plenty of cheap deals available but few people have time to unearth all of them so an independent mortgage broker is invaluable in sorting through and finding you the most competitive rate. If that deal happens to be available direct from a lender, the broker will tell you that too so you don’t miss out.’

    The Daily Express

    26th March 2014
  • The average property price in London has risen by 13.8 per cent, according to the Land Registry. Commenting on the figures Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘There are growing fears that if we are not in bubble territory yet it won’t be long before we are, with the Bank of England raising the alarm about borrowers over-extending themselves.’

    The Metro

    28th March 2014
  • UK property has seen the biggest jump in prices since 2010. Estate agency VanHan says that property prices are being pushed up by a structural lack of supply, a burgeoning mortgage market and improving consumer confidence. ‘While central London storms ahead, regional house prices will play catch up for a few years as mortgage-financed buyers re-enter the market, taking advantage of the cheap rates available,’ says Rory Penn of VanHan.

    CityAM

    25th March 2014
  • It might be worth considering a shorter-term mortgage. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘If you only have a small deposit, consider taking out say a two-year fix rather than a five-year deal. If property prices keep rising, in two years’ time you will have a better equity stake in your home so will be able to remortgage on to another deal at a lower rate of interest.’

    The Daily Express

    26th March 2014
  • House prices continue their London-driven rise. ‘With new mortgage lending and approvals up 50 per cent on a year ago to the highest level since August 2008, demand for borrowing continues to soar,’ commented Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris. ‘Rising property prices are a concern for buyers, particularly first-timers who have saved hard for a modest deposit and are worried about being priced out further. The lack of stock is the main issue and while the Budget emphasised the need to build more homes, they simply can’t be built quickly enough.’

     

    The Independent

    25th March 2014
  • Latest figures from the Land Registry show house prices up more than 5 per cent. Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘The gulf in property prices across the UK grows ever bigger with London house prices hitting a new all-time high. There are growing fears that if we are not in bubble territory yet it won’t be long before we are, with the Bank of England raising the alarm about borrowers over-extending themselves. The problem mortgage borrowers have is that they are competing against cash buyers who don’t have the same affordability constraints.’

    The Independent

    28th March 2014
  • The average UK house price hits £254,000. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said rising property prices are a concern for buyers, particularly first-timers who have saved hard for a modest deposit and are worried about being priced out further. ‘The lack of stock is the main issue and while last week’s Budget emphasised the need to build more homes, they simply can’t be built quickly enough,’ he said.

    The Daily Telegraph

    25th March 2014
  • House prices continue their London-driven rise. Rory Penn of London estate agency VanHan, said: ‘House-price growth continues to accelerate, with parts of the UK performing particularly strongly, but talk of a house price bubble on a national level is still overplayed. Property prices are being boosted by a structural lack of supply, a growing mortgage market and improving consumer confidence. While central London storms ahead, regional house prices will play catch up for a few years as mortgage-financed buyers re-enter the market, taking advantage of the cheap rates available.’

    The Independent

    25th March 2014
  • UK house prices are accelerating, according to the ONS. ‘The market goes from strength to strength,’ said Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris. ‘Rising property prices are a concern for buyers, particularly first-timers who have saved hard for a modest deposit and are worried about being priced out further. The lack of stock is the main issue and while the Budget emphasised the need to build more homes, they simply can’t be built quickly enough.’

    BBC News

    25th March 2014
  • How long should I tie myself into a fixed rate mortgage for? Given that the cost savings at the short-term end of the market are not huge right now, many borrowers are erring on the side of caution. ‘A five-year fix pegged at around 3 per cent is the horse to back for long-term security,’ says Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Times

    22nd March 2014
  • Around a quarter of interest-only mortgages are set to end by 2020. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said he thought borrowers in this position would take advantage of being able to access their cash. ‘A lot of clients have mixed investment portfolios and strategies with the pension pot just one aspect. They may have other investments that can be used to fund their retirement, such as investment properties,’ he said.

    The Guardian

    20th March 2014
  • Reactions to the 2014 budget. Paul Frost of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘Mansion tax is the measure that many homeowners are really panicking about and a Conservative Chancellor was never going to drop that bombshell in this Budget. However, it is telling that the level at which those buying property via a corporate envelope will have to pay 15 per stamp duty has fallen from £2m to £500,000, not long after the higher level was introduced. There are fears that such a tax creep would be similarly applied to mansion tax were it to be introduced, so that while it may initially hit what you might consider rich people owning a £2m home, before long it would drip down so that those earning a £1.5m or £1m home would be affected. Clearly there is precedence here and that will worry many people.

    ‘Will the reduction in purchase prices from £2m to £500,000 have any impact? It might put off a buyer from Paris from purchasing a one-off pied a terre in the middle of London via a corporate envelope but many will simply buy in their own name instead. It will be interesting to see whether overseas investors will be deterred from snapping up several flats at around £650,000 a pop in say Battersea Power Station but in such an instance many of these would be rented out anyway. It will be interesting to see how this will be policed – will they need to be let all the time? What about void periods and what is a reasonable void? It could turn into a logistical nightmare for the Government.

    ‘The Chancellor missed an opportunity in not reforming stamp duty as it completely skews the market. It should be removed entirely for first-time buyers as it’s an unwelcome extra to find when you are buying a home, trying to get a deposit together and don’t have much spare cash. However, there may be accusations that this would be inflationary and push up prices, with the money that would normally have gone towards stamp duty being put towards the purchase price instead.’

    PrimeResi

    19th March 2014
  • How to survive the 2014 budget. Borrowers – Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients

    ‘The long overdue reform of the archaic stamp duty land tax system was left alone for another year at least. However, anyone buying a residential property costing more than £500,000 through a corporate envelope will pay 15 per cent stamp duty unless the property is let.

    ‘The first phase of Help to Buy has been a huge success, and its extension is welcome news for housebuilders. Unsurprisingly, no announcement was made regarding an extension of the second phase of the scheme, as it has not been running long.’ Mr Harris’ top tip is: ‘First-time buyers should consider Help to Buy but also look beyond the scheme. There are high loan-to-value deals available from the building societies, often at cheaper rates.’

    The Times

    19th March 2014
  • Reactions to the 2014 budget. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Many of the housing measures in the Budget were leaked beforehand with the extension of the first phase of Help to Buy and the creation of 15,000 homes at Ebbsfleet. There could have been more specifically targeted at first-time buyers but Help to Buy is a big deal and is making such a difference to those struggling to get on the ladder that they can’t claim to have been ignored.

    ‘The long overdue wholesale reform of the archaic Stamp Duty Land Tax system was left alone for another year at least. However, anyone buying a residential property over £500,000 through a corporate envelope will pay 15 per cent stamp duty unless the property is let from midnight tonight. But as long as the same exclusions apply as before – that property development companies with a track record are excluded – then it is unlikely to create much of an issue. Generally, most wealthy people are now buying in their own names anyway.

    The first phase of Help to Buy has been a huge success and its extension will be welcome news for house builders, whose shares have already risen accordingly. It is not surprising that no announcement was made regarding an extension of the second phase of the scheme as it has not been running for long and has proven to be controversial. But although it has been blamed for rising house prices, it has not created a house-price bubble, as take up has not yet been extensive.

    ‘We welcome the news that the Government wants to get Britain building and the £0.5bn allocated for small house builders, who struggle to raise finance. While self-builders will get £150m to support their ‘right to build’ their own homes, one of the problems facing this group is that they are often outbid when it comes to securing a development opportunity in the first place, such as a bungalow on a nice plot which can be knocked down and rebuilt. Developers can bid for cash and regularly outbid the individual who doesn’t have the same resources. Although there will be more money available, it might still be hard for individuals to really take advantage of it and secure a suitable plot.

    ‘With ISAs becoming more attractive, one wonders whether the number of people investing in buy-to-let will fall as those who have been putting cash into property for better returns than they were getting on savings, return to cash. However, until we see a few interest rate rises it’s unlikely that cash ISAs will generate serious returns to rival some yields generated on buy-to-let.’

    PrimeResi

    19th March 2014
  • People who want to build their own home may find it easier after the Budget. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, welcomed the Right to Build scheme, but warned self-builders may struggle to secure a suitable piece of land. ‘One of the problems facing self-builders is that they are often outbid when it comes to securing a development opportunity in the first place, such as a bungalow on a nice plot which can be knocked down and rebuilt,’ he said. ‘Developers can bid for cash and regularly outbid the individual who doesn’t have the same resources. Although there will be more money available, it might still be hard for individuals to really take advantage of it and secure a suitable plot.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    19th March 2013
  • How do you prepare for a mortgage if you’re self employed? ‘If you have been self-employed for less than 18 months you may have no option but to wait a little longer until your business is more established before applying for a mortgage,’ says Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘If you do have a few years behind you, you might find that you are not able to borrow as much as you hoped, he warns. ‘Each lender has a different approach to how they will calculate borrowings – some may take an average of your income over the past three years rather than the best year.’

    The Observer

    16th March 2014
  • Bank rates are set to rise. Adrian Anderson of the broker Anderson Harris added: ‘If you aren’t due to buy or refinance for some time, don’t panic.

    ‘Mortgage rates will rise over the coming months, but are likely to do so slowly and, when placed in a historical context, you will still be getting exceptional value for money.’

    The Sunday Times

    16th March 2014
  • Once they start rising, interest rates could rise quickly. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Borrowers on super-low variable rates of 1% or less are probably happy to stay where they are for now.’

    The Sunday Times

    16th March 2014
  • The budget 2014, what needs to be done. Hugo Thistlethwayte of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘There is endless debate about whether the wealthy should be hit via a mansion tax but it would be far fairer to look at a tax on profit already made (capital gains tax) and a tax on your contribution to the environment you live in (council tax).

    ‘Currently, no CGT is charged on the sale of a principal private residence but is this right? If you buy a property for £10m and then sell it for £25m, is it fair that the Government doesn’t see any of this appreciation in value? A certain amount of the value of the home should be tax free – say £5m – and then CGT charged on anything above that, perhaps a 10 per cent tax on any uplift above £5m. As a tax on profit already made it would be much fairer than stamp duty.

    Council tax reform is also required but following the disaster that was the Poll Tax, the Conservatives seem too scared to tweak it. It needs new bandings as a minimum as it has not been reformed since 1989 so whether your home is worth £5m or £25m, the council tax you pay is the same. The Government should consider index linking it, or introducing higher bands at the top of the scale but it would be a more sensible way of charging than a mansion tax, which is purely a tax on wealth and on the south and London in particular. Most of Europe has higher local taxes so the wealthy foreigners buying in London will be well used to more of a tax take.

    ‘Stamp duty completely skews the market and needs urgent reform. It should be removed entirely for first-time buyers as it’s an unwelcome extra to find when you are buying a home, trying to get a deposit together and don’t have much spare cash. However, there may be accusations that this would be inflationary and push up prices.’

    PrimeResi

    14th March 2014
  • The budget 2014, what needs to be done. Nicholas Ayre of buying agency Home Fusion, says: ‘George Osborne should resist any temptation to restrict the sale of London property to overseas buyers. There are criticisms that foreigners leave their apartments and houses empty, creating a ghost town. But super prime developments such as Number One Hyde Park are not representative of the market as a whole. The overseas buyers I deal with want a return on their investment here and if they aren’t going to live in it themselves, they will rent it out.

    ‘It is worth remembering that many of the big developments in London would never have been built without demand from overseas buyers with the areas around Vauxhall and Battersea, for example, funded mainly by foreign investors. All this has an important trickle-down effect – the workman who digs the foundations for these buildings has to spend his money somewhere, for example, and it all goes back into the economy. Handled properly, the UK will continue to be a safe haven for investors from overseas, which will boost the economy.’

    PrimeResi

    14th March 2014
  • The budget 2014, what needs to be done. Anthony Ward Thomas of removals firm Ward Thomas, says: ‘Stamp duty is damaging the liquidity of the London property market. Paying £140,000 in stamp duty on a £2m home, for example, is a barrier to moving and for a healthy economy you need a flexible workforce who can move when they change jobs. With property prices rising significantly, stamp duty thresholds must be raised accordingly, or the ordinary working man or woman will be priced out further.

    ‘The Chancellor must also address the paralysis of the central London housing market as a result of foreign ownership. These owners don’t want to sell because of the significant CGT liability yet it’s not right that properties are uninhabited and not rented out when we have huge housing shortages.’

    PrimeResi

    14th March 2014
  • Loans to first time buyers are up by 38 per cent. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘With the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review just over a month away, there are fears that there will be a slowdown in lending as lenders get to grips with the new requirements. Processing times for mortgage applications are likely to increase as a more forensic approach to expenditure is adopted but it should result in a more sustainable mortgage market that works better for consumers and lenders.’

    The Independent

    13th March 2014
  • Loans to first-time buyers are up by 38 per cent, said the Council of Mortgage Lenders. George Spencer of lettings company Rentify, added: ‘While residential lending was affected by a seasonal dip, with January a subdued month compared with December, this wasn’t the case with the buy-to-let sector. Quite simply, buy-to-let goes from strength to strength. Both the number of loans for new purchase and remortgaging increased in January, as landlords took advantage of cheap mortgage rates and poor returns on savings to get into buy-to-let for the first time or expand their portfolios.’

    The Independent

    13th Marth 2014
  • Should more people be switching to a better mortgage deal? Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘When remortgaging or taking out a new mortgage deal, there are plenty of hidden ‘extras’ to bear in mind. Some of the cheapest rates come with the highest arrangement fees so work out the total cost – rate plus fees – when comparing mortgages. With a smaller mortgage the bigger the impact of a high fee so it might make more sense to opt for a higher rate in order to pay a lower fee. An independent mortgage broker will be able to do the sums for you and ensure you choose the right deal so that you don’t pay more than you need to.”

    Harris recommends looking for loans with free valuation and legal costs as part of the deal.

    Saga Online

    11th March 2014
  • An official probe finds out that 200 buyers were allowed to put down less than 5 per cent of the sale price. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The danger with a small deposit is that you don’t have a cushion if the market moves against you, and with Help to Buy the taxpayer loses out.’

    The Sunday Times

    9th March 2014
  • ‘The stamp duty system is archaic and fundamentally unfair,’ says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘It should be urgently reformed so that it is banded.’

    For example, Harris suggests that on a £300,000 home you would pay no stamp duty on the first £125,000, then 1 per cent on the amount between £125,000 and £250,000, and 3 per cent on the remaining £50,000.

    The Sunday Express

    8th March 2014
  • Are house part-exchange schemes good value for money? Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, warns that homeowners living in parts of the country where the housing market is buoyant should avoid part exchange if they want the best possible price for their property.

    The Observer

    8th March 2014
  • ‘Stamp duty is a burden for first-time buyers struggling to get on the housing ladder,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘When money is tight, stretching yourself to find the extra cash can be almost impossible.’

    The Sunday Express

    8th March 2014
  • House prices are rising at the fastest rate since 2007. Nicholas Ayre, of buying agency Home Fusion, said the figures may force the Bank of England to think about interest rates. ‘Does [governor Mark Carney] leave things as they are or seek to put some limitations on schemes such as Help to Buy in order to stop prices running away with themselves?” he asked. While he acknowledged the housing market is now ‘off the ventilator’, it is still not functioning normally and heavily indebted homeowners could find themselves in trouble when interest rates do eventually rise.

    Zoopla

    7th March 2014
  • Help to Buy allows borrowers to buy a home with less than a 5 per cent deposit. Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘It is very important that buyers have an equity stake in a property; one of the indicators that the booming housing market had got out of hand was that people were borrowing more than the purchase price and not investing anything themselves.

    ‘Prices can go down as well as up, and if you have little or nothing invested in your home, you are already in negative equity and will be trapped in the property, unable to move until prices recover. Having hardly any deposit is also a sign that a buyer is overstretched: it might make more sense to wait a while and save until you are in a stronger financial position before taking the plunge.’

    Zoopla

    6th March 2014
  • House prices are rising at their fastest annual rate since 2007. Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘Prices continue to rise, mainly owing to a lack of stock coming to market, but the average value remains 10 per cent below the August 2007 peak. The question is what does this mean for Mark Carney? Does he leave things as they are or seek to put some limitations on schemes such as Help to Buy in order to stop prices running away with themselves?

    ‘The housing market is off the ventilator and is breathing unassisted but it still needs oxygen. The market is not functioning normally because interest rates have had to remain at 0.5 per cent for five years. It is clear that this has been a long recovery and it is not over yet. When interest rates do start to rise, it will cause a real problem for those heavily indebted homeowners, and will need to be handled with care.’

    The Independent

    6th March 2014
  • Lack of supply is bumping up prices, says Nicolas Ayre of buying agency Home Fusion: ‘There are some concerns about buyers paying anything for a property owing to the lack of stock and a certain desperation,’ he says.

    City AM

    6th March 2014
  • Many of the MMR recommendations have already been implemented by lenders, says Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris. But he thinks the formal rolling out process could have a ‘dampening effect and slow the market down’ for a few months. ‘This will create problems for a busy housing market such as London in particular as it will have an impact on lenders’ ability to deliver,’ he said.

    Zoopla

    5th March 2014
  • The time it takes to get a mortgage may increase when the Mortgage Market Review is introduced. The more forensic approach to checking affordability will result in higher costs and Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, thinks these will end up being passed onto the customer. He also fears product innovation will be held back. ‘Making sure borrowers are not over-exerting themselves and that the borrowing is affordable is no bad thing. But there is the law of unintended consequences,’ he said.

    Zoopla

    5th March 2014
  • Mortgage approval rates are higher than they were back in 2007. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, is positive about the future of the sector, describing the BBA statistics as ‘one big step forward’.

    ‘The availability of high LTV mortgages has made it easier for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder and the increase in property values has also enabled homeowners to remortgage and buy their next property,’ he added. Mr Anderson also pointed to a significant increase in remortgaging, up 51 per cent year-on-year, as a lot of buyers have been able to take advantage of the Funding for Lending scheme to access money.

    Zoopla

    28th February 2014
  • A fast broadband speed is becoming increasingly important to buyers. Frank Speir of buying agency Prime Purchase says: ‘Seven or eight years ago, the issue of broadband speeds was never brought up by clients. Six years ago they started mentioning them as something nice to have, and now it is absolutely fundamental to many buyers that they have fast broadband.’

    One client buying in a small hamlet of four houses just outside Oxford went so far as to club together with neighbours to lay four miles of cable to get high-speed broadband, he adds. ‘It cost them £50,000 each, but they considered it worth it, as it enabled them to work from home and would also make the properties far more attractive to buyers in the future.’

    The Observer

    2nd March 2014
  • House prices are on the rise, which could result in a lack of affordability for first-time buyers. Rory Penn, of London estate agency VanHan, said: ‘Rising prices are bad news for first-time buyers who are paying significantly more than they were a year ago. If this trend continues, lack of affordability could start to become an issue. For now however, it is the best opportunity for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder for some years with interest rates at historic lows and mortgage availability improving, at least until the expected slowdown in April when the Mortgage Market Review is introduced.’

    The Independent

    28th February 2014
  • Borrowers on super-low standard variable rates or lifetime trackers should probably stay put, says Mark Harris at mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Base rates could still be as low as 2 per cent in early 2017, which means your deal should still be pretty affordable in three or four years’ time.’

    The Sunday Express

    1st March 2014
  • House prices are rising faster than at any time in the past four years. Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘Disparity across the UK gets even bigger with London prices driven by international demand. It raises the bigger question of whether domestic demand will eventually taper off and be swallowed up by international buyers, who are not constrained by needing a mortgage, which most domestic buyers are. At what stage do we reach the point when affordability stops domestic buyers getting the home they want in London?’

    The Independent

    28th February 2014
  • With base rates expected to rise from spring 2015, new and existing borrowers shouldn’t overstretch themselves, says Adrian Anderson at mortgage broker Anderson Harris. ‘But there is no need to panic about rate rises in the short term,’ he says. ‘If you are considering buying a property now, you might as well get on and do it.’

    If you want to remortgage to a cheaper deal, act sooner rather than later, he adds. ‘Mortgage rates are as low as they are ever likely to be, especially five-year fixes so you will get a good deal.’

    The Sunday Express

    1st March 2014
  • House prices are rising, but less people are selling. ‘With growth in property prices persisting in the capital and the feel-good factor now filtering out to the Home Counties, homeowners are happy to sit tight and enjoy the ride,’ says Rory Penn, of London estate agency VanHan. ‘We don’t see supply increasing any time soon as the majority of homeowners wait to see just how high values can go before cashing in.’

    The Times

    28th February 2014
  • Private renting has overtaken social housing for the first time. George Spencer of lettings agent Rentify, described the increase in the popularity of the private sector as ‘hugely significant’. ‘It illustrates just how important buy-to-let has become and the vital role private investors now play in providing housing in this country,’ he added.

    Zoopla

    26th February 2014
  • Mortgage approvals are at their highest level since 2007. Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Mortgage lending is no doubt higher as a result of Government initiatives, but also on the back of other lenders following suit and matching the Help to Buy deals out there. Remortgaging is high, stimulated by the fact that Funding for Lending money has enabled lenders to offer some of the lowest ever five year fixed rates. A lot of buyers have been able to take advantage of that. Borrowers sitting on high standard variable rates have jumped off and switched to lenders with more competitive rates.’

    The Independent

    26th February 2014
  • Lenders offer slightly different criteria so if one lender rejects your application, another may view you differently. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The big lenders typically make computer-based decisions which allows them to process a high volume of mortgages and offer ‘best buy’ rates but often struggle with more complex cases, such as somebody with multiple income sources.’

    The Daily Express

    26th February 2014
  • Mortgage rates may be falling but they are harder to get. The more details you give, the better your chances of success, says Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘It helps if you include, say, your work phone number, home phone number and mobile phone number on the application form. Provide as much detail as possible on previous addresses and take time to dig up the full postcodes.’

    The Daily Express

    26th February 2014
  • Buy-to-let mortgages are becoming increasingly attractive but there are still concerns. Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Many lenders have issues with first-time landlords who don’t have a main residence. So if you haven’t bought a property that you live in you may struggle to get a buy-to-let loan. This is mostly due to concerns about ‘back door buy-to-lets’ where a borrower takes on a bigger loan than they could on a residential basis but ends up living in the property themselves.’

    The Times

    25th February 2014
  • Should stamp duty should be abolished for first-time buyers? Experts disagree on how the tax should be reformed. ‘The tax should be abolished altogether for first-time buyers and swapped from being a purchasing tax to a selling tax,’ said Guy Meacock of buying agency Prime Purchase.

     

    The Independent

    25th February 2014
  • Many homeowners will be worried that their homes are now simply unsellable as a result of the recent floods, and they’re right to be concerned. Robin Gould, of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘Undoubtedly the issue of flooding will have an impact on prices and the ability to sell, particularly in the current market which outside London is still not up to pre-2008 levels. In a stronger market, people are more willing to make allowances and are more confident about negotiating.’

    Yahoo Finance

    25th February 2014
  • Lenders are starting to relax their criteria when it comes to the self-employed. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘It can be tricky for contractors to get funding, so any new entrants to this market are welcome. Kensington’s new products have OK rates, but the lack of restrictions is the real bonus.’

     

    The Sunday Times

    23rd February 2014
  • People are reluctant to buy just above the stamp duty thresholds. Guy Meacock of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘We saw this at Collingham Gardens in South Kensington, where the agent had investors lining up to buy a ground-floor and basement conversion. It was worth around £2.2 million, but no one could be persuaded to exceed £2 million. The attitude of the buyers was ‘We don’t need to buy’, but the seller needed to sell, and he was stuck. In the end it came down to who could move fastest, with the seller losing £200,000.’

    The Times

    22nd February 2014
  • The average rate of an offset mortgage has gone down. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Offset mortgage rates tend to be a little higher than standard deals, partly because only a limited number of lenders offer them.’

    The Times

    22nd February 2014
  • Buyers can now pay for their homes via their mobile phone at Savills auctions. Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Buying property at auction is a serious business so it’s important that you understand exactly what you are getting into beforehand. Once the gavel comes down you are committed to the purchase; there is no ‘cooling off’ period so you need to have all your ducks lined up beforehand.’

    The Independent

    22nd February 2014
  • Offset home loans are increasingly popular among borrowers. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘If you are a taxpayer and have savings, an offset is worth considering. You pay income tax on any interest earned in standard savings accounts — so basic-rate taxpayers lose 20 per cent, higher-rate taxpayers 40 per cent and those in the top tax band 45 per cent. This way you avoid handing money to the taxman and save on interest charges to your lender.’

    The Times

    22nd February 2014
  • New builds in the commuter belt can offer tenants comforts and convenience. ‘The big advantage is that you know your costs; you won’t need to shell out for a new boiler a couple of months later or the roof is unlikely to cave in,’ says Paul Frost of buying agency Prime Purchase. ‘New-build property is proving particularly attractive as tenants would much rather have a shower that works and heating that comes on when it’s meant to,’ says Frost. The obvious downside of investment in a new build is the short-term fall in value, so it isn’t an option for those who want a sale return in a few years.

    The Evening Standard

    20th February 2014
  • Mortgage lending has gone up by a third. Hugo Thistlethwayte, of buying agency Prime Purchase, said: ‘The supply of homes coming onto the market is not keeping up with buyer demand, further pushing up prices. Whether this will mean the mortgage market can continue to grow month on month at the levels forecast by the Bank of England remains to be seen.

    ‘However, while prices are rising prime central London is not witnessing rampant house-price inflation. There is more equilibrium, with much of the growth already factored in and no particular pressure on prices. It is a sensible marketplace although stock levels are tight. We are still seeing plenty of overseas buyers interested in prime London homes. One issue with such purchasers is that they don’t release any stock into the market,  rather they are taking something out so putting further pressure on supply.’

    The Independent

    20th February 2014
  • Buying a cheap property in the suburbs with good transport links is a popular option.

    ‘Consider locations that have good transport links into the big cities but also have big businesses locally which can provide a plentiful source of prospective tenants,’ says George Spencer, of lettings company Rentify, who says considering a tenant’s potential costs is key to a good property investment.

    The Evening Standard

    20th February 2014
  • First-time buyers struggling to get onto the housing ladder in London are buying in the Alps instead, says Sean Adams of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, , as prices have taken a hit recently and represent better value than a few years ago. ‘You can get relatively high loan-to-value mortgages,’ he says. ‘Such apartments generate decent rental yields of five to six per cent. One French retail lender we spoke to last week said that out of all the non-residential mortgages it did in France last year, some 80 per cent were for those buying in the Alps, so there is a huge market.’

    Adams says entry level two-bed apartments in Austria sell for €120,000 to €150,000 and you would be looking at double that in the French and Swiss Alps. ‘The downside of such an investment is you can only rent it out from December to April but you should generate a high enough income in those months,’ says Adams.

    The Evening Standard

    20th February 2014
  • First-time buyers are over stretching themselves in order to buy their first home. Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris said any borrowers unable to meet their mortgage repayments should speak to their lender as soon as possible. ‘Contrary to popular belief lenders are not there to catch you out if you slip up. It’s in their interests for you to pay your mortgage,’ he said. ‘It may be possible for the mortgage term to be extended to make monthly payments more affordable, although this will cost you more in the long run as you’ll make more of them. Your lender may even agree to a payment holiday or let you put some of the mortgage on an interest-only basis.’

    The Daily Express

    19th February 2014
  • First-time buyers are stretching themselves too far to buy a home. Mark Harris at mortgage broker SPF Private Clients said buyers should also think about the impact of future interest-rate rises. ‘Rates are low now but will rise at some point, so you need to ensure you can afford your mortgage when it happens,’ he said. ‘Taking out a fixed-rate loan for five years is a good way to do this as it helps you budget for a decent period of time.’

    The Daily Express

    19th February 2014
  • Commenting on the potential for a rise in interest rates: ‘By far the most popular product among our clients is a five-year fix as it gives security for a reasonable period of time,’ said Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris.

    Zoopla

    17th February 2014
  • Commenting on the likelihood of interest rates rising. Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says that a fixed-rate mortgage may be the best option if you require ‘certainty’ to help with budgeting. ‘It is still possible to fix for five years at sub four per cent, which put into an historical context is a fantastic rate,’ said Harris.

    Zoopla

    17th February 2014
  • Experts are calling for stamp duty to be reduced. Mark Harris of mortgage brokers SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The whole Stamp Duty system is seriously outdated and in urgent need of reform. While property prices continue to rise, Stamp Duty thresholds have not kept pace so buyers are paying proportionately more than they should be, making life particularly hard for first-time purchasers. Thresholds need to be raised – and urgently.’

    Zoopla

    17th February 2014
  • The first rung of the property ladder is becoming more achievable. ‘With a limited (albeit increasing) supply of 95 per cent LTV products available and pricing relatively high (albeit falling), first-time buyers are still having to rely on savings or the Bank of Mum and Dad to get on to the housing ladder,’ says Mark Harris from broker SPF Private Clients. ‘The CML research shows the average LTV for first-timers in 2013 was 80 per cent.’

    The Sunday Express

    16th February 2014
  • Interest-only mortgages are becoming more accessible. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It can make sense for borrowers with irregular income patterns, such as bonuses.’

    The Sunday Times

    16th February 2014
  • Lenders are offering more buy-to-let mortgages with better rates on smaller deposits. George Spencer of lettings agency Rentify, said it was ‘encouraging’ that the range of products for larger loan-to-value advances was expanding.

    The Financial Times

    14th February 2014
  • The utility room is becoming an ever increasing trend. An alternative, as observed by Hugo Thistlethwayte, of buying agency Prime Purchase, is to have a utility room on the upper floors, where the bedrooms are, thus reducing the need for lugging laundry. Decor-wise, think Metro tiling and an ironic poster featuring women in the 1950s attacking their domestic chores with fervour.

    The Times

    14th February 2014
  • First-time buyers are driving the housing market. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Confidence is strong and an increasing number of buyers and movers are taking advantage of some rock-bottom mortgage rates, although longer-term fixed rates are starting to rise. Help to Buy continues to play a big part in encouraging first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder. However, beyond the scheme, lenders are offering high loan-to-value deals at even more competitive rates, so there are other options.’

    Mr Harris says that with the economic recovery ‘still in its infancy’ a rise in the Bank of England base rate is unlikely this year. The base rate has been helping to keep borrowers’ costs down by being held at a historic 0.5 per cent low for five years. But he said that swap rates, which lenders use to price their loans, have risen in the past few weeks, forcing some lenders to reprice their five-year fixed-rate mortgage deals upwards.

    Mr Harris said: ‘There is no need for borrowers to panic as rates are still very cheap from an historical perspective but (borrowers) should plan ahead and budget for when interest rates do rise to ensure they can afford their mortgage.’

    AOL Money

    13th February 2014
  • Commenting on the increase in number of first-time buyers to 37 per cent, Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Help to Buy continues to play a big part in encouraging first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder. However, beyond the scheme, lenders are offering high loan-to-value deals at even more competitive rates, so there are other options.’

    The Independent

    12th February 2014
  • Mortgage experts welcomed the respite for flood-afflicted homeowners. Jonathan Harris of Anderson Harris, the broker, said: ‘RBS and NatWest customers facing the devastation of a flood and the potentially prohibitive cost of putting it right will welcome this sensible move. It will be a relief for these homeowners to know that the money they would normally put towards their mortgage will be available to repair the flood damage instead, and particularly helpful for those without adequate home insurance.

    ‘Homeowners with other lenders could also consider approaching their bank to ask for similar help; depending on the lender, as long as they are up to date with their payments this may be a viable option.’

    The Times

    12th February 2014
  • Mortgage lending to first time buyers has risen by 37 per cent. George Spencer, of lettings agency Rentify, said: ‘Buy-to-let lending has ended 2013 on a high, with the last three months up 20 per cent compared to the same period in 2012, although the number of buy-to-let loans decreased by 10 per cent from November to December. We are seeing a buy-to-let market undergoing a seasonal, market adjustment after strong upwards momentum.

    ‘Traditionally, the ambition of people in the UK is to become a homeowner, but we are starting to see a change. As more people move to the UK from Europe, renting becomes more natural. After all the majority rent in many countries on the continent.’

    The Independent

    12th February 2014
  • Most people are going to mortgage brokers for advice but check how they are paid. Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘If the broker gets a fee from the bank, ask how you know that you are getting the best product and not one that pays the most commission to the broker.’

    The Times

    8th February 2014
  • Analysts have predicted that interest rates will rise earlier than forecast. Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘While Bank Rate has been at 0.5 per cent for five years and is expected to remain so for a while longer, a number of lenders have recently raised their five-year fixed rates on the back of higher Swap rates [the rates used by lenders to fix their mortgage rates]. The problem is that lenders don’t price their mortgages against Bank Rate but take several other factors into account, including Swap rates. Although Swaps have since dropped back a bit in the past week, fixed rate pricing has largely bottomed out and we expect lenders to raise their fixed rates accordingly in the coming weeks.

    ‘However, there is no need to panic. Five-year fixed rates continue to be popular because they give security for the medium term and are still very competitively priced. It is still possible to fix for five years at less than 3 per cent which is extremely good value.’

    Zoopla

    7th February 2014
  • House prices rose in January. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Confidence among buyers is high with regards to their ability to get mortgage finance and their belief that house prices will continue to rise so they need to move sooner rather than later.’ He said he believed lenders were keen to offer loans ahead of the introduction of new rules in April, which will mean they have to carry out tougher affordability checks on applicants.

    ‘With the Mortgage Market Review set to be introduced at the end of April, this will likely lead to a slowdown in lending as lenders get to grip with the changes they need to introduce. Lenders are therefore trying to get ahead of the game, so now is a good time to secure a competitive deal.’

    The Guardian

    6th February 2014
  • The average house price has risen 7.2% annually. Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘The definition of a house price bubble is when people will pay anything for a property. This is not what we are seeing here. Many people are still heavily indebted, particularly if they have maxed out on credit cards. This is hardly a market running away with itself.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    6th February 2014
  • The demand for homes is increasing. Nicholas Ayre of buying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘Buyers are considerably more optimistic than they were this time last year. Many are still concerned about the ‘bogy’ of an interest rate rise, although that is a tough call to tell when Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, will make his move. The same upward pressure on house prices is being felt, as supply constraints don’t appear to be ending anytime soon.’

    The Independent

    6th February 2014
  • Commenting on the trend of people having a longer mortgage term, Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The standard 25-year mortgage term is a thing of the past. Most young buyers, in particular, want to extend their terms as far as they can to keep down their monthly payments.’

    The Sunday Times

    2nd February 2014
  • Buyers are feeling confident. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Confidence among buyers is high with regards to their ability to get mortgage finance and their belief that house prices will continue to rise so they need to move sooner rather than later.’

    The Evening Standard

    6th February 2014
  • More people are buying property at auction. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘The big advantage of buying at auction is that the standard turnaround time is 28 days, which is far quicker than most people are used to.’

    The Sunday Times

    2nd February 2014
  • Commenting on the Bank of England lending data, Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said he expected to see a continued rise in mortgage lending in coming months as a new phase of Help to Buy, which was launched in October to offer state-backed mortgages to people with small deposits, ‘gets into its stride’.

    The Daily Telegraph

    30th January 2014
  • There has been a leap in mortgage approvals this year. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said he expected demand to keep rising in 2014, but that mortgages would not get any cheaper. ‘We expect this to continue this year as Help to Buy gets into its stride and lending appetite remains strong, with most lenders aiming to do more lending than they did last year,’ he said. ‘While we don’t expect mortgage rates to shoot up in the short term, fixed rates have bottomed out and are starting to climb again so borrowers need to think ahead. However, there is no need to panic just yet. It is still possible to fix for five years at around 3 per cent, which is incredibly good value.’

    BBC News

    30th January 2014
  • Mortgage lending is at a six-year high. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the continued uptick in lending volumes and loan approvals in December was ‘no surprise’. However, he said ‘the fact that these increases are significantly higher than the monthly average over the previous six months demonstrates the strong demand for mortgages and growing confidence in the housing market. We expect this to continue this year as Help to Buy gets into its stride and lending appetites remain strong, with most lenders aiming to do more lending than they did last year.’

    The Guardian

    30th january 2014
  • Commenting on house prices rising by 8.8 per cent in 2013, Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘What is really good news is that this is the first time we have seen first time buyers driving the market forwards and upwards, representing 44 per cent of lending activity in the last three months of 2013. This is critical to the wellbeing of the housing market, as it unlocks mobility, enabling subsequent buyers to move up the housing ladder and is not something we have seen for a while. We are also seeing a sensible mortgage market, with 20 per cent deposits for first time buyers and more mortgages being taken on a repayment basis as opposed to interest-only. While this is no doubt a reflection of the strict supply of interest-only mortgages, it also means that first time buyers are possibly getting help from the Bank of Mum and Dad and we are seeing some of the effects of Help to Buy filtering though into the numbers. The biggest threat comes from a lack of supply. Whilst the latest GDP figures show construction picking up, we are still faced with the long lead times to bring these properties to market.’

    The Independent

    29th January 2014
  • First-time buyers are returning to the market. Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, says: ‘We have seen first time buyers driving the market forwards and upwards. This is critical to the wellbeing of the housing market, as it unlocks mobility, enabling subsequent buyers to move up the housing ladder and is not something we have seen for a while.’

    Ayre also points out that the current mortgage market is ‘sensible’, with 20 per cent deposits for first-time buyers and more mortgages being taken on a repayment basis rather than interest-only. ‘While this is no doubt a reflection of the strict supply of interest-only mortgages, it also means that first time buyers are possibly getting help from the Bank of Mum and Dad and we are seeing some of the effects of [the government’s] Help to Buy [scheme] filtering though into the numbers.’

    The Observer

    29th January 2014
  • Borrowers are worried about interest rates rising. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris agrees that rock-bottom mortgage rates can only move upwards. ‘Norwich & Peterborough, Chelsea and Yorkshire building societies have pulled their flagship five-year fixes in response to recent increases in Swap rates [the price at which banks lend to each other],’ he says. ‘For a cheap fix, it is important to plan ahead.’

    The Sunday Express

    26th January 2014
  • A number of lenders offer fee-free deals and freebies but buyers should take care. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘It is important for any borrower to look at the total cost of the mortgage over a set period. Products that offer to pay the stamp duty or cashback, have no fees or a very low start rate will generally charge in other ways. For example, they may revert to a high standard variable rate at the end of the introductory period.’

    The Sunday Times

    26th January 2014
  • Flooded homes hung out to dry.

    ‘While a couple of the categories that have been excluded have been known for a while, such as SMEs, post-2009 new-builds and band H, the rest are a real surprise,’ says Richard Lowe, of broker SPF Insurance Services. ‘This makes a mockery of the Flood Re concept as being a mechanism to allow all property owners to purchase affordable flood cover.’

    sunday express

    26th January 2014
  • Consider what to do if interest rates rise.

    You can plan ahead to insure yourself against higher rates. Jonathan Harris of the broker Anderson Harris said: ‘If you want a cheap fixed rate but aren’t due to remortgage for several months you could always book a rate now and then take it out when your existing deal expires.’

    sunday times

    26th January 2014
  • Experts review their stance on interest rates.

    Some lenders have already been pulling more attractive deals. Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘Mortgage rates have already risen from their lowest point. With the Funding for Lending scheme no longer applying to residential loans, expect rates to creep up. If you can’t cope with an increase in mortgage costs, consider a longer-term fixed rate. A five-year deal looks a lot more sense than a two-year fix.’

    sunday times

    26th January 2014
  • Think through stress-testing and keep your credit history clean.

    Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Lenders don’t like payday loans as you are seen to be living beyond your means. Banks and building societies don’t like people to ‘sit’ in overdrafts either. Sometimes they will want an explanation for the use of such a facility, even if it is a one-off.’

    Anderson says it is as important as ever to have a good credit score before attempting to apply for a mortgage. ‘Lenders prefer applicants to have a clean credit history, with credit available but not used. Reduce your debt as much as possible before making a mortgage application to maximise the amount you can borrow.’

    times

    24th January 2014
  • On the implications of financial stress-testing.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Lenders may attempt to slow business levels down, potentially through raising rates, in readiness of its implementation and ensure resources and systems function correctly post-Mortgage Market Review. Once happy, lenders will increase their business levels again. Many lenders have already made criteria changes in advance of the Mortgage Market Review, such as reducing their exposure to interest-only loans.’

    times

    24th January 2014
  • Commenting on clearing your mortgage while you can.

    The numbers are compelling. ‘Overpaying a mortgage enables you to clear it ahead of schedule and save on the interest you pay,’ says Mark Harris, of the mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Paying off your mortgage early is one of the best investments you can make.’

    Mr Harris adds: ‘Check what your mortgage allows in terms of overpaying. Most lenders will let you overpay by up to 10 per cent of the mortgage amount each year.’

    times

    24th January 2014
  • Time for a five year fix?

    Mark Harris at mortgage broker SPF Private Clients says: ‘While it’s important not to panic as fixed rates are still incredibly cheap, there really is only one way for pricing to go – and that’s upwards. If you need to remortgage in the next few months, it’s worth looking at what is available now, and securing a deal in advance. Some lenders will let you secure a rate up to six months before you need it, so you can lock into a cheap fix now.’

    Harris says: ‘While two-year fixes are lower than their five-year equivalents, it might make sense to opt for the latter. Although there is an outside chance of an interest rate rise in the next couple of years, over three to five years the chance of a rate rise is far more likely, and a five-year fix will give security over the medium term.’

    But, he adds, don’t fix for longer than you’re absolutely sure about, or you will face a early repayment charge to exit the deal before the end of the fixed period.

    guardian

    24th January 2014
  • Interest rates to stay low

    ‘News that interest rates won’t rise any time soon, and when they do will remain lower than the ‘norm’ for several years, is great news for mortgage borrowers,’ said Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

    evening standard

    24th January 2014
  • The benefits of paying off a mortage early.

    Overpaying a mortgage is clearly becoming more common. ‘It enables you to clear the balance that you owe ahead of schedule and save on the interest you pay,’ says Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘This makes particular sense when interest rates are low so you are paying less than you normally would each month, or if you have savings earning not much in the way of interest. Most lenders will let you overpay by up to 10 per cent of the mortgage amount per annum.’

    times

    22nd January 2014
  • Financial Fitness

    And will interest rates rise? Adrian Anderson, of mortgage brokerage Anderson Harris, doesn’t see it happening in the short-term, but in the long term, rates can only go up — there’s no room to go lower. ‘So it’s important to ensure that you can afford your mortgage when this happens,’ he advises. ‘Longer-term fixed-rates look very good value, particularly five-year fixed rates, which start from less than 3 per cent.’

    times

    22nd January 2014
  • CML figures show mortgages on the rise.

    ‘We are seeing a revival in the mortgage industry,’ said  Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘This isn’t just about the government schemes and initiatives for the housing market such as Help to Buy, but more about a broader economic picture of recovery and sustainable growth. ‘The ‘feel-good’ factor is returning to the UK and home buyers are able to find the finance they need to buy the houses they want.’

    independent

    21st January 2014
  • Latest Bank of England figures.

    Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, pointed to the number of remortgage approvals rising on average by 15 per cent. ‘Many homeowners are staying put and making the most of the ultra-low mortgage rates,’ he said. ‘There are signs that the mortgage market is in rude health, with steady supply from the lenders at competitive rates.’

    independent

    21st January 2014
  • Hidden costs of mortgage incentives:

    Although lenders will still accept incentives within reason, Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says that it could affect the mortgage that can be achieved, depending on what the incentive is, and its value. ‘Developers tend to offer a range of sweeteners to tempt buyers to purchase a new-build property, such as discounts, rental guarantees on investment properties, stamp duty paid and interior package upgrades,’ he adds. ‘Out of all the incentives, stamp duty paid is probably the only one worth considering, given the premium normally paid on a new-build property.’

    independent on sunday

    19th January 2014
  • Mortgage price war from Help to Buy lenders.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The second stage has had a slow start, but as more lenders come on board, competition is driving a price war and pushing rates down. Lenders are offering more choice and improving the rates on offer, although they remain slightly higher than those for buyers with a bigger deposit.’

    observer

    19th January 2014
  • Looking for a longer fix?

    Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘It doesn’t make any sense to fix for two years: rates are unlikely to rise over this period and you could find yourself remortgaging just as interest rates do go up.’

    Harris said: ‘If you are on a super-low tracker, stick with it. You can switch to a fix when a rate rise is imminent — although bear in mind you will pay a higher rate at that time than if you fixed now.’

    sunday times

    19th January 2014
  • Longer term mortgage trend:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says the longer term loan has replaced the interest-only loan. ‘The demise of interest-only mortgages has coincided with the rise in longer mortgage terms. It didn’t matter what the term was with an interest-only mortgage, but with repayment it has an effect on the monthly cost.’

    times

    17th January 2014
  • One criterion for finding a good tenant:

    Pick a respectable lettings agent to find your tenant. Also, use the internet to gain a rounded impression of your tenant-to-be. George Spencer, of the online lettings service Rentify, suggests making payment of rent by direct debit a condition of the tenancy agreement.

    times

    17th January 2014
  • First Time Buyers surge.

    Mark Harris, of the mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the new year had ‘got off to an extremely busy start, with the Help to Buy scheme playing a big part in encouraging first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder.’ He added that pressure to raise interest rates had been relieved, following the unexpected news that inflation had fallen…..

    ‘With the consumer prices index falling to the 2% target, any pressure to raise interest rates in the short term has been relieved. Interest rates are not expected to rise this year, which will further fuel confidence among buyers. However, it’s important that borrowers plan ahead and budget for when interest rates do rise to ensure they can afford to pay their mortgage.’

    guardian

    15th January 2014
  • Commenting on ONS house price rises:

    ‘The regions are becoming more buoyant. In the south east we are seeing the flow of those buyers, particularly UK-based buyers, being ousted from the London property market and having to look further out, thus providing a halo effect on prices,’ said Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris

    BBC News

    14th January 2014
  • Homes ‘earn’ Londoners more than their jobs.

    Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said the rise in prices in London is ‘double the UK average growth rate and it continues to be the real driver of house prices.’

    He added: ‘This is down to its international status, with overseas money coming into London, attracted by a relatively weak sterling but also because London is considered a safe haven with a steady political system at its core.

    ‘But London is not just about oligarchs parking several million in cash here, it is also about families wanting their offspring to attend schools in London. The banking sector has also picked up and is providing a fillip to the market.’

    evening standard-front page

    14th January 2014
  • Impact of tougher lending criteria from April 2014:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, adds: ‘While many of the recommendations have already been adopted by lenders, its formal introduction could well slow the market down for a couple of months as all the detail is implemented.’

    guardian

    13th January 2014
  • Commenting on the impact of Help to Buy:

    ‘Anecdotally we are hearing that only a small percentage of Help to Buy Two applications actually pass a decision in principle,’ says Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. This may be because applicants need even higher credit scores than normal to access the government scheme, which could make those options outside of it (even those with higher rates) more appealing.

    times

    11th january 2014
  • Commenting on refusing tenants on benefits:

    George Spencer of lettings agency Rentify.com warned: ‘Landlords should consider the implications of such blanket bans. Not only could they significantly limit chances of finding new tenants, they could also cause a public outcry, a backlash against landlords and further regulation.’

    daily telegraph

    11th January 2014
  • Commenting on increasing availability of mortgages:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, added: ‘More lending is being done at higher loan-to-values which is great news for those with modest deposits who may otherwise have struggled to get a mortgage. However, while this will help get the housing market moving with more transactions lower down the ladder, it’s important that borrowers do not overstretch themselves. Lenders may be relaxing credit scoring criteria but just because you can get a mortgage doesn’t mean you necessarily should.’

    the independent

    8th january 2014
  • House prices faltered in December 2013.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, highlighted toughened mortgage lending rules which are set to come into force in April….. Mr Harris said: ‘Lenders are keen to have a strong first quarter and continue to offer some extremely attractive mortgage rates.

    ‘With the Mortgage Market Review set to be introduced at the end of April, this will likely lead to a slowdown in lending as lenders get to grip with the changes they need to introduce.’

    the independent

    8th january 2014
  • Halifax data show 7.5 per cent rise in 2013 house prices.

    But Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Rising property prices are fuelling fears among some buyers that if they don’t act now, they will be priced out further, while falling unemployment has also raised concerns that interest rates will rise sooner rather than later.

    ‘But it is still highly unlikely that interest rates will rise in 2014, despite unemployment falling faster than predicted and the economy recovering at a quicker rate. We are still very much in recovery mode and it’s unlikely that the Bank of England will risk raising interest rates too soon.’

    daily telegraph

    8th january 2014
  • Grab a cheap mortgage before rates rise:

    ……it is not going to be easy for aspiring homeowners. Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, the broker, says: ‘Gazumping and sealed bids are becoming commonplace as relatively ordinary properties fetch a premium.’

    the times

    4th January 2014
  • The Olympics’ effect on House prices:

    Mark Harris, of the mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, urged potential homebuyers to move fast. ‘The surge in demand is pushing up prices, particularly in London, where supply is already limited. Gazumping and sealed bids are becoming commonplace as relatively ordinary properties fetch a premium.’

    Mr Harris said that locking into a fixed-rate mortgage deal could help to give ‘peace of mind’ to those who fear interest rates rising. He said: ‘There are still plenty of rock-bottom mortgage deals available, with some particularly good pricing on five-year fixed rates.’

    The times

    1st January 2014
  • From the most expensive to the cheapest homes.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘With funding more readily available than at any time in the past five years, many buyers are finally able to realise their property-ownership dream. This surge in demand is pushing up prices, particularly in London, where supply is already limited. Gazumping and sealed bids are becoming commonplace as relatively ordinary properties fetch a premium. Many buyers are worried that if they don’t take the plunge now, they will be priced out further.

    ‘Repossessions continue to fall although the fact that any borrowers are struggling when interest rates are at historic lows is telling. The high cost of living and failure of incomes to keep pace means some homeowners are getting into difficulty. While lenders need to continue to show forbearance, the government also needs to ensure that safety nets are in place to help the most vulnerable.’

    the independent

    31st december 2013
  • Mortgage prospects for 2014.

    Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘Lenders have more of an appetite for buy-to-let loans, which we expect to continue into 2014. Criteria are being relaxed.’

    the sunday times

    22nd december 2013
  • Commenting on the plight of contract workers:

    Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients has a number of clients on zero-hours contracts, including supply teachers and nurses. While it is not impossible for them to get loans, he said it was tricky.

    the sunday times

    22nd december 2013
  • On the hidden costs of renting.

    You might get quite a shock as you read over the contract and the letting agent casually slips in the ‘standard administration fee’. This can be as high as £250 per tenant and apparently covers credit checks and legal documentation, although Rentify, the online lettings service, claims the average time spent on these jobs is 90 minutes.

    the times

    20th december 2013
  • CML figures show lending is not at boom levels.

    ‘Lenders are far more cautious than they were back then. Underwriting is tighter and borrowers are having to jump through many more hoops before they can secure funding,’ said Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris

    BBC

    19th december 2013
  • Commenting on the UK house price surge and affordability:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It is important that buyers plan ahead for potential interest rate rises and ensure they can afford their mortgage once this happens.’

    evening standard

    17th december 2013
  • ONS data show London is driving the market.

    ‘While London is a micro market of its own, other parts of the country are seeing far less activity and demand, which is keeping a lid on prices, although house price growth is beginning to increase elsewhere,’ said Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients

    BBC

    17th december 2013
  • Commenting on remortaging Help to Buy deals:

    Last week the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported a 12.4% drop in the number of loans for remortgages in October compared with the previous month. Jonathan Harris of the broker Anderson Harris said: ‘It may be that borrowers don’t meet lenders’ tighter criteria.’

    the sunday times

    15th december 2013
  • Commenting on the rise in gazumping:

    Nicholas Ayre of buying agent Home Fusion, said the shortage of homes was leading to a vicious circle as owners delayed selling up because they could not find homes to move into. ‘People are not moving at the moment, mainly because they can’t,’ he said.

    ‘They are worried that they won’t find anything that they want to buy and this concern goes all the way up the chain.’

    evening standard

    13th december 2013
  • Pros and cons of online letting agents:

    Increasingly, online lettings agents – who generally charge a lower fee for a tenant-finding service and can offer landlords monthly packages or pay-as-you-go deals for additional services – can do anything a high-street agent would. ‘But without the shop front and the huge overheads,’ says George Spencer of online agent Rentify, who says its £199 letting service would typically cost £1,200 through a high-street agent.

    ‘If we’re managing the property, we arrange inspection and liaise with the tenant rather than the landlord. If we’re used on a let-only basis, we process rent and notify the landlord. We can also help with rent recovery and eviction,’ says Spencer.

    the telegraph

    13th december 2013
  • Commenting on property prices in 2014:

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added:  Comments from Mark Carney suggest that he will prevent a housing bubble if one starts to emerge. But this does not necessarily mean rocketing interest rates. Redirecting FLS funds is a more measured and sensible way of keeping the housing market under control. However, borrowers do need to ensure they can cope with interest rate rises when the time inevitably comes and opt for a fixed rate if they need help with budgeting.’

    the independent

    10th december 2013
  • Are savings accounts the best place for your money?

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients says: ‘Buy-to-let can generate a healthy income as well as capital appreciation over time, with only a relatively modest investment required because you can use a mortgage to gear up.’

    ‘Rates on buy-to-let mortgage deals have fallen, with a wide range of deals available. Rates are higher than on residential deals and you will have to put down a 25 per cent deposit to access the best rates,’ says Mr Harris

    Independent on Sunday

    7th December 2013
  • On the buy to let outlook for 2014:

    The latest to offer their thoughts are online tenant and landlord service Rentify whose George Spencer says that the rise in the number of landlords in 2013 should result in more rental property becoming available in 2014.

    ‘This in turn will curb some rent rises,’ he says. ‘We expect rents to plateau more in 2014 in line with inflation figures, although London is truly establishing itself as a micro-market, with its own rules. In London, demand for rented housing is outstripping supply and rental pricing is on an upwards trajectory. This will force more tenants to seriously consider buying as opposed to renting.

    ‘The outlook for buy-to-let is healthy, with strong yields continuing, but landlords should not see it as a get rich quick scheme. Instead, they should invest for the long term and think about looking after their existing tenants, rather than hiking rates at every opportunity. More regulation, with the prospect of letting agent licensing, the government mooting the need for landlords to vet tenants for immigration status, and calls for property rental and price controls will keep landlords on their toes in 2014.’

    the independent

    6th december 2013
  • Commenting on the impact on mortgages of the rise in the retirement age:

    Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘While the pension age has been steadily rising for a while, lenders are well behind the curve. Most will simply not lend past retirement age, which they take to be 65, yet the reality is that most of us will be working for far longer than that. Lenders need to address their policies now, as most of them are already outdated, and ensure lending to a maximum age of 70 as an absolute minimum.’

    the independent

    5th december 2013
  • Commenting on the implications of the Autumn Statement for the property market and CGT in particular:

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added: ‘We await more clarity as to whether this will affect non-residents who have owned property in the UK for many years. The introduction of such a tax will affect people’s decisions on whether they sell or not, and may persuade homeowners to hold onto their properties for longer, applying the brakes to the upper end of the property market.’

    The independent

    5th december 2013
  • Commenting on the fairness of letting fees:

    George Spencer of the online estate agency Rentify, also questions whether it will make agents change their ways. ‘How can it be necessary to charge up to £600 in non-refundable fees to a tenant to rent out a flat in addition to the going rate of 11 per cent for services to the landlord for the same property, which some lettings agents are doing?’

    Daily Telegraph

    29th November 2013
  • Getting your finances in order:

    You can start to hunt for the cheapest mortgage without speaking to a broker, says Chris Duder at broker Anderson Harris.

    ‘But finding the best deal can be a complex business, especially for first-time buyers, he says. ‘Beware as some lenders combine eye-catching headline rates with eye-watering arrangement fees.

    ‘An independent mortgage broker will look at the full cost, including the rate you revert to once the original deal expires. If you have had credit problems, need a high-LTV mortgage, are self-employed or buying an unusual property, a broker can help you target the lender most likely to accept your application’, advises Duder.

    Daily express

    27th November 2013
  • On securing a self-build mortgage:

    Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘Developers either raise money against their main residence by remortgaging, or use their own cash. There is no market for amateur developers as all development lenders place great emphasis on track record.’

    The Sunday times

    24th November 2013
  • Sales fall on properties abroad:

    Mike Boles at SPF Private Clients, the mortgage broker, said ‘British buyers had become nervous about overseas property. Many are afraid it might be difficult to sell a foreign property if needed, as the housing markets in some European countries have practically stagnated.

    ‘Others are held back by tighter lending criteria. In Britain, increasing a mortgage to use as a deposit on a holiday house has become more difficult since the 2008 credit crisis. Mortgage lenders in countries such as Spain and Portugal, where local economies have been savaged by the eurozone debt crisis, have become reluctant to lend to non-residents.’

    Mr Boles said: ‘It is very difficult to get a mortgage locally in places such as Spain and Portugal. There is still some way to go before lenders will offer more deals to UK residents.’

    Daily Telegraph

    23rd november 2013
  • Consider overpaying on your mortgage:

    Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said even more borrowers should think about overpaying their mortgage.

    ‘Most lenders will let you overpay by up to 10 per cent of the mortgage amount each year, so it makes sense to take advantage of this while interest rates are low, particularly if you have savings sat in an account not earning much in the way of interest,’ he said.

    ‘Overpaying saves you interest in the long run and reduces your mortgage term, ensuring you clear your mortgage debt more quickly. It will also reduce your loan to value, making it easier to remortgage when the time comes.’

    the independent

    22nd November 2013
  • Commenting on the price premium for being in a school catchment area:

    As Nicholas Ayre of agency Home Fusion, puts it: ‘Properties near good state schools are insulated against the harsher turns in the property market — you can take comfort from the fact that there will always be new families looking to pay a premium.’

    Evening Standard

    21st november 2013
  • Over £9 billion in mortgage overpayments being made each year:

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added: ‘We are coming to expect inexorable rises in mortgage lending and October’s figures don’t disappoint. The lending numbers have bumped around the £16bn mark for the latter part of this year, but this is the first time they have broken through the £17bn barrier.

    ‘But let’s not get carried away. While this is the highest monthly estimate for gross lending since October 2008 at £18.6bn, it is still 5 per cent off that figure, so the recovery is still very much underway. This increase in lending will continue to fuel the debate about an early interest rate rise. However, borrowers shouldn’t panic as we believe that with inflation falling close to its 2 per cent target and the economy still in recovery mode, it is unlikely that the Bank of England will risk hiking interest rates too soon.’

    the independent

    20th november 2013
  • Mortgage lending back to 2008 levels.

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said ‘while last month’s gross lending estimate was the highest since October 2008 when it was £18.6bn, it was still 5pc off that figure, suggesting the recovery was still very much underway.

    ‘This increase in lending will continue to fuel the debate about an early interest rate rise. However, borrowers shouldn’t panic as we believe that with inflation falling close to its 2pc target and the economy still in recovery mode, it is unlikely that the Bank of England will risk hiking interest rates too soon,’ he said.

    the telegraph

    20th november 2013
  • Commenting on the north:south house price divide:

    Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, says: ‘We are starting to see house price growth in other parts of the country. This will balance things out a bit but it will never be anything like the growth in the capital. Demand for property is much greater there.’

    the independent

    20th november 2013
  • Commenting on tools to avoid rental voids:

    The other option is to accept a lower rent over the low season, or at least avoid raising the current one. ‘Most landlords would prefer to keep rents at the same level each year to keep good tenants rather than hiking and risking that they will leave,’ says George Spencer of Rentify, an online lettings company.

    the telegraph

    20th november 2013
  • 10 essentials for buyers of luxury property:

    Nicholas Ayre, of Home Fusion, agrees: ‘Jacuzzi baths and saunas are past luxuries. Now people want spa destinations with infinity baths.’

    telegraph luxury

    19th November 2013
  • Buy-to-let landlords get a mortgage boost from rock-bottom rates:

    Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘I wouldn’t expect this rate to be around for long as there is bound to be a limited tranche of funds, so landlords will need to move quickly to secure funding.’

    the sunday times

    17th november 2013
  • Don’t throw caution to the wind when buying off-plan:

    Typically, buyers get a mortgage for the remainder of the purchase price after paying the deposit. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says this generally shouldn’t be a problem. ‘It is very easy to get a mortgage when buying off plan and it is no different to any other purchase, although one or two lenders still have restrictions around loan-to-value, particularly on new-build flats,’ he says

    the observer

    17th november 2013
  • Gazumping rears its head:

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, reckons some of this frenzy is caused by concerns that interest rates – currently at historic lows – have only one way to go and that is up. ‘There is now growing panic that interest rates might actually rise next year, rather than 2016 as the Governor’s Forward Guidance previously indicated.

    ‘But with inflation falling close to its 2 per cent target and the economy still in recovery mode, it is unlikely that the Bank will risk hiking interest rates too soon. Even if targets are met, there will still be good reasons to keep interest rates at 0.5 per cent. We still believe the first rate rise may not be until 2016.’

    the independent

    16th november 2013
  • Who will be the winners and losers of an interest rate rise?

    Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, the broker, says: ‘Even though markets expect interest rates to rise ahead of 2016, we expect more competitive fixed rates to be introduced over the next few weeks and into the Spring.

    ‘There is no need to panic about the possibility of interest rate rises. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford fluctuations in your mortgage payments, then a fixed-rate makes sense. There are some excellent deals available, with lenders demonstrating a real appetite to lend.’

    the times

    16th november 2013
  • Commenting on the Funding for Lending scheme:

    Traditionally, borrowers would need to pay extra for the security of a fixed rate, but the distortions in the market have altered that. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Most lenders are not charging a premium on two-year fixes compared with the equivalent length tracker. This anomaly is down to Funding for Lending money, enabling some lenders to price their fixes cheaper than trackers. There is a premium to pay for the security of a five-year fix.’

    the telegraph

    16th november 2013
  • Commenting on mortgage rates:

    Other factors may also sway rates. Lending rules will be tightened in April, including better affordability checks. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, believes that lenders may try to increase lending ahead of those changes. ‘We expect more competitive fixed rates to be introduced over the next few weeks and in the spring,’ he said.

    the telegraph

    16th november 2013
  • Commenting on falling repossessions:

    Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Borrowers who aren’t struggling yet but would do so if rates were to rise should also consider a fixed-rate mortgage. Although there is a premium to pay for a five-year fix compared with its two-year equivalent, it might be worth doing so to buy protection for a longer period of time.’

    the telegraph

    14th november 2013
  • Home repossessions at record low:

    Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘While lenders continue to show forbearance to those in difficulty with their mortgage, borrowers must take some responsibility and contact their bank, ideally before they miss a payment.

    ‘It may be that some compromise can be reached whereby the mortgage is switched to interest only, the term extended, or the borrower even takes a payment holiday, in order to keep them and their family in their home.’ He said borrowers who believe they might struggle when interest rates eventually rise should consider locking into a longer-term fixed-rate mortgage.’

    Mr Harris said: ‘Although there is a premium to pay for a five-year fix compared with its two-year equivalent, it might be worth doing so to buy protection for a longer period of time.’

    evening standard

    14th november 2013
  • Commenting on lending to first time buyers up 34%

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘First-time buyers are finding it easier to get a mortgage. Early data regarding the Help to Buy scheme suggest that first-time buyers are also primarily benefiting with more than 80 per cent of the Halifax’s applicants so far being first-time buyers, for example. We expect the scheme to significantly boost the number of first-time buyers in coming months.’

    the independent

    12th november 2013
  • London house prices rise and create bubble fears:

    But Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said the figures do not point to a house-price bubble.

    He said: ‘House prices and the number of transactions remain well off their pre-crisis peak: we are not seeing an all-consuming bubble with prices running out of control and buyers snapping up anything at any price.

    ‘The London market is more frenetic than other parts of the country with sealed bids and gazumping making an unwelcome return, but this is particular to the capital. Elsewhere, prices are either rising steadily, remaining flat or even falling.’

    the telegraph

    12th november 2013
  • Commenting on rental payments due to appear on credit scores from end of 2013:

    Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘This is a welcome development. Applicants are often rejected for mortgages because of a lack of credit. Showing rent payments would demonstrate a record of meeting financial obligations, providing additional information for lenders and helping buyers obtain mortgages.’

    the sunday times

    10th november 2013
  • Don’t get caught out by a rate rise:

    Mark Harris from broker SPF Private Clients adds that some mortgage payers could find an earlier rate rise difficult.

    ‘Interest rates are extremely low, but while they have been there for a while, they won’t stay this low forever,’ he says. ‘Borrowers need to bear this in mind when it comes to their mortgage – and they need to plan ahead.’

    The sunday express

    10th november 2013
  • How transparent are discounted mortgages?

    Mark Harris of the broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘The biggest downside of discounted mortgages is that they are not priced as transparently as tracker mortgages. The advantage of a discounted rate is that they tend to be priced very aggressively, sometimes even cheaper than fixed rates.’

    the sunday times

    10th november 2013
  • Beware of discounted mortgages:

    Adrian Anderson of the broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Borrowers should be nervous about taking out discounted variable rate deals from small building societies. Such lenders are more likely to raise their SVRs than the larger state-owned banks, for example.’

    the sunday times

    10th november 2013
  • Keeping an eye on rates:

    ‘Many borrowers are paying less for their mortgage than they would under normal market conditions when the base rate might be around the 5 per cent mark,’ says Adrian Anderson from broker Anderson Harris. ‘If you are in this position, it is sensible to use the money you are ‘saving’ each month to overpay.’

    Most lenders will allow you to overpay by up to 10 per cent of the mortgage amount per year. ‘This will enable you to clear your home loan more quickly and will reduce the interest you pay,’ he says. ‘Having a lower loan-to-value (LTV) will also make it easier to remortgage when the time comes.’

    sunday express

    10th november 2013
  • Commenting on more buy-to-let and let-to-buy product options appearing:

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The choice of buy-to-let products has increased significantly in recent months as lenders respond to growing demand from investors.’

    the observer

    10th november 2013
  • Let-to-buy owners are limiting housing stock:

    Let-to-buy was increasingly being used as a ‘gentle introduction’ to buy-to-let, said George Spencer of online-lettings company Rentify. ‘Many of our landlords are accidental landlords who own just one rental property and fell into it, with homeowners feeling more confident renting out a property they already own than selecting an area in which to purchase a buy-to-let.’

    the observer

    10th november 2013
  • Lenders aiming at buy-to-let landlords:

    Adrian Anderson of Anderson Harris believes private banks tend to offer the best deals for million-pound plus deals. ‘They do not have strict rental calculations as they look more closely at the borrower than would normally be the case with a standard buy-to-let via a high-street lender,’ he said.

    Anderson Harris recently arranged a £1m-plus buy-to-let mortgage with a private bank at 2 per cent over three-month sterling Libor.

    the financial times

    8th november 2013
  • As UK house prices are predicted to rise by a quarter over the next five years:

    Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘While October figures are still moving ahead and are higher than the previous three months, what we are also seeing is a growth slowdown on a quarterly basis.

    ‘There may be a ‘press-commentary-effect’ here, where people are taking note of what is being said in the press about a housing bubble and then thinking twice before jumping in. That said, we are also entering a quieter phase for the market, with December traditionally a subdued month for housing transactions. So sellers may well be thinking ‘let’s get on with things’ before the December period and get our house sold.’

    the independent

    6th november 2013
  • Whay aren’t more people renting directly from landlords?

    According to a survey by Rentify, one of several online letting agents that enable landlords to advertise their properties on websites such as Rightmove, the typical admin fee charged by letting agents in London is £220, but nearly a quarter charge over £300 and one, in East Ham, charges £600.

    the evening standard

    6th november 2013
  • Commenting on best Help to Buy lenders:

    ‘Yorkshire, Newbury, and Market Harborough building societies also allow parents to offset their savings to secure a lower interest rate for their kids. Nationwide’s Save to Buy scheme is another option,’ says Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris. ‘If you pay £50 a month into a special savings account for a minimum six months, you can borrow to 95% LTV at 5.59% for three years, with a £499 fee.’

    If you’re looking at 95% of a property’s value you must be aware of the risks, Anderson says. ‘If house prices fall, you could quickly find yourself in negative equity, although this is only really an issue if you need to remortgage or move.

    ‘You should also make sure you can still afford your repayments when interest rates finally rise, as is likely in the next two or three years’, Anderson adds.

    the guardian

    5th november 2013
  • Go to small lenders for Help to Buy:

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says the Help to Buy rates are disappointing, especially since lenders have a government guarantee behind them. ‘It is worth looking beyond the scheme, especially if you can get help from the Bank of Mum & Dad,’ he says.

    The Woolwich Family Springboard allows you to buy a property with a 5% deposit, provided a family member can place a further 10% in a linked savings account. After three years the ‘helper’ gets their money back, plus interest of 2% a year. The Springboard rate has just been cut from 3.99% to just 3.69%, fixed for three years and with no application fee. ‘Guarantors must be aware of the risks, because their savings may be used to cover any shortfall if the buyer defaults on their loan,’ Harris says

    the guardian

    5th november 2013
  • Commenting on the ghost of payday loans:

    Adrian Anderson of the mortgage broker Anderson Harris said: ‘If an applicant has a payday loan, this illustrates to a lender that they can’t afford their current lifestyle.

    ‘Lenders are wary of anyone using payday loan companies and would at the very least want a full explanation of the reasons for their use.’

    the sunday times

    3rd november 2013
  • Watch out for the mortgage hurdles.

    Adrian Anderson at the broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Borrowers should be concerned about buying a property next to a pub or commercial premises, even if it’s a smart gastro pub, because of the limited resale market.’

    the sunday times

    3rd november 2013
  • Limited mortgage choice for self-builders:

    ‘None of the main high street banks is showing any signs of introducing a self-build offering,’ said Calum Kerr of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘The government may make all the right noises about encouraging self-build but there has been no practical assistance on this front.’

     

    financial times

    2nd november 2013
  • Commenting on keeping your tax affairs as simple as they can be:

    Increasingly we are seeing clients with more and more elaborate tax structures where they are distancing themselves from their assets – to the point where they can’t actually demonstrate their income any more,’ said Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris.

    Mr Harris says using tax planning strategies to ‘hide’ assets can cause a problem as it is harder to prove the borrower’s income. For example, Anderson Harris has seen a lot of clients who have set up nominee companies to hold their assets. Another problematic issue is bearer shares, which do not require the identity of the holder to be made public. ‘It is all perfectly legitimate but it presents a real funding challenge,’ said Mr Harris.

    Mr Harris believes it is not just the super rich who are falling into this category. ‘Too many overzealous accountants and tax advisers, with the sole objective of saving their clients tax, means the professional self-employed, such as surveyors and architects, are also struggling to prove their income,’ he said.

    financial times

    2nd november 2013
  • What can you do if interest rates rise?

    Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Rates can rise and will do at some point so it’s important to plan ahead. A five-year fixed rate will give protection for a reasonable period of time without being too onerous.’

    the times

    2nd november 2013
  • Prepare yourself for an interest rate rise:

    Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, the mortgage broker, says: ‘Future interest rate rises are priced into money market or Swap rates, so mortgage rates tend to rise before interest rates do. You can expect to pay more for a fixed rate when interest rates are rising because you are buying protection against further rises. Trackers will start to look comparatively more attractive.’

    Mark Harris adds: ‘Anyone on an SVR might consider moving onto a fixed rate before interest rates start to rise. If you wait until interest rates have actually started rising, fixed-rate deals will be priced considerably higher than they are now.’

     

    the times

    2nd november 2013
  • October Nationwide House Price index shows prices up 5.8% year on year.

    Commenting on the new figures, Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, says that buyers are beginning to feel more positive: ‘In the past they may have just sat on their hands and been reluctant to do anything, but now, with the macro view of the economy looking a lot more positive, people are wanting to get that property they have been waiting for and not get lost in the action.

    ‘The Nationwide figures show us that headline house prices are tracking the economy in its recovery and upward trend, annual growth at 5.8 per cent, is just keeping ahead of inflation, which is a healthy line of growth and where we should expect it to be.

    ‘Although wages have continued to decline in real terms, we are seeing a steady spread of loan-to-value mortgages, so buyers do not seem to be maxing out on finance and are keeping within affordability boundaries.’

    money observer

    31st October 2013
  • Small building societies cheaper than big banks, on small deposit Help to Buy loans.

    Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients says the rates advertised so far in the latest phase of Help to Buy  are disappointing. ‘With a Government guarantee behind them, you would expect lenders to be able to offer cheaper products,’ he says.

    ‘However, as more lenders join the scheme, rates should  fall further. If you have a 5 per cent deposit, it is worth looking beyond Help to Buy to other deals available.’

    The daily mail

    30th october 2013
  • What to do about a mortgage shortfall:

    Do your sums to see if you can make the switch, says Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘If you have a £100,000 mortgage at 4 per cent and your mortgage term has just five more years to run, switching to capital repayment would push up your payments from £335 a month to £1,840, which is a massive leap.’

    If you’re in that position, you could ask your lender to extend your mortgage term. ‘If you increased that term to 10 years, the monthly repayment would fall to £1,012, which should come as less of a shock.’

    Daily express

    30th october 2013
  • Advice if you are in fear of a mortgage shortfall:

    ‘If you hear from your lender the important thing is not to panic, says Adrian Anderson of mortgage broker Anderson Harris.

    ‘Even if you don’t have a repayment strategy in place, your lender should give you time to find out ways of clearing the capital.’
    Your lender can’t force you to repay the debt or sell your home immediately. ‘But don’t stick your head in the sand and hope the problem will go away, because it won’t,’ Anderson says.

    ‘If you have cash savings, an Isa, a workplace bonus, an inheritance or possibly a retirement nest egg, you could use that money to pay down a chunk of the capital today’ Anderson says. First, check whether your lender charges any penalties if you pay off your mortgage ahead of schedule. ‘Most lenders will let you overpay by up to 10 per cent a year so take advantage of this flexibility while interest rates are low.’

    There is another benefit to shrinking the size of your mortgage. ‘It will also reduce your loan-to-value (LTV), making it far easier to remortgage to a cheaper deal because most lenders reserve their best rates for borrowers with lower LTVs,’ Anderson says. Some lenders will even allow you to take out a new interest-only mortgage, however, a growing number, including Nationwide and RBS/NatWest, no longer offer this option to new borrowers.

    daily express

    30th october 2013
  • Gazumping is back.

    Gazumping is a particular problem in parts of South London. Chris Duder, from Anderson Harris, the mortgage broker, said that he had seen the practice growing in areas such as Herne Hill, Gipsy Hill, Tulse Hill, Brixton, Streatham and Crystal Palace.

    He said: ‘I am trying to buy a flat in southeast London myself and just last week I was shown round a property that was under offer and the purchaser had already paid for a survey. The agent did not tell us any of this until we were viewing the property and then, astonishingly, he actively encouraged us to gazump.’

    the times

    29th october 2013
  • Commenting on the pain of getting on the housing ladder:

    Nicholas Ayre of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘As expected, property prices continue to rise across the country, with London leading the way. However, one does start to wonder whether pricing is accelerating away from affordability and whether we will reach a point where buyers are once again struggling to get on the property ladder.’

    daily telegraph

    28th October 2013
  • Rentify conducted research showing tenants letting charges are spiralling out of control.

    For what amounts to a couple of hours work, letting agents are charging tenants as much as £600, according to new research by online landlord and tenants service Rentify. A handful of letting agents don’t charge anything on top of the standard deposit and one month’s rent in advance, but among those that do fees can be excessive. The average ‘administration’ fee is £220 in London, but nearly 25 per cent of the London letting agents surveyed charge over £300. One hugely expensive agent in East Ham charges a colossal £600 and, outside London, tenants in Bristol face higher-than-average fees of £251.

    ‘As if it wasn’t bad enough that letting agents charge unnecessary administration fees to tenants, some of these charges are also passed on to the landlord, so the agent makes double the profit,’ said George Spencer of Rentify. ‘These fees lack transparency and are simply unfair. Nor is it just bad news for one party, with tenants pulling out of properties because fees have not been disclosed upfront, or budgeted for, and wasting landlords’ time.’

    the independent on sunday

    tuesday 27th october 2013
  • Commenting on buy-to-let mortgages and how to secure one:

    Remember, though, fees could increase the cost of your mortgage significantly. Jonathan Harris at Anderson Harris, the broker, said: ‘Investors should be wary of high arrangement fees and reversion rates as you could find yourself on an expensive rate at the end of the initial period.’

    the sunday times

    27th october 2013
  • Getting a buy to let mortgage

    Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, another broker, said: ‘The state of the BTL market is extremely healthy, with rents rising, tenant demand increasing and more lenders offering competitive deals.

    ‘Lenders have also been loosening mortgage criteria, which will be particularly appealing to landlords as these have been tight in recent years.’

    The Sunday Times

    27th october 2013
  • Home owners could get property values downgraded:

    According to brokers, homeowners refinancing are more likely to be hit with a down-valuation than those purchasing a new home. ‘Most homeowners believe their home is worth more than a surveyor will value it at,’ said Adrian Anderson of Anderson Harris. ‘When remortgaging, homeowners usually look at what similar houses are being marketed for, but this does not necessarily reflect what a surveyor would value it at.’

    Financial Times

    25th October 2013
  • Santander launches large loans.

    Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘We have worked closely with Santander on the pilot and can vouch for its experienced underwriting team, which thoroughly understands this market.

    ‘We expect other high street lenders to follow suit and increase their maximum loan sizes; indeed, we are working with another lender on a large loan pilot which launches on Tuesday.’

    The Guardian

    25th October 2013
  • Commenting on different house-price indices, Nicholas Ayre of home buying agency Home Fusion, says: ‘Buyers are so bombarded with statistics that it can be hard to know what to believe. How big is the sample, what area does it cover and how out of date are the numbers? For example, the Land Registry is quite useful for historic data but it is recording what happened three months ago and much can change during that time.’

    He concluded: ‘Don’t take any of the indices too seriously. Many indicate a national average property price that could be very different from your experience in your particular area so it is wise to take them with a huge pinch of salt – useful as a general guide but not something to base a decision to buy or sell property on. My advice would be to pick an index without a commercial angle, such as the ONS index, because while the Government will be interested in house prices rising, it is not trying to flog anything off the back of it.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    25th October 2013
  • Unsecured lending is on the rise but some people are still keen to play it safe with credit. ‘There remains a strong trend for borrowers to overpay on their mortgages, taking advantage of low interest rates and paying down debt where they can,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Confidence may be growing in the housing market but homeowners are reluctant to take on more borrowing while there is still uncertainty with regard to the economic and jobs’ climate.’

    BBC News

    23rd october 2013
  • Commenting on the lettings scene in Bristol, George Spencer, CEO of online lettings company Rentify, said: ‘As if it wasn’t bad enough that letting agents charge these unnecessary administration fees to tenants, some of these charges are also passed onto the landlord so the agent makes double the profit. These fees lack transparency and are simply unfair. Sometimes they cause tenants to pull out of properties because they have not been disclosed upfront, or budgeted for.’

    The Independent

    22nd october 2013
  • It’s a sellers market, says Nicholas Ayre, of home buying agency Home Fusion: ‘With such limited volumes of properties coming up for sale, combined with high demand and a growing confidence in the market, asking prices are inevitably rising.

    ‘Estate agents are not helping: they need instructions to stay in business and very often they will attempt to outbid each other to persuade the seller to instruct them, contributing to ever-higher asking prices. Some will have to reduce prices six weeks down the line when the promised lofty figure is not realised, but with supply so limited, in some cases the seller may will achieve that higher price. If you are selling a high-quality property in London, you will have plenty of competition from buyers, it is highly likely that the sale will go to sealed bids. Some demands made by greedy sellers are unrealistic but desperate buyers worried about being priced out of the market are increasingly having to pay those prices if they want to buy one of the few properties currently available.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    21st October 2013
  • Buying off-plan can be a risky strategy as your loan could be adjusted if house prices fall. If you agreed to pay £200,000 when you paid your deposit but the property is valued at £180,000 at completion you’ll get £126,000 from your lender the developer will still want the original £200,000. ‘It’s important to have a contingency fund you can dip into if required,’ says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Mail on Sunday

    20th october 2013
  • The north-south divide doesn’t just exist when it comes to property prices but also types of mortgage. Rob Manson, a Manchester-based broker for SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Borrowers in the north tend to lean on stability. This is because the north will not get the same level of house price inflation, so homeowners tend move less frequently.’

    The Sunday Times

    20th october 2013
  • Online lettings service Rentify can save landlords money. One of its landlords, Wendy Smith, of Ramsgate, Kent, has been renting out property for nearly two decades. She lets a three-bedroom mid-terrace house on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent and when her tenants moved out this year she faced a dilemma in how to attract new ones. She originally used a classifieds website but was unimpressed with the follow-up calls from renters.

    She says: ‘I spoke to so many time-wasters, including people who asked if they could pay the deposit after they moved in or monthly spread across a year, not to mention bizarre sob stories. I didn’t have the time for it.’

    Having previously found high street letting agents expensive, Wendy tried RentifyShe says: ‘The service was professional and they didn’t charge for listing the property, which was a bonus. I found lovely new tenants within two days.’

    With Rentify landlords can create a tenant contract and property listing for free, which is posted on property websites Zoopla and Primelocation. A listing on Rightmove costs an extra £15 and a credit check of prospective tenants costs £15, compared with as much as £200 charged by some letting agents. They can manage the property full time for £65 a month. Tenants can also search and contact prospective landlords for free. Rentify is a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents and the Residential Landlords Association.

    The Mail on Sunday

    20th october 2013
  • Private banks are tightening their lending criteria. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said he is working on a number of cases where there are no immediate assets to be transferred. However, the clients’ circumstances – for instance, the pending sale of a business or property – are such that there is a realistic chance these will follow.

    While high street lenders continue to offer some of the most competitive rates for homeowners seeking large mortgages, with two-year fixes available at under 2 per cent, private banks offer a more flexible alternative.

    They will typically be a better option for people with more complex income streams, such as bonuses, trusts and offshore incomes.

    ‘The high street banks are increasing their appetite in the large-loan market, but as soon as the client’s circumstances fall slightly outside the norm, they generally can’t assist,’ said Mr Harris. He said clients who would typically struggle with the high street banks are those from overseas with relatively low incomes, but who are asset rich and often over the age of 60.

    For the right borrower, private banks continue to offer competitively priced lending, typically on a Libor or base-rate linked basis over a five-year renewable term. According to Mr Harris, best terms are usually about 2 to 2.25 per cent over Libor for a mortgage backed with an element of assets under management. Rates typically rise to between 3 to 3.5 per cent over Libor for dry lending. If the borrower has no immediate assets to transfer but is likely to do so in the medium term they can obtain rates of about 2.75 to 3 per cent over Libor.

    the financial times

    19th october 2013
  • Getting on the property ladder – ‘Search for deals off-market’

    Nicholas Ayre, of Home Fusion, the buying agency

    ‘Sellers know prices are rising in London and the South East and are in some cases simply being greedy, but the best properties do command a premium, so anyone who is serious about buying will probably end up having to pay the asking price or even above it if there is a lot of interest. Less attractive properties are still taking longer to sell and there is more negotiating power on the part of the buyer in this segment of the market.

    ‘Consider using a buying agent to act on your behalf. The number of properties coming onto the market may be limited but a good buying agent will know how to source properties that are ‘off-market’ or not yet listed for sale, giving you the edge over other buyers. Increasingly, more popular properties are going to sealed bids and a buying agent will know how to best position your offer so that you beat the competition: it is not necessarily about offering the highest amount, but getting your finances arranged, being flexible on completion dates and engaging a solicitor before making your bid.’

    the times

    17th october 2013
  • Getting on the property ladder – ‘Go for properties where you can add value’

    Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, the mortgage broker:

    ‘Get your finance pre-agreed so there are no hold-ups. Make sure you hold onto financial information such as bank statements, payslips, your P60, register on the voters’ roll, and establish a credit history: all these make applying for a mortgage easier. Contact the lender directly to find out what its requirements are, or better still speak to an independent mortgage broker who will be able to advise.’

    ‘In terms of buying, you might as well do it now. Look for properties where you can add value, by refurbishing or extending. Bear in mind your lifecycle; are good local schools important or is it more desirable that you have a reliable public transport system running close to your front door?’

    the times

    17th October 2013
  • Getting on the property ladder -‘Tap the Bank of Mum and Dad’

    Jonathan Harris, of Anderson Harris, the mortgage broker:

    ‘The deposit remains the biggest barrier to first-time buyers getting on the housing ladder so save, save, save, and ask mum and dad for help. Remember, a gifted deposit sits better with a lender than a loan as this will affect how much you can borrow because the repayments will have to be factored into your affordability. While you might be able to buy via Help to Buy with just a 5 per cent deposit, the rate will be high so the bigger the deposit you can put down, the better.

    ‘If you’ve found a property you want to buy, have the deposit and can afford the mortgage, why delay? If you are buying in London or the south-east, prices are only likely to edge higher. Delaying in the hope that mortgage rates will fall further is foolhardy – they are already at record lows so a fixed rate taken out now is unlikely to ever be a ‘bad’ deal.’

    the times

    17th october 2013
  • House prices back to 2008 levels.

    Nicholas Ayre, director of home buying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘Supply constraints are such that if Help to Buy really did take off then a housing bubble might be possible. If more flats and houses are not built, a significant spike in mortgage transactions could substantially push up house prices. But we are nowhere near that just yet. While the recovery in property prices in London continues apace, this is far from the case throughout the UK. It is also worth remembering that transaction levels remain very low compared with what they were at the height of the housing boom.

    ‘London continues to be a special case that almost needs its own house-price index, with no sign of a slowdown in price rises in the capital.’

    the independent

    15th October 2013
  • Help to buy lenders criticised.

    Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, the broker, said: ‘So far, Help to Buy rates are poor. The fact that rivals can undercut them without the benefit of the government guarantee proves this.’

    the sunday times

    13th October 2013
  • Help to buy schemes.

    ‘Lloyds Lend-a-Hand, for example, only requires a 5 per cent deposit from the borrower, as the parents then put 20 per cent of the purchase price into a savings account with Lloyds – enabling borrowers to fix at 3.34 per cent,’ says Mark Harris, from broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Woolwich has a similar offering with the Family Springboard where borrowers can get a rate of 3.99 per cent by putting down a deposit of just 5 per cent. Parents then put 10 per cent of the purchase price in a savings account.’

    the sunday express

    13th October 2013
  • Commenting on the use of bank of Mum and Dad:

    Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, the broker, said: ‘The main benefit of the Help to Buy guarantee scheme over the other low-deposit schemes is the amount you can borrow: Newcastle building society is capped at £350,000, while the Woolwich will lend a maximum of £500,000.

    ‘With the second element of Help to Buy, you can borrow up to £570,000 — but you must prove you have the income to support this level of borrowing.’

    the sunday times

    13th october 2013
  • First-timers using bank of Mum and Dad.

    Jonathan Harris at Anderson Harris said: ‘It is important that it is a gift not a loan. The parent or grandparent should provide a letter confirming this and stating that they have no legal interest in the property. Some lenders may require a deed of gift document to be drawn up.’

    the sunday times

    13th october 2013
  • Commenting on home ownership:

    Jonathan Harris, of Anderson Harris, says a five-year fix is a safer option. ‘It will  give more protection against rate rises, which is particularly important with high LTV loans as the borrower is unlikely to have plenty of spare cash to throw at the mortgage.’

    the times

    12th October 2013
  • First-time buyers at six year high.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The mortgage guarantee phase of Help to Buy will boost the numbers of first-time buyers although the rates announced so far are disappointing.

    ‘With a Government guarantee behind them, you would expect lenders to be able to offer cheaper products. However, as more lenders join the scheme rates should fall further.’

     

    the daily mail

    11th October 2013
  • First-time buyers leap by a third.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Although August tends to be one of the quieter months of the year for the housing market as would-be buyers focus on their summer holidays, there was no let up in mortgage lending this year.’

    He said the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme and the publicity surrounding the second phase of Help to Buy were ‘creating interest and instilling the belief that is finally possible to get a mortgage’

    the daily telegraph

    11th October 2013
  • Significant lending to first-time buyers.

    George Spencer, of online lettings company added: ‘Fewer landlords remortgaged in August than in the previous month, which is why the buy-to-let figures as a whole were slightly down. But investors continued to take on new borrowing and expand their portfolios, encouraged by rock-bottom mortgage rates, strong rental yields and the general recovery in the housing market. While savings rates continue to be poor, property offers a serious alternative to investors looking to boost their returns.’

    the independent

    11th October 2013
  • First-time buyer loans up.

    ‘First-time buyers are finding it easier to get a mortgage, as Funding for Lending pushes down rates across the loan-to-value curve,’ said Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘The publicity surrounding the launch of the second phase of Help to Buy is also boosting the market, creating interest and instilling the belief that it is finally possible to get a mortgage.’

    the independent

    11th October 2013
  • Lending to households increasing.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the cheaper mortgage rates, which were been driven down by the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme, and Help to Buy were creating an opportunity for would-be-borrowers that was ‘just too good to miss’.

    Coupled with the lower rates, increasing consumer confidence and rising house prices also player their part, he said.

    ‘Borrowers feel more confident about job prospects and the wider economy, while fear getting priced out of the property market further still if they don’t take the plunge now,’ he said.

    the daily telegraph

    9th october 2013
  • Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said lenders were still conducting strict affordability checks on potential customers.

    ‘Lenders are keen to stress that they have not changed their risk appetite, suggesting that they are as stringent as ever on underwriting with no relaxation on credit scoring,’ he said.

    ‘This is admirable but lenders do want to increase their market share. If they are set to undershoot their targets, now is the time when they need to offer more competitive products. This should be excellent news for borrowers.’

    bbc news

    9th october 2013
  • Help to buy mortgages.

    Adrian Anderson, of Mayfair-based mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said he had received calls from young bankers who have ‘good strong incomes’ but little deposit.

    the guardian

    9th october 2013
  • Help to buy mortgage market.

    Jonathan Harris at Anderson Harris added: ‘A good credit score and affordability are key, with lenders applying normal criteria for high loan-to-value borrowing.

    ‘This is only right as lenders should be lending prudently and only to those who can afford to repay their mortgage. The reality is that it will be no easier to get a mortgage.’

    the daily express

    9th october 2013
  • RBS and Lloyds mortgage deals:

    A couple taking on the maximum loan under the scheme – £570,000 – would need a combined salary of about £142,000, plus the £30,000 deposit and money to cover the stamp duty charge and legal and surveying fees, according to Anderson Harris, the mortgage broker.

    the financial times

    8th october 2013
  • Help to buy mortgage rates:

    Jonathan Harris, director of the mortgage broker Anderson Harris, was more positive and said the rates on offer were ‘where we would expect them to be … Historically, anything around 5% for a five-year fix is an excellent rate so to pay not much more than that to borrow 95% LTV (loan to value) is competitive.’

    Harris said he would expect rates to edge down as more lenders entered the market, but he added: ‘It is a fact of life that borrowers will always pay a premium for a high LTV.’

    the guardian

    8th october 2013
  • Guide to Help to Buy:

    Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, the broker, said: ‘If it does really take off, it may be that these restrictions are introduced sooner rather than later, so HTB may not be available in its initial form for long.’

    the sunday times

    6th october 2013
  • The Guide to Help to Buy:

    Adrian Anderson of Anderson Harris, another broker, said the paperwork likely to be required for a Help to Buy mortgage will be the same as for normal home loans, but borrowers with only 5% deposits can be asked for additional information.

    ‘Your lender will need six months’ bank statements, although some may want 12. You will also need to produce three months’ payslips and your passport for ID, as well as a utility bill or bank statement dated within the past three months to prove your address.

    Proof of your 5% deposit will be required — a bank statement, if it is in savings, or a letter from your parents if it is a gift.’

    the sunday times

    6th october 2013
  • Commenting on longer term tenancies:

    George Spencer of Rentify, the online lettings company, said: ‘With more people both choosing and having to rent for longer, one of the problems with the letting industry has been the tendency towards short tenancies. Landlords must be prepared to offer longer contracts of two or three years rather than 12 months, giving tenants the security of tenure many crave.’

    the financial times

    5th october 2013
  • Tips for buy-to-let landlords.

    Lettings agents will charge administration and referencing fees for tenants. These average £310, found Which?, the consumer group. However, you can dodge these costs by finding tenants yourself. Online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla don’t allow private landlords to list properties directly but online lettings agents such as Upad and Rentify do.

    the times

    5th october 2013
  • Help to buy mortgage rates:

    Jonathan Harris, of rival brokers Anderson Harris, added: ‘You would expect that a Government guarantee in the background would significantly reduce rates, giving first time buyers the affordability they crave.

    ‘If it doesn’t this phase of Help to Buy is likely to be a damp squib.’

    the daily telegraph

    5th October 2013
  • Help to buy mortgage rates:

    Adrian Anderson, of the mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Those buying in London will need punchy salaries to afford the repayments. This isn’t a ‘giveaway’ by any means. We expect lenders to continue to take a hard line on underwriting.’

    the times

    5th october 2013
  • Help to buy makes mortgages a hot topic.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said that these rates are still 25 per cent higher than they were in July ‘which generally suggests mortgage rates will increase’.

    ‘We don’t expect fixed rates to get materially cheaper, but neither do we think people should panic and ‘buy now while stocks last’,’ he said. ‘Borrowers should take comfort from the fact that any long-term fixed rate secured now should be the lowest for some time so they won’t get a ‘bad’ deal’.

    the times

    4th October 2013
  • House price rises.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Bringing forward the launch date of the second phase of Help to Buy has revealed just how much pent-up demand there is from buyers, with brokers already receiving plenty of inquiries about how the scheme will work and where they can get a mortgage. Lenders will have to work hard now to catch-up, ensuring they launch 95% LTV products that are competitive.’

    the guardian

    3rd october 2013
  • House prices rise highest in three years.

    Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘While prices continue to soar in London, particularly the top end of the market, transactions and lending levels are running at a fraction of what they were at the height of the housing boom.

    ‘This will be a long, slow recovery and while there are fears that the second stage of Help to Buy, brought forward to next week, will fuel a bubble, the Bank of England Governor yesterday restated that he has his eye on it.

    ‘There will be no return to a boom-bust cycle.’

    the daily telegraph

    3rd October 2013
  • Commenting on Dirty Tricks in today’s housing market and deliberately inducing panic:

    Sealed bids and mass viewings often stir up panic among would-be buyers. Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘Sometimes estate agents get lazy and they arrange all the viewings on a Saturday, for example, when you see all and sundry walking around.’ These mass viewings create a heightened sense of competition, which is further exacerbated by a sealed bid, where each potential buyer makes an offer that no other bidders can see.

    the daily telegraph

    3rd October 2013
  • Commenting on the changing Mortgage Landscape

    ‘The mortgage market is unrecognisable from just a few years ago. Some lenders have fallen by the wayside and gone out of business, while some of the big names have significantly reined back on their lending,’ said Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

    The financial times

    2nd October 2013
  • Eric Pickles wants to give tenants a better deal.

    George Spencer, of online lettings company Rentify, said: ‘With more people both choosing and having to rent for longer, one of the problems with the letting industry has been the tendency towards short tenancies. This gives tenants very little security and can be particularly tricky if you need certainty, perhaps because you are raising children in rented accommodation, for example, and regular chopping and changing doesn’t work with nursery or school places.

    ‘But actually landlords tend to prefer long-term tenants because this is far less hassle than settling in a new tenant every six or 12 months and showing them where everything is. The other danger of frequently changing tenants is void periods where the landlord is inbetween tenancies and has to cover the mortgage themselves.’

    the independent

    2nd october 2013
  • Referring to the Cydesdale Bank payout:

    Don’t assume your bank will always calculate your payments correctly. Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, the broker, said: ‘It is important to keep an eye on what you are being asked to pay and if it doesn’t fit in with your expectations, or the payment suddenly rises or falls, query it with your lender.’

    the sunday times

    29th september 2013
  • More rate rises may be on the way, and George Spencer from property and technology company Rentify has some simple advice for borrowers: ‘If your lender announces that it is raising your rates out of the blue then it’s time to move to another bank, possibly on to a fixed-rate deal which will give you some security.’

    the independent on sunday

    29th september 2013
  • Commenting on smaller mortgage lenders raising their rates:

    However, last week Bank of Ireland raised its base-rate tracker mortgage costs, closely followed by the West Bromwich Building Society bumping its buy-to-let mortgages up by two per cent. The decision was described as ‘outrageous’ by mortgage firm SPF Private Clients. ‘I would expect customers to fight these decisions,’ Mark Harris, of SPF, said.

    independent on sunday

    29th september 2013
  • Quoted in an article on mortage help:

    Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, the mortgage broker, says: ‘The suggested revisions to Help to Buy seem eminently sensible. It is important that the mortgage guarantee element is closely monitored, and an annual health check is the best way of doing this.

    ‘Leaving the scheme without review for three years could have spelled disaster. There needs to be a mechanism in place to slow things down once the scheme is up and running. While there isn’t a house-price bubble just yet, it is important not to be complacent and allow one to develop. This would do no one any favours, buyers or lenders. ‘Those buyers who are poised ready to take advantage of the scheme might want to consider moving quickly once it is introduced. If it does really take off, it may be that these restrictions are introduced sooner rather than later, so it may not be available in its initial form for long.’

    the times

    28th september 2013
  • Commenting on the north: south divide:

    Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘The 10 per cent double-digit growth in London house prices in the third quarter clearly illustrates that the capital’s housing market is outstripping the rest of the country. You have the London market and then you have the rest.’

    In reference to the chancellor’s recent statements about government-backed housing stimulus scheme help to buy, Mr Ayre added: ‘It is no wonder that George Osborne is beginning to get twitchy and is giving the Bank of England powers to put the brakes on Help to Buy. Although fears of a house-price bubble are overstated, it’s important not to be complacent. A bubble implies that people are buying anything at any price and they aren’t but the fear is that if demand continues to surge at the levels we are seeing, this will start to happen. Potentially reducing the cap at which borrowers can buy under the second part of Help to Buy to less than £600,000 might make a lot of sense.’

    the daily telegraph

    27th september 2013
  • The north-south, property price gap reaches new highs:

    Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘You have the London market and then you have the rest of the country so it almost needs its own house-price index and special consideration. The gap between north and south has become more pronounced than ever even though prices rose in every region in the UK, suggesting the recovery is becoming more broad based.

    ‘The problem continues to be limited supply of housing: not enough is being built, which results in rising prices. Domestic demand remains strong but some of the bigger schemes are also being driven by offshore demand, and this is pushing prices higher still.’

    the independent

    27th September 2013
  • ONS index shows rents rising 1.2 percent:

    George Spencer, officer of online lettings company Rentify, said: ‘In some parts of London, there is huge upwards pressure on rents in areas where rental property is in great demand and there is a shortage of stock but in other parts of the country rents are languishing or even falling and landlords are faced with void periods.’

    He said that some landlords are showing a reluctance to hike rents as they would prefer the tenant to remain in the property for longer.

    Mr Spencer continued: ‘Landlords would rather retain a tenant who knows the property, looks after it and pays their rent on time than go chasing new, untested tenants who might pay a bit more.

    ‘One of the most time-consuming elements of letting property is settling in new tenants so landlords who can avoid doing this too frequently tend to prefer it.’

    daily telegraph

    25th September 2013
  • Quoted on the tracker mortgage rate hike:

    George Spencer, chief executive of property letting service Rentify, said: ‘Landlords with West Bromwich Building Society will be reeling from the news that their mortgage rate is set to jump by two percentage points, even though there has been no movement in interest rates for more than four years.

    ‘This adds a considerable £330 per month to the mortgage payment on a £200,000 loan, which will significantly impact landlords’ profit margins.

    ‘Landlords with other lenders will be concerned that they will follow suit so it is important to be vigilant.’

    daily mail

    23rd september 2013
  • Commenting on the West Bromwich mortgage rate increase:

    George Spencer, at property and technology company Rentify, said ‘Landlords with West Bromwich Building Society will be reeling from the news that their mortgage rate is set to jump by two percentage points, even though there has been no movement in interest rates for more than four years.

    ‘This adds a considerable £330 per month to the mortgage payment on a £200,000 loan, which will significantly impact landlords’ profit margins.

    ‘Landlords with other lenders will be concerned that they will follow suit so it is important to be vigilant.’

    bbc news

    23rd september 2013
  • Commenting on tracker mortgage rises:

    George Spencer, of property letting service Rentify, said: ‘Landlords with West Bromwich Building Society will be reeling from the news that their mortgage rate is set to jump by two percentage points, even though there has been no movement in interest rates for more than four years.

    ‘This adds a considerable £330 per month to the mortgage payment on a £200,000 loan, which will significantly impact landlords’ profit margins. Landlords with other lenders will be concerned that they will follow suit so it is important to be vigilant.’

    the times

    23rd september 2013
  • Commenting on West Bromwich’s two percent mortgage rate hike:

    George Spencer, of property and technology company Rentify, said: ‘Landlords with West Bromwich Building Society will be reeling from the news that their mortgage rate is set to jump by two percentage points, even though there has been no movement in interest rates for more than four years. This will significantly impact landlords’ profit margins.

    ‘Landlords with the West Brom would be wise to seek independent mortgage advice now and find out whether they can get a cheaper deal elsewhere, rather than wait until the rate hike in December.’

    the telegraph

    23rd september 2013
  • Five year fixes starting to rise:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘If you can find a five-year fix at less than 3% it is well worth taking, as it won’t get much better than that.’

    A two-year fixed rate could appeal if you want to keep your monthly repayments down, but take into consideration that when that period ends you will move on to your lender’s standard variable rate, by which point interest rates may have risen.

    Harris says: ‘While there is little expectation that rates will rise in the next two years, the picture is less certain over three to five years, and a five-year fix will give you certainty at a time when rates could be increasing.’

    He adds that it is important not to fix for longer than you are absolutely sure about as hefty early repayment charges apply to exit during the fixed period.

    the guardian

    22nd september 2013
  • Referenced in a feature on the internet middle-men:

    Landlords
    The average cost for mandatory administration and referencing fees for tenants is £310, according to Which?, the consumer group; for landlords, the fees can be as much as 15 per cent of the rent. Discontent over the bloated level of fees at some high-street agents has led to the creation of online competitors, such as rentify.com…. whose costs are transparent. They also offer a speedy service. As a result these businesses are growing fast.

    Portals do not permit private landlords to list properties directly, but … Rentify allows a way around this. …Rentify allows landlords to advertise for free on sites such as Zoopla and PrimeLocation, but to appear on Rightmove costs an extra £14.99.

    Rentify offers some paid-for services as well – photography for landlords and credit checks paid for by the tenant. George Spencer, the company’s chief executive, says: ‘Our landlords tend to take their own photos, although they can employ our professional photographer for £65. If you are taking your own pictures, it is always worth ensuring all the lights are on.’ Spencer says that landlords should make inventory reports and get tenants to sign them ‘making it harder for them to deny responsibility if they cause damage’.

    the times

    20th september 2013
  • Commenting on the fear that low interest rates might be coming to an end:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The increases have been small, so borrowers should not panic.

    ‘However, if you can find a five-year fix at less than 3 per cent it is well worth taking, as it won’t get much better than that.’

    daily mail

    18th september 2013
  • On inflation-beating tips:

    ‘With an offset, your savings are linked to your mortgage balance and rather than earn interest on your savings, the money is set against the outstanding mortgage and you earn interest on the remaining balance,’ says Adrian Anderson from broker Anderson Harris. This will reduce the term of the home loan and can also help reduce tax liabilities.

    express

    18th Septtember 2013
  • No Property bubble:

    Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion said: ‘Are we about to see a house price bubble? This really isn’t about the panic buying witnessed in 2007, it is about growing, steady demand. First time buyers are now increasingly active, some now finding they can access the finance needed to get onto the property ladder and at more reasonable rates.’

    the independent

    17th September 2013
  • Brokers warn that borrowing large amounts at record low mortgage rates may not be wise.

    Adrian Anderson, of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The important thing is not to overstretch yourself. So ask yourself: can you afford the deposit and the mortgage payments? Have you opted for a fixed rate to protect yourself against interest rate rises, if you think they are on the cards?’

    the observer

    15th september 2013
  • Anthony Ward Thomas profiled in the Telegraph and features his high-end removals business.

    Most businessmen research ideas, raise finance and take a long-term approach to growth. Anthony Ward Thomas, removals expert and amateur jockey, who this summer crossed Mongolia in a 10-day, 620-mile horse race, is not most businessmen.

    When the distressed company Aussie Man & Van came up for sale in 2012, Ward Thomas, 55, didn’t hesitate to acquire it.

    ‘We saw them on Thursday and completed by Monday,’ he recalls. ‘Due diligence will just show you what’s wrong; you have to trust your instincts.’

    The turnaround at Aussie Man & Van is racing ahead. ‘We keep between 25 and 30 vehicles busy seven days a week. We’re really pleased with it.’

    Ward Thomas was working in the City in the Eighties when he decided to branch out on his own. And following a bad experience when he was moving house – he caught removers trying on his clothes – he decided he could do better.

    He started Anthony Ward Thomas with two vehicles and now has close to 100, as well as a roster of high-end clients, including actress Cate Blanchett (who the company moved from London to Australia).

    With homes in London and Hampshire, he balances work with his artistically aspiring children (his son is an actor, his twin daughters singers) and his passion for horse riding. An ‘Essex man’, he took up riding after a 20-year break, aged 42.

    For someone who believes in taking life and business firmly by the reins, Ward Thomas insists he’s not interested in detail.

    ‘I never have learnt how to read a balance sheet or P&L account. If you avoid it, your other instincts stay sharper.’

    As for those starting out, his advice is similarly blunt: ‘Don’t over research, do something you enjoy. Keep it simple. Food, drink, transport, funerals – these will never be overtaken by technology.’

    the telegraph

    14th September 2013
  • Quoted on home loan infidelity:

    Adrian Anderson, director of the mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Customers must compare what’s available in the rest of the market rather than assuming that a loyalty offer is the most competitive option — often the rates aren’t bad, but there may be cheaper deals out there.’

    the times

    13th September 2013
  • Q: So, is now the time to get a mortgage or remortgage an existing property?
    A: Most experts agree that the potential for rates to fall is low, whereas the likelihood that they will rise in the next few months and certainly over the next year is much higher.

    Adrian Anderson, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Timing the market is a mug’s game, as there is no guarantee as to what will happen with rates. All you can do is act in your own best interests and do what suits you at the time. Property prices are on the rise in parts of the country and your property could be worth more this time next year, improving your loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and qualifying you for a cheaper mortgage rate. However, mortgage rates may be more expensive in a year’s time, so holding off in the hope of getting a better deal may be a waste of time.’

    the times

    13th September 2013
  • Quoted on the trend for developer freebies:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, agrees that free stamp duty is the only offer worth considering, given the usual new-build premium you are probably paying.

    Since the crash, the incentives a developer can offer are limited and relatively low-value He warns, though, that incentives can affect what loan you get. ‘On any new-build or conversion, any incentive – whether financial or non-financial – has to be declared on the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ disclosure of incentives form. Depending on what the incentive is, and its value, this may affect the mortgage the buyer can achieve.’

    The telegraph

    13th September 2013
  • Nicholas Ayre of Home Fusion discusses the viability of RICs/Bank of England proposals to cap house price inflation in the UK.

    ‘I don’t see how it can work, they’re challenged enough as it is to manage the two percent interest rate target. I totally agree something has to be done, but there is a problem with supply…we need more properties to be built and brought to market.

    ‘ Building on Greenfield sites is happening because there isn’t the land. …. In teh south east there’s a lot of external money coming in, but also local demand too…my mission is to drive down the price for my buyers, that’s what I am doing, I’m not an estate agent and we need to address the availability of finance’

    BBC news

    13th September 2013
  • Cited on first time buyer loans:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘While property prices continue to rise in parts of the country, fuelling fears of a house-price bubble, this is not yet affecting affordability, which improved marginally. This is encouraging, with the average loan size remaining unchanged and income multiples dropping slightly to 3.31, many of those getting on the property ladder for the first time are not over stretching themselves.’

    the independent

    12th september 2013
  • Quoted on first time buyer loans being up:

    These buyers were taking a “measured approach” to buying property, according to Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, because they were generally borrowing about the same multiple of their salary as buyers during previous months.

    BBC News

    12th september 2013
  • Commenting on the rise in buy to let and first time buying:

    George Spencer, of online property and technology company Rentify, said: ‘Both experienced and novice investors alike are taking the plunge and expanding portfolios or getting into buy-to-let for the first time, while there is strong growth in buy-to-let remortgaging as existing landlords take advantage of ultra low rates. This also demonstrates that many are investing for the long term.

    ‘Because the recovery is coming from such a low base, we expect the buy-to-let market to continue to grow at an impressive rate in coming months.’

    the independent

    12th september 2013
  • Record number of houses coming on to the UK market:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Funding for Lending and Help to Buy are resulting in cheaper mortgage rates, which is encouraging borrowers to finally take the plunge. More borrowers are opting for fixed rates which is no surprise when you consider just how cheap they are. However, while there is potential for further reductions the likelihood of rates rising is higher so borrowers should consider moving now, rather than waiting for already historically low rates to fall further still.’

    the independent

    10th September 2013
  • Borrowing booms as mortgage rate interest at low:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Funding for Lending and Help to Buy are resulting in cheaper mortgage rates, which is encouraging borrowers to finally take the plunge.

    ‘Growing confidence in the housing market as prices rise, particularly in London and the south-east, is also stoking the market.’

    the guardian

    10th september 2013
  • Commenting on fixed or tracker mortgages:

    Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, a mortgage broker, says: ‘For not very much more in terms of rate you achieve certainty for a few more years, particularly attractive at a time when interest rates might start rising. The important thing is not to fix for longer than you are absolutely sure about, or you will have to pay a hefty early redemption charge to get out of the mortgage during the fixed period.’

    the times

    9th september 2013
  • Commenting on lenders rush to lower rates:

    Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients said: ‘Swap rates — the inter-bank lending rate — have recently increased, which has led a number of lenders to increase their pricing, especially on longer-term fixes.

    ‘The potential for further reductions, while still possible, is negligible, while the potential for rates to go up is greater.

    ‘Borrowers should take comfort from the fact that any fixed rate secured now should be the lowest for many years.’

    the sunday times

    8th Spetmber 2013
  • Loyal mortgage customers are getting squeezed:

    Jonathan Harris of Anderson Harris, broker, said: ‘Some lenders are ruthless in attracting new business at the cost of existing customers, resulting in higher rates for those who are not inclined to shop around when their deals come to an end.’

    the sunday times

    8th september
  • Cited on lenders tightening up on interest-only borrowers:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Lenders are adopting such a hard-line approach to interest-only that it has started to become ridiculous.

    ‘There now seems to be no logic to it. Interest-only can be an appropriate mortgage structure for some people, but lenders are making blanket decisions that fail to account for each customer’s personal circumstances.’

    the telegraph

    7th September 2013
  • Commenting on UK lenders tightening mortgage restrictions based on age:

    Mortgage brokers Anderson Harris say they have seen a significant rise in the number of older borrowers approaching them for funding.

    These borrowers tend to be mainly in their late sixties or seventies and too old for most banks. They don’t tend to have the income requirements to qualify for funding but have other substantial assets such as a property portfolio or an art collection.

    Jonathan Harris of Anderson Harris said many asset-rich homeowners are looking to stay where they are and raise money to give them an income or time to sell up and downsize. The main options for them tend to be equity release or a private bank.

    the financial times

    7th september 2013
  • As first time buyers hit six year high, Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion, doesn’t believe a property bubble is imminent.

    He said: ‘Prices continue to rise but not as robustly as in the past few months, suggesting fears of a house price bubble are overstated.

    ‘A bubble implies that people are buying anything at any price and they aren’t. Buyers are being selective and sellers who are set on a certain price with little regard to what the market thinks the property is worth are struggling to sell.’

    the daily mail

    7th september 2013
  • Commenting on peristent house price rises:

    Nicholas Ayre, of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: ‘Prices continue to rise but not as robustly as in the past few months, suggesting fears of a house price bubble are overstated. A bubble implies that people are buying anything at any price and they aren’t. Buyers are being selective and sellers who are set on a certain price with little regard to what the market thinks the property is worth are struggling to sell.

    ‘The Government may be keen for property prices to keep on rising but this will be a long, slow recovery. Much ground has been lost and transactions and lending levels are running at a fraction of what they were at the height of the housing boom. While it’s useful to keep an eye on official numbers, ultimately it’s about the buyer making their own call. Don’t be too swayed by the fact that indices tell us prices are rising and end up panic buying in case you are priced out further. The buyer has to pay the mortgage and need to ensure they can afford it before taking the plunge.’

    the independent

    6th september 2013
  • Is there are argument for buying a home now?

    Jonathan Harris, of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘If you have found a property you wish to buy, the price is right and you can afford it, then now is a good time. There are some excellent mortgage rates available and prices in some parts of the country continue to rise, so now is as good a time as any to get on the housing ladder or move up.’

    Depending on your current situation, there’s an argument for waiting until January for the introduction of the mortgage guarantee element of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme. Then new borrowers will only need a 5 per cent deposit and will be able to buy older properties as well as new-builds.

    ‘However, there are fears that property prices may rise because more people will be in a position to buy,’ warns Mr Harris. ‘So it’s important to weigh up whether it is worth waiting or taking the plunge now, assuming you can afford to do so.’

    the independent

    6th September 2013
  • Commenting on the pros and cons of jumping on the housing ladder:

    Mark Harris, of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Don’t overstretch yourself financially. Take independent advice when it comes to getting a mortgage, and if you are buying an investment property make sure you do so in an area where it will be easy to find tenants, rather than buying something because you quite like it yourself.’

    the independent

    6th September 2013
  • Commentary on mansion tax sums:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The problem with this pernicious and grossly unfair tax is that it wouldn’t just hit just the wealthy in their mansions and swanky apartments but also homeowners living in relatively modest family homes who have benefited from house-price rises over the years. Many of these will be older homeowners who have all their worth tied up in their property and who would therefore struggle to pay anything like the £2,000-a-month average mansion tax.

    ‘The only option for many would be to sell up and trade down to a smaller property – quite a wrench when you consider that this is the family home they may have lived in for many years.’

    the daily telegraph

    2nd September 2013
  • Commenting on first time buyers returning to the market:

    ‘Help to Buy is creating more interest among would-be buyers and convincing many they can finally afford to get on to the housing ladder because they need only a 5 per cent deposit to do so,’ says Mark Harris from broker SPF Private Clients.

    ‘There’s much interest in the shared equity element of the scheme and we expect the mortgage guarantee element to be even more popular when it is introduced in January.’

    the sunday express

    1st September 2013
  • Commenting on parents paying deposits to keep mortgage interest rates low:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The biggest issue for first-time buyers has been the deposit. We are seeing more first-time buyers borrowing from the bank of mum and dad as confidence returns to the property market.

    ‘With government funding filtering through, we are now spoilt with mortgage rates. As long as banks lend prudently – and first-time buyers don’t overstretch – this is just the impetus the housing market needs.’

    the sunday telegraph

    1st September 2013
  • As House prices rise during the Summer:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage brokers Anderson Harris, said: ‘House prices continue their steady ascent, driven by increased confidence in the economy generally and rising employment.’

    He said growing numbers of first-time buyers were taking advantage of low mortgage rates, which indicated that price rises were not yet deterring them.

    ‘Government schemes such as Funding for Lending and Help to Buy will continue to support the growing availability of cheap mortgages in coming months, which should fuel further price increases,’ he added.

    the daily express

    31st August 2013
  • Quoted on multi-generational dwellings:

    Mark Harris, of the mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It can make a lot of sense for three generations of the same family to live together under one roof. It kills many birds with one stone – it resolves the problem of getting on the housing ladder for children, while also providing care and companionship for grandparents.’

    For young adults, getting on to the property market has never been so difficult. Many are consequently taking much longer to move out of the family home – while the so-called “Boomerang Generation” of recent graduates is returning home after university. Saving up for a deposit is an almost impossible task, with rents increasing across most of the country while wages have stood still and unemployment is still hitting hard at 7.8 per cent.

    the independent on sunday

    31st August 2013
  • As August house prices rise, Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘House prices continue their steady ascent, driven by increased confidence in the economy generally and rising employment. The uptick in prices is also fuelled by the rising number of first-time buyers taking advantage of low mortgage rates, indicating that price rises are not yet deterring them from getting on the housing ladder. However, if prices continue to rise at this pace, it could well become an issue.

    ‘Government schemes such as Funding for Lending and Help to Buy will continue to support the growing availability of cheap mortgages in coming months, which should fuel further price increases. However, once interest rates start to rise there could be plenty of people who find themselves in difficulty so it is important that borrowers take care and ensure they don’t overstretch themselves in their desperation to become a homeowner.’

    the independent

    30th August 2013
  • Commenting on the Nationwide House price index rise:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said that it was important for potential new buyers to still do their maths before making such a big financial decision.

    ‘Once interest rates start to rise, there could be plenty of people who find themselves in difficulty, so it is important that borrowers take care and ensure they do not overstretch themselves in their desperation to become a homeowner,’ he said.

    BBC News

    30th August 2013
  • Quoted on the struggle of middle income families to get a mortgage:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘House prices continue their steady ascent, particularly in the capital, which has been by far the strongest performing region in the past year. Yet even so, the number of first-time buyers is also increasing, according to recent CML data, showing that these price rises are not deterring them from getting on the housing ladder. The number of homes being repossessed also fell although it is still worrying that anyone is being repossessed when mortgage rates are so low. It goes to show that while confidence is returning to the housing market there are still some underlying problems, recovery is likely to be slow and when interest rates do start to rise there could be many who find themselves in difficulty.’

    the independent

    29th August 2013
  • Commenting on the Bank of Mum and Dad, as deposits hit £64,000 for first home in London:

    Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘First-time buyers are returning to the market in their droves in London.

    ‘But with average deposits of more than £60,000, many buyers will be getting assistance from the bank of mum and dad or leaving it until they are in their thirties before they realise their home ownership dream.

    ‘It is tough out there but the return of the first-time buyer is encouraging for the market as a whole.’

    the evening standard

    28th August 2013
  • The UK mortgage market is back as competition among lenders hots up.

    Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris says: ‘The mortgage market has definitely reopened for business, with a significant increase in the number of deals available to borrowers over the past year. It means much more choice at better rates – and this is true across the loan-to-value (LTV) curve.’

    the independent on sunday

    25th august 2013
  • Commenting on Standard Variable Rates:

    Adrian Anderson of Anderson Harris, the broker, said: ‘The SVR is increasingly important to factor in when choosing a deal. Before the financial crisis, borrowers rarely paid attention to it, assuming they would simply remortgage onto another deal when the time came.

    ‘Tighter borrowing criteria could mean that any change in a borrower’s circumstances, such as having children, a reduction in income or losing a job, or becoming self-employed, could make it hard for them to remortgage at the end of their deal. They may find themselves stuck on the SVR.’

    the sunday times

    25th august 2013
  • Commenting on Fractional Ownership:

    ….buyers of perfectly legitimate and good-quality Fractional Ownership homes may nonetheless find it hard to secure a mortgage if they cannot afford to buy a share in cash.

    ‘It’s not viable to get a mortgage as multiple buyers of one property mean lenders can’t take security on it,’ explains Jonathan Harris of mortgage broker Anderson Harris. ‘The fact that many of these schemes are overseas only makes lenders even more reluctant.’

    the independent on sunday

    25th august 2013
  • Commenting on Home Loan Deals:

    Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, the broker, said: ‘Borrowers need to be on their guard for sneaky moves by lenders to lure them onto less competitive deals.’

    the sunday times

    25th august 2013
  • Cited in an article on mortgage lending hitting a five year high:

    Mark Harris, of the mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Help to Buy, Funding for Lending and most recently, the Bank of England’s Forward Guidance, are all contributing to boost confidence in the market.

    ‘However, with returns on cash poor, buy-to-let investors returning to the market in droves and Government schemes to assist homebuyers, there is potentially the risk of a house price bubble. ‘Borrowers must not get carried away, buy sensibly and take care not to overstretch themselves, whether they are planning to live in the property or rent it out.’ The Bank’s ‘Forward Guidance’ means it will not increase the base rate from 0.5 per cent until the unemployment rate falls to seven per cent, subject to certain conditions. It is currently 7.8 per cent.

    the daily mail

    21st august 2013
  • On the subject of mortgage lending surge:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the outlook for the housing market was continuing to improve. But he warned: ‘With returns on cash poor, buy-to-let investors returning to the market in droves, and government schemes to assist homebuyers, there is potentially the risk of a house price bubble. Borrowers must not get carried away, buy sensibly and take care not to overstretch themselves, whether they are planning to live in the property or rent it out.

    ‘While the lending numbers are the strongest they have been since 2008, this will be a long, slow recovery. Lending levels are still running at a fraction of what they were at the height of the housing boom.’

    the guardian

    20th august 2013
  • Being quoted on July’s monthly mortgage figures being the highest since 2008:

    Mark Harris of upmarket mortgage broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘While the lending numbers are the strongest they have been since 2008, this will be a long, slow recovery. Lending levels are still running at a fraction of what they were at the height of the housing boom.’

    the telegraph

    20th august 2013
  • Commenting on the comeback of interest-only mortgages:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, welcomed the return of low-start, interest-only deals. ‘Interest-only mortgages have fallen out of fashion, with many lenders no longer offering them or significantly restricting their criteria. However, for the right borrower who has a considered repayment strategy in place, such as sizeable and regular bonuses, they can be a useful alternative to a capital and interest mortgage.

    ‘Borrowers will benefit from some respite to purchase white goods or enable them to re-establish some savings during the three-year interest-only period, safe in the knowledge that the mortgage will still be repaid in full by the end of the term.

    ‘However, borrowers need to beware of the payment shock after the three-year fixed-rate period ends and they move onto a repayment mortgage. Interest rates may also be rising by then, resulting in a double whammy.’

    the guardian

    19th august 2013
  • Cited on the issue of the Bank of England failing to stop rise in fixed rate prices:

    Carney predicted this would happen in 2016, but markets have forecast that the first rise could happen a year earlier. As a result, two-year swaps jumped from 0.68% to 0.84% in the past fortnight, while five-year swaps have risen from 1.38% to 1.77%, according to SPF Private Clients, the broker.

    the sunday times

    18th August 2013
  • Consider getting a mortgage now, while rates are so good.

    The increases mean the market expects the Bank Rate to rise sooner than Mr Carney has indicated. ‘It shows that while Mr Carney says one thing, the markets think another, with at least one Bank Rate rise priced in,’ said Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Can he really keep a lid on rates until 2016?’

    In normal mortgage market conditions, swap rate changes would feed rapidly into repriced mortgage deals for home owners, as banks typically raise a large chunk of their mortgage finance on the capital markets.

    the daily telegraph

    17th august 2013
  • Lenders soften their stance on the self-employed:

    The best two-year fix for borrowers with deposits – or equity – of 40 per cent or more is 1.89 per cent from Halifax, according to SPF Private Clients. This comes with a £1,499 fee. The lowest five-year fix for borrowers with deposits of 25 per cent or more is 3.19 per cent from Virgin, with a £995 fee.

    According to Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, many lenders are still not happy to lend to contractors and there remains a fairly limited choice of products. Those who will advance include Santander, Halifax, Woolwich, Clydesdale, Nationwide and Coventry Building Society.

    ‘Lenders want to see a record of contracting, with most insisting that the contractor has done their job for a minimum time,” said Mr Harris. “The length of the current contract is important, including the remaining time – most lenders look for at least six months left on the contract.’

    the financial times

    17th august 2013
  • Talking on how low interest rates affect mortgages:

    Jonathan Harris, of Anderson Harris brokerage, believes that variable mortgages are being overlooked. ‘With no real concern about rates rising in the next couple of years, they might be worth considering,’ he says. Harris points out that Cheltenham & Gloucester has a two-year tracker with a pay rate of 1.89 per cent — 1.39 per cent over the base rate — and a £2,094 fee for those with a 40 per cent deposit. Another option is the penalty-free tracker, which enables you to switch to a fix at any time, potentially once rates start to rise.

    The times

    16th August 2013
  • Client comments as lenders cut rates:

    Mark Harris, of SPF Private Clients, another broker, adds: ‘Lenders seem to have largely ignored both Carney’s remarks and Swap rates, and have continued with previously issued fixed rates pre-announcement, or in some cases reduced them.’

    the times

    16th August 2013
  • Don’t rush to buy just because prices are rising.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, is also concerned about the risks of a bubble.

    ‘With returns on cash hopeless, buy-to-let investors returning to the market in droves and the introduction of government schemes to help homebuyers, we have all the makings of a housing bubble so it is important to moderate and not get too carried away,’ he said.

    With the Bank of England’s base rate having never been lower and the new Bank Governor, Mark Carney, last week signalling that rates may not rise for three years, it’s no wonder more people are thinking about joining the property ladder or taking advantage of the attractive headline rates to move home.

    the independent

    16th August 2013
  • Commenting on house prices rising at their fastest pace for three years:

    Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘While the number of transactions continues to rise and the Council of Mortgage Lenders also report that lending numbers are the strongest they have been since 2008, this will be a long, slow recovery. Much ground has been lost and transactions and lending levels are running at a fraction of what they were at the height of the housing boom.

    ‘Government schemes such as Funding for Lending and Help to Buy are seeing a positive impact though, and we expect this to continue when the mortgage guarantee element of Help to Buy is introduced in January.’

    the daily telegraph

    16th August 2013
  • The Private Rental Market is changing for buy-to-let landlords. A few decades ago , being a landlord was a bit of a slog. Nowadays landlords are cab drivers with global portfolios and parents thinking ahead to get their toddlers on the property ladder.

    Another buy-to-let trend on the increase is couples who move in together and rent out one of their homes.

    ‘This is a much less scary proposition for many than deliberately going into buy-to-let. It enables them to keep their independence and a place of their own if the relationship doesn’t work out,’ says George Spencer, of property and technology company Rentify.

    The Daily telegraph

    15th August 2013
  • In response to the question about whether bank rates are likely to rise?

    ‘It shows that while Carney says one thing, the markets think another with at least one base rate rise priced in,’ according to Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Can he really keep a lid on rates until 2016?’

    the daily telegraph

    14th august 2013
  • While Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s policy on freezing interest rates brings no comfort to savers, it offers borrowers far more certainty than they have ever had. ‘This announcement will reassure over-stretched borrowers who are worried about potential rate rises,’ says Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘We expect fixed-rate mortgages to fall even further now. If lenders are to convince borrowers to opt for a fix when interest rates are unlikely to rise, pricing needs to be extremely attractive. Borrowers who prefer the certainty of a fix – and particularly those looking for something beyond the next three years when it is less certain what will happen with rates – should consider a five-year fix. Two-year fixes don’t make much sense when interest rates are not going to rise during that period of time.’

    The Sunday Express

    11th August 2013
  • With interest rates likely to stay low for some time, what should borrowers do? Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Those who are coming up to remortgage may be tempted to hold off for a few weeks when we expect rates to fall further. But if you have found a property that you wish to buy, waiting for rates to fall may be risky as it might mean annoying the vendor and missing out on the property. Rates are so low that you are likely to get an excellent deal even now.’

    The Times

    10th August 2013
  • Mortgage brokers say the forward guidance from the Bank of England will help keep mortgage rates low, with some predicting a further fall in the cost of borrowing. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said lenders could cut fixed rates further. ‘They may already be at historic lows but if lenders are to convince borrowers to opt for a fix when interest rates are highly unlikely to rise, then pricing needs to be attractive,’ he said.

    The Financial Times

    9th August 2013
  • Buy-to-let lending tops £5bn, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. George Spencer of online lettings company Rentify, said: ‘This growth is fuelled by a renewed appetite from investors – both experienced and novice alike, along with better availability of buy-to-let mortgages at lower rates and with looser criteria than at any time in the past five years.’

    BBC News

    8th August 2013
  • Mark Carney’s announcement that interest rates are unlikely to move until 2016 at the earliest is a blow for savers. But Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said borrowers would benefit as fixed-rate mortgage costs might now fall even further as banks sought to entice customers.

    The Times

    8th August 2013
  • The buy-to-let sector is powering ahead. George Spencer of online lettings company Rentify, said: ‘It is not just the residential mortgage market which is picking up dramatically – the buy-to-let market is also seeing renewed confidence from landlords, with the number and value of loans at their highest level in five years. This growth is fuelled by a renewed appetite from investors – both experienced and novice alike, along with better availability of buy-to-let mortgages at lower rates and with looser criteria than at any time in the past five years. We expect the market to continue to grow at an impressive rate in coming months. We are adding rental properties to our website at the rate of 600 a week and now have 140,000 landlords and tenants registered with us as both sides look for alternatives to traditional high-street letting agents.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    8th August 2013
  • Today’s guidance from the Bank of England may result in lenders re-pricing their mortgage deals. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘We expect fixed-rate mortgages to fall even further on the back of this announcement. They may already be at historic lows but if lenders are to convince borrowers to opt for a fix when interest rates are highly unlikely to rise, then pricing needs to be attractive. Borrowers who prefer the certainty of a fixed rate and particularly those looking for something beyond the next three years when it is less certain what will happen with interest rates, should consider a five-year fixed-rate deal.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    7th August 2013
  • Commenting on rethinking Stamp Duty:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The stamp duty system is archaic and fundamentally unfair.

    ‘It should be urgently reformed so that it is banded and no artificial markets are created. This would make pricing of property easier and ensure no abuse of prices around the band changes.’

    the daily express

    7th august 2013
  • Quoted in Britain is Booming:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘This will be a long, slow recovery. Much ground has been lost and transactions and lending levels are running at a fraction of what they were at the height of the housing boom.’

    daily mail

    7th August 2013
  • The Bank of England announced that interest rates are likely to stay low until 2016. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘This is far more certainty than we have ever had and while it brings no comfort to savers, it will reassure overstretched borrowers who are worried about potential rate rises. We expect fixed-rate mortgages to fall even further on the back of this announcement. They may already be at historic lows but if lenders are to convince borrowers to opt for a fix when interest rates are highly unlikely to rise, then pricing needs to be attractive.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    7th August 2013
  • Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, has indicated that interest rates won’t rise until 2016 at the earliest. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘We expect fixed-rate mortgages to fall even further on the back of this announcement. They may already be at historic lows but if lenders are to convince borrowers to opt for a fix when interest rates are highly unlikely to rise, then pricing needs to be attractive.’ He adds that borrowers who prefer the certainty of a fixed rate should consider a five-year fix, to provide security beyond the three-year mark when there could be an uptick in rates.

    The Guardian

    7th August 2013
  • As House Prices continue to rise our client’s comments are cited:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ”It is still too early to describe the housing market as being in rude health, however, as there is a worrying lack of stock, which is the main driver behind the latest rise in house prices. However, the number of transactions is also on the rise.

    ‘While the number of transactions continues to rise and the Council of Mortgage Lenders also report that lending numbers are the strongest they have been since 2008, this will be a long, slow recovery. Much ground has been lost and transactions and lending levels are running at a fraction of what they were at the height of the housing boom. Government schemes such as Funding for Lending and Help to Buy are seeing a positive impact though, and we expect this to continue when the mortgage guarantee element of Help to Buy is introduced in January.’

    the independent

    6th august 2013
  • House price rises, but no boom say some in the industry.

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It is still too early to describe the housing market as being in rude health, as there is a worrying lack of stock, which is the main driver behind the latest rise in house prices.

    ‘London remains a unique case with many agents reviewing their forecasts for prime central London in particular. Overseas buyers are fuelling demand, with London increasingly seen as a safe haven for their money and this shows no signs of abating. In other parts of the country, the picture is very different.’

    the times

    6th august 2013
  • Following the sixth consecutive month for house price rises:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The outlook for the housing market continues to improve as increased mortgage availability, better rates and more choice at higher loan-to-values combine to make buyers more confident about their ability to get funding.

    ‘It is still too early to describe the housing market as being in rude health, however, as there is a worrying lack of stock, which is the main driver behind the latest rise in house prices. However, the number of transactions is also on the rise.’

    the guardian

    6th august 2013
  • Passing comment on House Price rises:

    Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘This will be a long, slow recovery.

    ‘Much ground has been lost and transactions and lending levels are running at a fraction of what they were at the height of the housing boom.

    ‘Government schemes such as Funding for Lending and Help to Buy are seeing a positive impact though, and we expect this to continue when the mortgage guarantee element of Help to Buy is introduced in January.’

    daily mail

    6th august 2013
  • Commenting on navigating through the Mortgage Maize:

    ‘Most lenders will offer around three-and-a-half times an applicant’s income, but some, such as Santander, lend up to six times, according to Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients, the broker.’

    the sunday times

    4th august 2013
  • The Yorkshire Building Society is offering borrowers with a 35 per cent deposit a five-year fixed-rate mortgage at a rate of 2.44 per cent with a £1,345 fee. This is, quite possibly, the lowest rate yet for a five-year fixed rate — and if it isn’t, it is certainly the lowest in the careers of many a broker. ‘It is remarkable. I’ve never seen a five-year fixed rate as favourable as this in 20 years working in the industry,’ says Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘It was not so long ago that we were getting excited about 3.99 per cent.’

    …For buyers with smaller deposits — 10 to 15 per cent — Harris says that there are mortgage deals around ‘but the rates aren’t very exciting’.

    The Times

    2nd August 2013
  • Adrian Anderson is a director of broker Anderson Harris. He says the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) started to make an impact last autumn and momentum has been growing. ‘In the last year interest rates, especially fixed rates, have gone down significantly. Twelve months ago you would have paid an average of 4.7% for a five-year fixed-rate mortgages, and now you would pay about 3.7%. Rates on two-year fixed-rates have fallen by a similar amount.

    ‘At the beginning from what we could see most of the FLS money was quite concentrated on mortgages at lower loan-to-values, but the people who are benefiting now are first-time buyers and others who are borrowing at a high LTV. The main change has been price. I think the banks have relaxed their [lending] criteria a little bit, but borrowers are still having to prove their incomes.

    ‘FLS has definitely been a good thing for the mortgage market, for the banks who are lending, for mortgage brokers and for borrowers. I have seen a lot of clients who were on lenders’ standard variable rates decide to remortgage now because rates are so good. Most are choosing five-year fixed-rate loans because they are worried about years three, four and five when rates might have started to rise again.’

    The Guardian

    1st August 2013
  • Having unpaid mortgage debt in your 60s isn’t necessarily the end of the world, says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Growing numbers now find themselves in this position, perhaps because they have helped their children or released equity from their home,’ he says.

    The Sunday Express

    31st July 2013
  • It is now the most rewarding time to remortgage for six years. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Always work out the total cost of the deal – rate plus fees – when comparing products, rather than going purely by rate. It will differ according to the size of your loan, so checking the total cost ensures you don’t pay over the odds in the long run.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    27th July 2013
  • Blue-chip tenants and corporate lettings are the holy grail of buy-to-let. George Spencer of Rentify property services, says: ‘We have seen a rise in the number of DIY landlords who don’t use a lettings agent but who are seeking corporate tenants. This is a trickier market and requires professional expertise.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    26th July 2013
  • The Help to Buy equity loan is already helping to pump up house prices. The second part, the mortgage guarantee scheme, could have an even greater impact. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The equity loan is restricted to new-build properties but the mortgage guarantee is also open to people buying existing properties which is likely to give the housing market another boost next year.’

    The Daily Express

    24th July 2013
  • Lending figures for June show homeowners cautiously paying down debts, according to the British Bankers’ Association. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Borrowers who can afford to continue to overpay on their mortgages, taking advantage of low interest rates. There is also a reluctance to take on extra borrowing because of the uncertain jobs climate. While lending volumes continue to improve we remain some way off a sustained recovery.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    23rd July 2013
  • A shortage of affordable housing and elderly relatives in need of care are driving more families to move three generations under one roof. ‘It might not be everyone’s dream scenario but elderly parents in need of care, and rising household costs, mean we are increasingly seeing several generations of the same family living together,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘This can make a lot of sense as combining finances means there is more money available to buy a bigger home, while there are plenty of people around to care for elderly relatives and keep them company.’

    Experts say families should consult a lawyer and get authoritative tax advice before making any firm commitments to multi-generational living. Mr Anderson said: ‘It is always worth seeking advice as to the best way of structuring any finance that may be required as it is a bit of a grey area.

    ‘Putting an elderly grandparent on the mortgage is likely to deter lenders because many don’t like lending to anyone past retirement age, plus there could well be a problem trying to prove income if they are relying on a pension or savings to pay their share of the mortgage.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    21st July 2013
  • Help to Buy, the Government’s aid package for young homebuyers, has a useful spin-off for parents. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘There has been a growing trend for parents, and increasingly grandparents, to move to a smaller property in order to free up money to help their children or grandchildren on to the housing ladder.

    ‘The introduction and expansion of the Help to Buy scheme means this is no longer necessary. As long as parents or grandparents can help with a modest 5 per cent deposit, there is no need to sell up. Funds can be kept to pay for retirement and other outgoings.’

    Giles Hannah of estate agency VanHan, says: ‘The extension of the Help to Buy scheme to cover older properties as well as newbuild is likely to make it incredibly popular.’ 

    The Daily Telegraph

    20th July 2013
  • Parking spaces in prime Central London are ‘without doubt’ the most unrecognised investment opportunity, according to Giles Hannah, of VanHan, the estate agent. He says that some have increased by 100 per cent in value in only two years and this trend shows no sign of abating.

    ‘Secure underground parking spaces in Knightsbridge can cost around £300,000 each — the price of a good house in some UK postcodes.

    ‘There is a huge lack of supply and many high-net-worth individuals who live in the capital’s most desirable addresses require parking for their car collections or staff. They will often pay any price for this, making the right space an incredible mid-term investment if you purchase and flip it on for a profit.

    ‘In some new developments, such as 199 The Knightsbridge, high-profile families require security and will pay £250,000 for a single underground parking space so that they can drive into their apartment building without being seen. When the object is security, buyers will often pay a huge price, so if you are selling a space you will see an incredible return.’

    The Times

    20th July 2013
  • Spotting the next big thing is every investor’s dream, despite advisers’ sensible warnings against speculation. Lending to homebuyers is a little-known option. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Investors looking for generous and quick returns on their money can lend to people who require relatively short-term finance for property transactions by way of a bridge or six to twelve-month development programme.

    ‘Brokers can put these investors in touch with borrowers who typically find that the banks won’t lend to them or the rate that they are being offered is extortionate.This is potentially very high-risk and therefore only really suitable for clients who are very wealthy and who also understand the property market. Returns significantly outweigh traditional deposit accounts or collective investments. For example, someone investing £2 million for six months could look to recover an initial 1.5 per cent fee, plus 9 per cent interest over the loan term.’

    The Times

    20th July 2013
  • When the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme is introduced next January, existing borrowers may be able to take advantage of more competitive rates when they remortgage. If you have savings earning next to nothing in the way of interest, it might make sense to pay down a chunk of the mortgage, pushing you into a lower LTV band, says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘If your LTV is 90 per cent you could get a five-year fix for 4.39 per cent from Nottingham Building Society with £299 fee. Push the LTV down to 75 per cent and you might be able to get First Direct’s five-year fix at 2.99 per cent with £499 fee. On a £150,000 mortgage, that’s a saving of £175 per month.’

    The Times

    20th July 2013
  • The Government’s Help to Buy scheme for young homebuyers has a useful spin-off for parents. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Parents who may have worried about helping children with sizeable deposits will appreciate a scheme that could limit their involvement to 5 per cent of the purchase price, enabling them to keep hold of savings for their own outgoings or retirement planning.

    ‘Parents who plan to buy a property for children at university, for example, will need to produce a much smaller down payment.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    20th July 2013
  • A scary statistic from lettings agent Rentify: The average Londoner rents until they are 37 years old. By the time they’ve paid down a 25-year mortgage, they’re no more than a few years away from retirement, which leaves lenders with little room for error.

    The Evening Standard

    17th July 2013
  • Stepping off the housing ladder needn’t be a backwards move. But getting stability if you rent can be tricky. ‘Other lenders should follow Nationwide’s lead and accept tenancies longer than 12 months as this provides more stability for tenants and there is no real reason why they shouldn’t,’ says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Some lenders already allow longer-term housing association lets or corporate lets.’

    Independent on Sunday

    14th July 2013
  • Older homeowners are accused of muscling out first-time buyers. ‘Downsizing among this demographic by purchasing smaller homes using equity built up over years of booming property prices is a growing trend,’ says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘And often, money is no object: they can buy with plenty of surplus left over for supplementing their pension.’

    The Observer

    14th July 2013
  • The first ever 0 per cent mortgage deal was launched this week by Leeds Building Society. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The advantage of the Leeds product is that for those using the bulk of their savings for the deposit it would allow a brief respite to purchase white goods or enable them to re-establish some savings.’

    The Financial Times

    12th July 2013
  • The average house price is now over £230,000, according to LSL Property Services. George Spencer of property and technology company Rentify, said: ‘Significant growth in the buy-to-let market is occurring alongside the recovery in the residential mortgage market, not at the expense of it. The growing trend for people to live on their own means landlords are spotting opportunities and expanding their portfolios while first-time buyers are also managing to get on the housing ladder if they have the necessary deposit and income to do so. However, buying doesn’t suit everyone, the flexibility of renting is more important to some.’ 

    The Independent

    12th July 2013
  • Online estate agents offer virtually all the services of a traditional estate agent – and their fees can be thousands of pounds lower. Online agents work best for people selling attractive properties in popular areas, adds Giles Hannah, of residential agency VanHan. ‘Local estate agents really come into their own if your property is tricky to sell, say because it is on a busy road, as they will be able to point out its redeeming features during a viewing,’ he said.

    The Observer

    7th July 2013
  • Wealth Matters: A reader wants to know whether she should sell her house in the country to buy a flat with her daughter in London. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris suggested buying a smaller flat for cash and seeking a mortgage on a buy-to-let property: ‘The income requirements will be less onerous as the lender will take the rental income into account when deciding how much you can borrow,’ he says.

    The Sunday Times

    7th July 2013
  • High street lenders are offering the most competitive rates for homeowners seeking large mortgages, providing borrowers with a cheaper, though less flexible, alternative to private banks. ‘High street lenders have demonstrated more of an appetite for large loans over the past six to 12 months,’ said Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. 

    The Financial Times

    6th July 2013
  • The average house price in the three months to June 2013 rose by 3.7 per cent compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Halifax. Giles Hannah of estate agency VanHan, said: ‘It is becoming increasingly clear that the UK has two distinct markets – London and the rest. It is no surprise that London now has the highest price gap compared to rest of the UK in terms of average price rises because it is so internationally facing. There is a continued influx of foreign capital into prime central London, particularly for property costing up to £6m. Prices are expected to continue to rise over the next few years, beating most other asset classes hands down. The market between £10m to £20m is slightly slower as millionaire buyers are being more cautious and assessing their tax structures.

    ‘What is clear is that the super prime market – £50m-plus – is active with several multimillion pound deals taking place in London’s prime postcodes. The super prime buyers are not concerned by taxes or any stamp duty they might incur as they have cash to spend and the costs of a purchase are just seen as another bill, which their accountant handles. We have seen an influx of funds from Saudi Arabia in particular, with large budgets for the best apartments and houses virtually at any price.’

    City AM

    4th July 2013
  • UK mortgage approvals are at a three-year high according to the Bank of England. ‘While the numbers continue to rise, they are still well below what they were at the peak of the market before the crisis,” said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    ‘The health of the housing sector is showing a slow and steady improvement but it is by no means out of intensive care just yet.’

    BBC News

    1st July 2013
  • Brokers report that Funding for Lending is starting to reduce the cost of home loans for those with a 10 per cent deposit.  Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘May was the strongest month in lending terms since October 2008, illustrating that recovery in the housing market is well under way. This comes as no surprise: finally, the pickup in business that estate agents and mortgage brokers have been reporting since the start of the year is filtering through to the official figures.

    ‘Falling mortgage rates on the back of Funding for Lending are resulting in some of the cheapest fixed-rate mortgages ever, and this trend shows no signs of abating.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    1st July 2013
  • Turmoil in the financial markets means wholesale interest rates are rising. But it doesn’t necessarily mean mortgage rates will rise. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Despite the significant jump in swap rates it is important to remember that lenders are not relying wholly on the money markets for funding.

    ‘Many are now accessing Funding for Lending cash and so rising swaps shouldn’t affect this. The economy is still weak and we don’t expect interest rates to rise in the near future – but borrowers looking for a fixed rate might want to consider moving sooner rather than later.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    30th June 2013
  • Landlords will be able to offer their tenants longer-term contracts followed by a policy change by one of the biggest buy-to-let lenders. Brokers expect more to increase their maximum tenancies. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Generally, private banks and commercial lenders will already accept tenancies longer than 12 months. Some lenders also already allow longer-term corporate or housing association lets.’

    The Sunday Times

    30th June 2013
  • First-time buyers’ struggle to get onto the property ladder is continuing to fuel buy-to-let demand. Rentify, a website that offers to “cut out the middle man” by helping landlords market and manage their rentals themselves, says it is seeing 600 new properties listed each week.

    The business, which launched in 2011, allows landlords to advertise their properties for free and download contracts that can be customised. They can also get a tenant profile and credit check for £15 and list on Zoopla and Rightmove from £14.99. Rentify recently secured £2 million of funding from Balderton Capital.

    The Times

    29th June 2013
  • The Bank of England base rate has been stuck at 0.5% for more than four years now, and outgoing Bank boss Mervyn King has indicated it won’t be going up anytime soon.

    Jonathan Harris at broker Anderson Harris says that despite the significant jump in swap rates over the past few days, ‘it is important to remember that lenders are not relying wholly on the money markets for funding. Many are accessing the Funding for Lending scheme, which means cheaper funds, and rising swaps will not affect this. However, borrowers looking for a fixed rate might want to consider moving sooner rather than later as there are no guarantees that rates will be around in a few weeks, no matter what happens to swaps,’ he adds.

    The Guardian

    29th June 2013
  • Sir Mervyn King this week warned that homeowners in their thirties and forties were facing a mortgage timebomb. ‘It’s a bit late in the day for Mervyn King to be warning of ticking timebombs as he heads for the exit, but it is important that everyone considers how they will repay their mortgage, whether they are in their thirties or forties, or not,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Independent

    28th June 2013
  • The rates at which banks and other financial institutions lend to each other has risen sharply. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Despite the significant jump in swap rates it is important to remember that lenders are not relying wholly on the money markets for funding. Many are now accessing Funding for Lending cash and so rising swaps shouldn’t affect this. The economy is still weak and we don’t expect interest rates to rise in the near future – but borrowers looking for a fixed rate might want to consider moving sooner rather than later.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    26th June 2013
  • The super-cheap fixed-rate mortgages that have been on offer in recent months could be set to climb as the cost of funding increases. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Despite the significant jump in swap rates over the past few days, it is important to remember that lenders are not relying wholly on the money markets for funding. Many are now accessing Funding for Lending which means cheaper funds and rising swaps will not affect this.’

    The Times

    25th June 2013
  • Paragon Mortgages has withdrawn its fixed-rate mortgage products following the recent jump in swap rates. ’Despite the significant jump in swap rates over the past few days, it is important to remember that lenders are not relying wholly on the money markets for funding,’ says Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Many are now accessing the Funding for Lending Scheme which means cheaper funds and rising swaps will not affect this.’

    The Financial Times

    25th June 2013
  • Borrowers tempted by a fixed-rate mortgage at a rock-bottom rate should get their skates on to secure a deal. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Borrowers will be wondering just how low fixed rates can go after some lenders cut rates again, and whether they should hold off in case rates fall again before taking the plunge and securing a deal. But if you can secure what is one of the historically cheapest fixes ever, it makes sense to do so now.’

    The Observer

    23rd June 2013
  • Five-year fixed rates continue to fall to new lows. ‘While we don’t expect interest rates to rise in the next two years, they could well do so within five years so it makes sense to fix for the medium term,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Many borrowers are happier to commit to five rather than 10 years.’

    The Sunday Express

    23rd June 2013
  • As the school holidays kick in, the property market traditionally goes flat – a phenomenon known in the trade as the kipper season. Nathalie Hirst, a buying agent, says: ‘These long-standing properties do not necessarily reflect a poor property, but more often a poorly priced property. With the onset of the very long kipper season, and possibly with vendors wishing to finally move on and buy something else, some strong negotiations can take place.’

    The Times

    21st June 2013
  • UK mortgage lending surged to its highest monthly level since October 2008 in May, said the Council of Mortgage Lenders. ‘Recovery in the housing market is well underway,” said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘This comes as no surprise: finally, the pick-up in business that estate agents and mortgage brokers have been reporting since the start of the year is filtering through to the official figures.’

    BBC News

    20th June 2013
  • Mortgage lending jumped to its highest level since the start of the credit crunch in May, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Falling mortgage rates on the back of Funding for Lending are resulting in some of the cheapest fixed-rate mortgages ever, and this trend shows no signs of abating.’

    The Financial Times

    20th June 2013
  • Mortgage lending was up 21 per cent in May, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said a slew of cheap, fixed-rate deals and lenders’ relaxing their criteria has helped the upswing. ‘This comes as no surprise: finally, the pick-up in business that estate agents and mortgage brokers have been reporting since the start of the year is filtering through to the official figures,’ he said.

    The Guardian

    20th June 2013
  • UK house prices jumped by 2.6 per cent in the past year, according to the Office for National Statistics. Giles Hannah of London agency VanHan, said: ‘The national average figures demonstrate a clear divide between London, the home counties and then the UK as a whole. In London, house prices will likely continue an upwards trend over the next three years owing to the severe lack of supply of new homes actually ready and completed. Internationals from Singapore and Hong Kong are buying off plan in new developments, particularly in Covent Garden, which has seen prices soar in the past year. This is not a bubble, the market is simply rising with increased demand, a severe lack of supply and an improving economy in the UK.’

    The Independent

    18th June 2013
  • Landlords were given a helping hand as BM Solutions axed its minimum income rule. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The income changes will be beneficial for some self-employed landlords in particular but changes to the rental calculation may make it trickier for others.’

    The Times

    15th June 2013
  • Gross mortgage lending rose by 5 per cent in April, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Growth in the housing market is steady rather than spectacular and certainly not back to the levels seen at the height of the housing boom. Remortgaging gained some ground in April but one would still expect to see more of this, given the rock-bottom mortgage rates now available.’

    The Independent

    13th June 2013
  • Skipton Building Society has cut its two-year fixed-rate mortgage. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘This is a market-leading rate for those who are looking to borrow 90pc of their property’s value. With no fee either this is likely to be popular with those who have modest deposits.’ 

    The Daily Telegraph

    11th June 2013
  • Mortgage rates could fall below 1.5pc when a rush of new lenders arrives on the market in coming months. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is likely that those borrowers who will benefit most from new entrants are those who have been on the fringes in terms of their attractiveness to lenders. With more lenders coming into the market and competing, it is likely that criteria will loosen as lenders don’t vie simply to offer the cheapest rate.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    9th June 2013
  • Pregnant women and new mothers who feel they are being treated unfairly when trying to arrange a mortgage are to get help under new guidelines for lenders. ‘It can be tricky getting a mortgage when you are on maternity leave, particularly as lenders take different stances,’ says Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Woolwich will only take your statutory maternity pay into account at the time of application, whereas quite a few other lenders will take your full pay into account before maternity leave, assuming your employer confirms your role will remain the same after you return.’

    The Sunday Times

    9th June 2013
  • Nationwide has changed its rules so new borrowers can overpay by up to 10 per cent of the outstanding mortgage balance per annum. So, if you are able to shovel extra cash into your mortgage, should you? Mark Harris at broker SPF Private Clients says: ‘When interest rates are at record lows, it makes sense to overpay on your mortgage. Sensible borrowers will use the ‘savings’ they are making each month to overpay, clearing the balance of their mortgage more quickly and saving thousands of pounds in interest in the long run. However, the reality is that with rising living costs, many people will instead have been using the money saved each month for other outgoings.’

    Adrian Anderson at broker Anderson Harris, says that while overpaying is a wise move, borrowers need to ensure they keep some money back for emergencies. ‘Money overpaid is notoriously difficult to get back again so don’t plough all your savings into the mortgage – keep some back to pay for an unexpected outgoing. Also, lenders have different rules on overpaying, with some allowing 10% per annum and others 20%, so make sure you don’t overpay by more than you are officially allowed, or you will have to pay a penalty for your prudence, which makes no sense at all.’

    The Guardian

    8th June 2013
  • Japanese knotweed has been found in Hampstead, with residents worried it will destroy their properties’ foundations and values overnight. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘If Japanese knotweed is found, it needs to be investigated and can raise alarm bells with lenders. It doesn’t have to be a deal breaker but there are two or three banks which will not lend if it is found.’ 

    The Daily Telegraph

    6th June 2013
  • After a six-year property recession the capital is showing signs of a recovery that extends beyond the gilded streets of prime central London. Giles Hannah of London agency VanHan, believes Zone 2 is booming because UK buyers have been priced out of the centre of the city. ‘Hammersmith is a core market to watch with excellent transport links, easy access to the City and to Westfield, making it a perfect area for families who need facilities, space, large gardens, off-street parking and who do not want to pay Kensington and Chelsea prices,’ he said.

    The Evening Standard

    5th June 2013
  • Buy-to-let has shrugged off the financial crisis to become one of the most tempting investments. Cheap mortgages and sluggish property prices, especially outside London, have made buy-to-let affordable for many, says Mark Harris at broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Interest rates have been at historic lows for more than four years and that shows no sign of changing,’ he says. ‘Lenders are also easing their criteria, which makes it easier to get a mortgage.’

    The Daily Express

    4th June 2013
  • If you are struggling to meet mortgage repayments or have already fallen behind, ask your lender about changing the terms. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It may be possible to extend your term for a few years, giving you longer to pay back the capital, or even to switch to interest-only for a period.’

    The Sunday Times

    2nd June 2013
  • The UK mortgage market is on the up again. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Rates are likely to fall further still, but we also expect lenders to loosen criteria as they get fed up with competing with each other over pricing. Some of the smaller lenders may not have the capacity for big battles on the rate front and are likely to tweak criteria instead, which will be welcome.’

    Independent on Sunday

    2nd June 2013
  • Nationwide building society changed the terms of its mortgage deals last week, allowing new customers to overpay by up to 10% of their loans each year. However, be careful not to overstretch yourself. ‘Money overpaid is notoriously difficult to get back, so keep some for emergencies,’ said Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. A more flexible option could be an offset mortgage, which allows savings held in a linked instant-access account to be used to reduce the interest charged.

    The Sunday Times

    2nd June 2013
  • Homeowners should be overpaying their loans while interest rates are so low. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘In the shorter term, with lenders continuing to offer the most competitive mortgage rates to those with sizeable amounts of equity in their homes, it makes sense to improve your equity position if you can. Overpaying will make you more attractive to lenders and make it easier for you to remortgage.’

    The Scotsman

    1st June 2013
  • Cover story, Bricks & Mortar: Estate agency VanHan is selling a five-bedroom, four-storey semi-detached house in Hammersmith, West London, on the market for £4.75m. The kitchen and family room, with its limestone-tiled floor, is 51ft long; this flows into a conservatory that is a further 16.5ft in length. Gazing at this expanse of living and green space, it’s hard to remember that the office blocks of Hammersmith, and its Tube station and shopping centre are only four minutes’ ambling walk away.

    The Times

    31st May 2013
  • The government’s Help to Buy scheme has led to a boom in demand from first-time buyers for new-build homes, according to Knight Frank. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The growing population and trend for an increasing number of people to live on their own means we are simply not building enough houses and flats.’

    Money Observer

    28th May 2013
  • Low mortgage rates are helping purchasers get access to the market. ‘In London, there remains an incredible demand for housing, which supports prices, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If you have the finances available and have found the right property, then go for it, says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    City AM

    28th May 2013
  • Workers on fixed-term contracts rather than in full-time employment could soon find it easier to get a mortgage with the Halifax, thanks to an easing of its loan criteria. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Lenders have been competing on pricing, constantly undercutting each other, but are beginning to be more flexible on criteria. However, some remain nervous of big gaps between contracts.’

    The Sunday Times

    26th May 2013
  • The UK population may be living and working for longer, but this hasn’t stopped lenders running scared from older borrowers. ‘It is getting harder for older borrowers both to get a mortgage in the first instance and then to remortgage when they come to the end of their existing deal. Lenders have been tightening criteria, with many now not wanting to lend beyond the age of 70 or 75,’ says Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris.

    ‘Private banks do tend to want to lend to these individuals as the wealth-management opportunity will be significant when the existing family home is sold and other investments are cashed in to fund the remainder of their retirement and the passing on of wealth to their children,’ he added.

    Independent on Sunday

    26th May 2013
  • Fresh evidence that the housing market recovery is underway emerged today with the news that mortgage approvals rose by 2.4% in April 2013. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Borrowers continue to overpay on their mortgages, taking advantage of record low interest rates, and pay down debt where they can. This makes sense – why leave savings languishing in accounts paying such poor rates of interest when you can reduce your borrowing instead?’

    Moneywise

    24th May 2013
  • Property prices in the 12 months to March 2013 increased by 2.7 per cent, edging up slightly compared to the annual 1.9 per cent rise recorded in February, according to the Office for National Statistics. Giles Hannah of estate agency VanHan, says: ‘The national average figures demonstrate a clear divide between London, the home counties and the UK as a whole. In London, house prices are likely to continue on an upwards trend over the next three years with a severe lack of supply of new homes.’

    The Daily Mail

    21st May 2013
  • Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in the 12 months to March 2013 UK house prices rose by 2.7 per cent. Giles Hannah of estate agency VanHan, said: ‘The national average figures demonstrate a clear divide between London, the home counties and the UK as a whole. In London house prices are likely to continue on an upwards trend over the next three years with a severe lack of supply for new homes.’

    The Independent

    21st May 2013
  • The UK housing market is seeing a slight pick-up in activity with mortgage lending and prices both rising, figures have suggested. Gross mortgage lending was up 4% in April, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The mortgage market is recovering. The continued availability of extremely competitive rates across the spectrum will help inspire confidence and should continue to boost the housing market.’

    BBC News

    21st May 2013
  • Pop into a post office and you will now be offered an array of financial products alongside the passport application forms and books of stamps. The Post Office primarily offers mortgages to those who have at least 25pc equity in their home. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘With a wide range of deals for different levels of deposit and various fee options, there is something for most borrowers.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    20th May 2013
  • Exchange-traded funds are sold on the stock market just like ordinary shares and in their simplest form they track the moves in a particular index, just like a tracker. Robert Currie of private bank Nedbank Private Wealth, sees a place for active and passive investment vehicles in investors’ portfolios. ‘ETFs are ideal for gaining inexpensive exposure to markets in which the majority of active managers struggle to outperform, such as the FTSE 100 stock index. As the number and variety of ETFs has expanded it gives investors more options to diversify their portfolio across different sectors and asset classes,’ he said.

    Independent on Sunday

    19th May 2013
  • Wealth Matters: A reader’s divorced daughter is worried about securing ownership of her house now that her ex-husband had left the house and signed an informal document saying he has no further financial interest in it. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, advised: ‘The lender won’t release your former son-in-law from the loan until it is convinced that your daughter can pay it on her own.’

    The Sunday Times

    19th May 2013
  • Mortgage rates have been falling, but should you lock into a fixed-rate deal now… or wait and see in case rates drop even further? Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘There are some great fixed rates available. But make sure you don’t fix for longer than you are absolutely sure about or you will have to pay a hefty redemption penalty to get out of the mortgage.’

    The Sunday Mirror

    19th May 2013
  • Britain’s housing market is becoming increasingly polarised. Lucy Yorke-Long of estate agency VanHan, says: ‘The divide exists because London is the only UK city to be globally facing, and the infrastructure and economy is strongest and far more advanced than in other parts of the country.’

    Rob Manson of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Many lenders prefer to lend in the South. However, some of the northern-based lenders think the London market is overcooked and can’t get their heads around values.’

    The Times

    17th May 2013
  • Giles Hannah of agency VanHan says that London is the safest investment there may be: ‘London property prices are nearly 20 per cent higher today than they were at the 2007 pre-crash peak. London property is a mid- to long-term investment, and even if the bubble was to burst, London historically always recovers. London has a stable economy and is seen as a global city and is centrally located in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for trade. The Gulf has the world’s best airlines and with the excellent air transport links from the region to London, we can see interest in London property investment increasing for the next few years.’

    Gulf News

    14th May 2013
  • Pressure is growing on banks to ease tough restrictions on mortgages for new-build homes. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘New-build flats make lenders nervous due to the significant depreciation of their value on purchase. Some lenders will value a new-build property on the second-hand valuation, which means lots of properties are down valued, making it tricky for buyers.’

    The Sunday Times

    12th May 2013
  • Consumers disillusioned with banks are turning to building societies. ‘As the big banks continue to deleverage, gaps are appearing in the mortgage market and building societies are quick to fill these,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘They have always been more nimble and that’s really apparent right now.’

    The Sunday Express

    12th May 2013
  • The housing market is showing springlike green shoots in many parts of the country. Whether you are upsizing or downsizing, there are ways to save money. ‘To get the best mortgage deals you need the biggest deposit you can find. If you have savings earning little in the way of interest, consider whether you could use them to boost your deposit and so cut the rate of interest you pay,’ said Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris.

    If you are on a good deal, check that you can move it. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Some lenders are fighting tooth and nail to stop borrowers ‘porting’ good-value legacy mortgage rates when they want to move.’

    Anthony Ward Thomas, who runs his own removals firm, said: ‘Like most things in life, you generally get what you pay for. If you haven’t used a removals firm before, or didn’t get a good service, ask friends for recommendations.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    11th May 2013
  • House prices rocketed to a three-year high in April, according to the Halifax. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Activity has been busier since the start of this year than at any time since the downturn. It may take a while for this to feed through into the official numbers but the signs are encouraging – more people feel they can get a mortgage as Funding for Lending pushes down the cost of funding.’

    The Daily Express

    9th May 2013
  • By the end of March, buy-to-let lending accounted for a record 13.4pc of the total £1.2trillion of mortgages in the UK – up from 13pc in the final three months of last year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘With lower mortgage rates as a result of Funding for Lending and lenders loosening criteria, it is no surprise that the buy-to-let sector continues to blossom.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    9th May 2013
  • The buy-to-let sector now accounts for a record portion of total mortgage loans in the UK, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Giles Hannah of agency VanHan, said demand from tenants continued to fuel growth in the sector now. However, he warned that extra costs could become a factor if the government continued with plans to ensure landlords check the immigration status of tenants.

    BBC News

    9th May 2013
  • Prices rose  1.1% in April and 2% over the year but significant constraints remain on housing demand, according to the Halifax. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Activity has been busier since the start of this year than at any time since the downturn, sending out the positive message that the situation is finally improving. It may take a while for this to feed through to the official numbers, but the signs are encouraging.’

    The Guardian

    8th May 2013
  • House prices continued their upward trajectory in April, partly driven by a big drop in the level of new borrowers’ mortgage payments in relation to their income over the past six years, according to the Halifax. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said he had not seen any slowdown in mortgage approvals this year. ‘Activity has been busier since the start of this year than at any time since the downturn, sending out the positive message that the situation is finally improving.’

    Gulf Times

    8th May 2013
  • Prices in the three months to April were 2pc higher than in the same three months a year earlier, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Activity has been busier since the start of this year than at any time since the downturn, sending out the positive message that the situation is finally improving.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    8th May 2013
  • House prices between February and April were 1.3 per cent higher than in the previous three months, according to the Halifax.

    Giles Hannah of agency VanHan, said: ‘It must be remembered that this increase masks significant regional differences. The UK as a whole is seeing modest growth, with areas such as London, Oxford and Henley seeing price rises while Nottingham, Wales and the Midlands have seen price falls. London is undoubtedly the big success story and is doing a good job of pulling up the national average.’

    Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is surprising that official figures from the Halifax show that mortgage approvals eased slightly in the first quarter of 2013 because that is absolutely not what we are seeing ‘on the ground’. Activity has been busier since the start of this year than at any time since the downturn, sending out the positive message that the situation is finally improving.’

     

    The Independent

    8th May 2013
  • House prices continue to rise despite the dismal economic backdrop, according to the Land Registry. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, points out: ‘The extension of the Funding for Lending scheme makes home ownership more affordable, particularly as lenders continue to offer better rates at higher loan-to-values, which means first-time buyers don’t have to drum up such a big deposit.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    7th May 2013
  • Homeowners with interest-only deals may have to make hundreds of pounds in additional repayments each month to clear the debt by the end of their term.Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Interest-only is increasingly becoming the preserve of wealthier borrowers. Obtaining one of these mortgages can be a challenge. So many lenders have pulled out of the market that even the regulator has raised concerns that borrowers could suffer through a lack of options.’

    He added: ‘Some banks agree to the interest-only servicing of a mortgage but with the stipulation that the borrower reduces the debt by a specified amount each year via lump sums. The borrower gets the benefit of interest-only through cheaper monthly payments, but the bank effectively has a capital and interest loan on its books.’

    The Sunday Times

    5th May 2013
  • Wealth Matters: A reader writes that her sons have inherited money in a trust which the parents intend to invest in a buy-to-let flat with the mortgage in the father’s name. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Another option, if it’s financially viable, is to buy the boys a property each as their main residence, avoiding CGT, with their father as guarantor.’

    The Sunday Times

    5th May 2013
  • Borrowers with an interest-only mortgage could benefit from new plans to help them avoid facing a shortfall when their loan reaches maturity. Brokers say that interest only is becoming a niche product. ‘It is now the preserve of wealthier borrowers,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘So many lenders have withdrawn that even the regulator has raised concerns that borrowers could suffer through lack of options.’

    The Sunday Express

    5th May 2013
  • Regulators have issued a stark warning on interest-only mortgages. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘If you are on interest-only and can’t afford to switch to a repayment mortgage – the ideal option – there are a few other choices available to you. Overpay when you can…. this will increase your equity, making it easier to remortgage.

    ‘If you have savings sat in an account not earning much interest, you could also consider using these to reduce your outstanding mortgage.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    4th May 2013
  • Lenders will be contacting interest-only borrowers whose loans are due to be repaid within the next seven years, after new research found that more than a million homeowners risk having a shortfall. ‘Overpay where you can on your mortgage,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Most lenders will let you overpay by up to 10 per cent of the mortgage amount per annum so take advantage of this while interest rates are low.’

    The Financial Times

    3rd May 2013
  • Around 1.3m families face losing their homes after taking out mortgages which they have little or no hope of repaying. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said interest-only mortgages had helped many people buy their first home, but added: ‘It is not suitable for everyone. In retrospect, perhaps at the height of the market, interest-only mortgages were dished out rather too freely.’

    The Daily Mail

    2nd May 2013
  • Some 1.3m interest-only mortgage borrowers reach their loan term owing an average £71,000. ‘Most lenders will let you overpay by up to 10% of the mortgage amount per annum, so take advantage of this while interest rates are low,’ says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘This will also reduce your LTV, making it easier to remortgage, as some lenders won’t let you borrow more than 50% to 70% of the value of your home on an interest-only basis.’

    The Guardian

    2nd May 2013
  • The Financial Conduct Authority has told banks to contact borrowers in an effort to prevent them defaulting on their interest-only loans. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘If you are worried about paying back the capital on your interest-only mortgage, it’s essential that you act now. Most borrowers should have enough time to work out a plan but not if they ignore the problem in the hope it goes away. It won’t.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    2nd May 2013
  • The Bank of Ireland raised the rate on its tracker loans, despite no change in base rate. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘This move is an outrage. I would expect borrowers to fight this decision as it is a far cry from treating customers fairly. Bank of Ireland has found a loophole and is exploiting it, as well as its customers.’

    Daily Express

    1st May 2013
  • A branch of Waitrose near your home could boost prices by up to 50 per cent, according to estate agents. Giles Hannah of agency VanHan, said: ‘International buyers, particularly from Asia, are fuelling demand.’ He said a weak pound meant they could reap big discounts on prices.

    The Daily Mail

    29th April 2013
  • House prices in London are rising by £90 a day but are flat or falling in every other major UK city, according to the Land Registry. Giles Hannah of estate agency VanHan, said: ‘There is no getting away from the fact that national average indices conceal significant regional differences. London is undoubtedly the big success story and is doing a good job of pulling up the national average.’

    The Daily Mail

    29th April 2013
  • House prices in England and Wales increased by 0.1% in March, according to the latest Land Registry report, but the headline figure disguised a mixed pattern of rises and falls around the regions. Giles Hannah of agency VanHan, said cash was continuing to come into the capital from domestic and overseas buyers. ‘International buyers, particularly from Asia, are fuelling demand for best-in-class properties and snapping them up to 10 to 14 per cent discounts as a result of the weakness of sterling compared with their own currencies.

    ‘UK-based buyers are also highly active and are seeing investment in London property as an alternative to a pension, and a way of maintaining and growing their wealth.’

    He added: ‘We have also witnessed a rise in French high net worth families relocating to London owing to the increased taxes in France, creating a shortage in supply in the £5m-plus bracket and fuelling price rises.’

    The Guardian

    29th April 2013
  • A newly-renovated mansion in London’s most expensive street could be worth an incredible £200m, estate agents say. Giles Hannah of agency VanHan, said: ‘It is one of the best on the street, with a particularly large garden and fantastic views overlooking the lawns of Kensington Palace.’

    The Daily Mail

    29th April 2013
  • A huge home in west London could be worth up to £200m after being lavishly refurbished by Britain’s second-richest man. Giles Hannah of Mayfair agency VanHan, said: ‘It is one of the best on the street, with a particularly large garden and fantastic views overlooking the lawns of Kensington Palace, where the Duchess of Cambridge will be pushing her pram. He’s doing it to a phenomenal standard. It has vast ceiling heights. All the windows have armoured glass.’

    The Evening Standard

    29th April 2013
  • The number of five-year fixed-rate mortgages has increased 73 per cent in the past year as two-year deals lose popularity with mortgage borrowers. With the base rate unlikely to rise in the near future, it could be argued that borrowers should consider fixing for even longer than five years. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘There are some amazingly cheap 10-year fixes beginning to appear, such as Yorkshire’s at 3.99 per cent up to 75 per cent LTV with no fee…. Fixing for this period is a long time to commit to. Most borrowers are unhappy to do so – plus most also lock the borrower in with hefty early repayment charges.’

    The Observer

    28th April 2013
  • Funding for Lending got a major boost last week after the Bank of England and Treasury announced that the scheme is being extended. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘We welcome the news as it should mean more money is available from a wider number of providers, making it easier for borrowers to access competitively-priced funds.’

    This, he adds, may drive down rates further still. ‘Or it may mean that instead of continuing to engage in a rate war and drive their margins down further, lenders may instead look at easing criteria, making it easier for individuals to borrow,’ he says. ‘This would make more sense.’

    The Sunday Express

    28th April 2013
  • Borrowers could be thousands of pounds better off by locking into the latest 10-year mortgage fix instead of repeatedly paying high arrangement fees on shorter-term deals. Lenders with high SVRs include Accord, which charges 5.99%, Kent Reliance 6.08% and Nottingham building society at 6.14%, according to broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Sunday Times

    28th April 2013
  • Mortgage rates for homeowners and landlords are likely to remain low over the next two years as the Bank of England this week revealed plans to extend its Funding for Lending scheme to the start of 2015. ‘The positive effect on mortgage pricing since the FLS was introduced has been obvious,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Financial Times

    26th April 2013
  • Net mortgage borrowing fell in March by 0.1 per cent from the same month last year, according to the British Bankers’ Association. ‘While the FLS has driven down mortgage rates and made more products available it still isn’t feeding through to a significant increase in lending volumes, which partly explains the Bank of England’s decision to extend the scheme,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Daily Telegraph

    24th April 2013
  • Investors have been piling into property to benefit from inflation-busting yields and record rents. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Plenty of investors are moving into property because other assets, such as cash or government bonds, are producing such poor returns.’

    Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Different investors want different things – some are after yield and others are after capital growth. It is rare to find both. Always buy in areas you know and understand.’

    The Sunday Times

    21st April 2013
  • Mortgages are at rock bottom rates but that doesn’t mean you should take the first decent-looking deal you are offered as there are plenty of traps for the unwary.Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris says a characteristic of the market is that ‘lenders have limited tranches of money and that once they run out, the deal will be pulled. You may have to move quickly’.

    The Mail on Sunday

    21st April 2013
  • Those with a mortgage and decent pot of savings could consider an offset deal, as not only can this reduce the term of the loan and the amount of mortgage interest paid out, but can also help reduce tax liabilities. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Offset mortgages are particularly useful as you can reduce the interest you pay, while still retaining access to your cash; this route makes your cash work much harder…. Assuming a rate of 2.99 per cent via a Woolwich offset, and a repayment term of 25 years, the borrower would shave 38 months off the term by offsetting.’

    The Sunday Express

    21st April 2013
  • The Financial Conduct Authority, the new financial regulator, has told Santander to contact around 270,000 borrowers about unclear information it gave them before raising the cap on its SVR in 2008. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘SVRs should be outlawed because they lack transparency. They can rise at the lender’s discretion, even when there is no movement in base rate, causing huge confusion for borrowers. At the end of an introductory rate, the mortgage should always revert to a rate or pricing that is linked to base rate to ensure there is no possible manipulation on the part of the lender.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    19th April 2013
  • Southampton, Blackpool, Slough, Coventry and Portsmouth are among the most attractive towns for property investors. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Different investors want different things – some are after yield and others are after capital growth. It is rare to find both.’

    Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Wealthy investors who are well acquainted with the top end of the market may well stick to those well-established locations when buying further rental property. But there are plenty of less wealthy investors, the mass-affluent, who are more likely to be driven by yield into unusual places. Many are moving into property because cash and stocks and shares are producing either poor or unacceptably volatile returns.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    19th April 2013
  • This year has seen renewed optimism in the UK housing market, according to the Ernst & Young Item Club’s Spring Forecast. It is felt that schemes such as the Help to Buy guarantee will make a real difference because they will help more than just first-time buyers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients says there are other benefits: ‘You also won’t have to sacrifice a share of any profit you make when you sell the property – unlike under the shared equity element of the scheme.’

    City AM

    17th April 2013
  • House prices were 1.9 per cent higher in February than a year ago, with large increases in England and Welsh properties making up for falls in Scotland and even bigger ones in Northern Ireland, official figures show. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘There was good news from the Council of Mortgage Lenders yesterday suggesting a rise in the number of first-time buyers, which does suggest that funding is easier to come by for those with more modest deposits… If property prices continue to edge up, this is not going to help the situation.’

    The Daily Mail

    16th April 2013
  • House prices climbed by 1.9% year-on-year in February but England and Wales drove the increase while Scotland and Northern Ireland posted falls, official figures from the Office for National Statistics showed. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘While home owners will welcome higher house prices, those struggling to get on the housing ladder for the first time are unlikely to feel the same.’

    The Independent

    16th April 2013
  • The number of loans awarded to first-time buyers was 17pc stronger in February than the same time last year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Mortgage availability is easing for those with more modest deposits, a trend set to continue when the Help to Buy initiative comes into force next year. First-time buyers remain the lifeblood of the housing market so it really is crucial for its overall health that their numbers continue to improve.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    15th April 2013
  • Lending to first-tiem buyers increased by 3% in February, making it the busiest start to a year for people joining the property ladder since 2008, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said brokers and estate agents had seen increased interest and confidence from buyers and sellers since the start of the year. ‘Undoubtedly, Funding for Lending is playing a significant part, pushing down mortgage rates to record lows,’ he said. ‘Hardly a week goes by without a new ‘lowest-ever’ fixed-rate mortgage being launched, which is encouraging borrowers to be more positive about their chances of getting a mortgage and being able to afford it.’

    The Guardian

    15th April 2013
  • After five years in the doldrums, buy-to-let is again being hailed as a key tool for investors, against a backdrop of miserable savings rates and uncertainty over pensions. According to Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, would-be landlords need to ensure that the rental income of a property will be good enough to cover the mortgage, plus a margin. ‘This varies between lenders, but the rent should be at least 125 or 130 per cent of the mortgage amount,’ he says.

    The Financial Times

    13th April 2013
  • Sales of houses and flats hit a three-year high as the property market begins to recover from the credit crisis, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘The Help to Buy initiative should provide a significant boost for the housing market. Effectively, a Government-backed mortgage indemnity guarantee or MIG will enable lenders to offer high loan-to-value mortgages while mitigating their risk. The fact that the Government is supporting £130bn of mortgages over three years is excellent news. This is a massive boost to house builders as well, which is good for the economy.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    9th April 2013
  • Homeowners looking to remortgage or first-time buyers with a hefty deposit of at least 30pc will benefit from the lowest ever two, three and five-year fixed-rate mortgages from Nationwide building society.

    Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Its two-year fix at 2.24pc is up at the top of the best buy tables, plus it features a realistic fee and even better, with a £500 discount on the fee to cash-strapped first-time buyers. There are cheaper fixes available but the fees are higher. Chelsea Building Society has a two-year fix pegged at 1.74pc for someone with a 40pc deposit, for example, but the fee is a hefty £1,545 plus £130 processing charge. It is also worth considering the ‘go to’ rate at the end of the deal – with Chelsea you move onto the society’s SVR of 5.79pc, whereas with Nationwide you move onto the lender’s Base Mortgage Rate, which is currently 3.99pc.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    9th April 2013
  • Profile: Anthony Ward Thomas

    A year ago, Anthony Ward Thomas bought a collapsed London removals and storage business, Aussie Man & Van, a day after hearing it was in trouble and without doing any due diligence. The Aussie business has returned to profit and sales are expected to rise to £5m from £4m last year. ‘We thought it would take us two years to be able to start paying the shareholders, but we did it in one, and we’ll do it again this year,’ said Mr Ward Thomas.

    ‘We knew if we waited for the financial due diligence it would throw up horror stories and our appetites would have been muted. So we made provision for horror stories and trusted our instinct.’ Mr Ward Thomas has run a removals and storage business under his own name for the past 25 years and he and finance director Charles Rickards could see why Aussie had got into trouble and what they needed to do to fix it.

    The Daily Telegraph

    9th April 2013
  • Many homeowners are turning to an offset mortgage as interest earned on savings remains painfully low. ‘Because rates on cash Isas are so poor, the offset route looks a much more cost-effective approach,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘There is no limit to the amount of savings you can have in an offset, compared with quite strict limitations on cash Isas. And just like the cash Isa, you save tax on the offset because you don’t earn any interest as such.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    7th April 2013
  • Scottish Widows Bank is the latest mortgage lender to court wealthy professional borrowers with attractive deals and relaxed criteria. However, Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The definition of professional is quite narrow. We had a client who is self-made with a track record of running his own businesses but he wasn’t considered a professional because he wasn’t a solicitor, accountant or doctor.’

    The Sunday Times

    7th April 2013
  • High street banks have offered fewer competitive mortgage deals than building societies since the launch of the Funding for Lending Scheme, according to Moneyfacts. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘We are doing more lending with building societies this year as their rates are so much more competitive and they are more willing to lend than many high street banks.’

    The Sunday Times

    7th April 2013
  • Borrowers stand to benefit from rock-bottom mortgage deals, as rates have reached record lows, particularly for those with large deposits. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients said rates could keep sliding: ‘The good news is that rates are likely to fall even further with the Bank of England’s credit conditions survey pointing to even lower rates next quarter.’

    ‘The headline rate is only part of the picture,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Some of the cheapest rates come with the highest fees, so you must work out the total cost – rate plus fees – when comparing deals.’

    The Sunday Express

    7th April 2013
  • Banks and building societies expect mortgage rates to fall further over the coming months, according to the Bank of England. ‘Lenders expect mortgage rates to fall further in coming months as funding costs continue to fall, mainly as a result of the Funding for Lending Scheme,’ said Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients. ‘Those on the look out for a cheap mortgage in coming months are therefore unlikely to be disappointed.’

    BBC News

    3rd April 2013
  • Banks’ appetite for lending to individuals grew in the first three months of 2013, according to the Bank of England’s latest credit conditions survey. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said it was ‘encouraging’ to see that lenders were increasing maximum loan-to-values and loan-to-income ratios. ‘However, credit scoring remained as tight as ever, with the number of applications being approved falling slightly, suggesting that there should be room for further easing.’

    The Guardian

    3rd April 2013
  • For many people embarking on building work on their home, the biggest challenge is raising the money to pay for it. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Securing finance is tougher than before the downturn, and getting your mortgage lender to advance extra funds isn’t as easy.’

    The Daily Express

    3rd April 2013
  • Britons buying second homes abroad may be forced to use their main properties in the UK as collateral to secure a foreign currency mortgage. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, recently arranged a mortgage for a client buying on Mustique, a private island that is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean. ‘The client had a property in Hampshire that was not mortgaged, so the lender took a charge on this instead, raising the funds to buy the Mustique house.’

    The Sunday Times

    31st March 2013
  • Homeowners are likely to find the cheapest mortgage rates from building societies as mutuals continue to dominate the best-buy tables and increase their lending. ‘We are doing more lending with building societies this year because their rates are so much more competitive than many high street banks,’ says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Financial Times

    30th March 2013
  • There is no point going house-hunting if you don’t have the money – so check how much you will be able to borrow and if possible get a mortgage agreed in principle. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Lenders increasingly look at affordability, so your outgoings will be taken into account as well as your income.’

    The Times

    29th March 2013
  • House prices in February rose 0.2 per cent compared to January, according to the Land Registry, putting the average price in England and Wales at £162,606. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It’s important to realise that the national average masks significant regional differences, with prices falling in parts of the country and London continuing to outstrip the rest. We expect this situation to continue throughout this year.’

    The Independent

    28th March 2013
  • It’s harder than ever to take that first step onto the property ladder, but there are things you can do to help improve your chances of getting a good mortgage deal. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘While rates have fallen, criteria have not noticeably eased and lenders will still be looking for good credit histories. They get stricter on this the higher the loan-to-value you need because you are perceived as higher risk anyway, without any credit issues.’

    Moneywise

    25th March 2013
  • Mortgage lenders are cutting interest rates to record lows but with average fees rising by 49.6% since 2009, these deals might not be as attractive as they seem. ‘If you really want a rock-bottom deal, you need to put down as much as you can as a down payment,’ explains Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris.

    Moneywise

    25th March 2013
  • George Osborne declared this week’s Budget for a Britain that wants to be prosperous, solvent and free – and there were certainly measures that could boost canny investors’ prosperity. The Help to Buy scheme came in two parts – the first aides buyers of newbuild homes, and the other provides government-guaranteed mortgages. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said the schemes were good news for landlords who will see the value of their buy-to-let properties rise. ‘Property values in London and the South East are likely to see the biggest boost as these areas have the most pent-up demand,’ he said. ‘The mortgage guarantee will encompass new and older homes alike, which should result in higher values on older properties.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    24th March 2013
  • Pensioners up to here in debt, are one reason rising numbers of mortgage lenders are withdrawing interest-only homeloans. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘In an ideal world, most of us would undoubtedly prefer to have paid off the mortgage well before retirement. But the reality is that an increasing number of homeowners are carrying on with their mortgages even after they have stopped working, enabling them to support a reasonable lifestyle and, increasingly, help their children and even their grandchildren with their own property purchases.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    22nd March 2013
  • Budget 2013: Homeowners big winners but even estate agents worry about house price bubble. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The Help to Buy initiative should provide a significant boost for the housing market. Effectively, a Government-backed mortgage indemnity guarantee or MIG will enable lenders to offer high loan-to-value mortgages while mitigating their risk. The fact that the Government is supporting £130bn of mortgages over three years is excellent news. From next year, lenders will be incentivised to make more mortgages available for those with deposits of between 5pc and 20pc, which should result in cheaper mortgage rates even though the Government has said it won’t be involved in the pricing.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    20th March 2013
  • The nation’s finances are in a dire state and the likelihood of any giveaways or tax cuts in the Budget is low. However, you could save thousands of pounds anyway by switching to a cheaper mortgage, says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Too many borrowers sit on their lender’s standard variable rate for years,’ he said.

    The Daily Express

    20th March 2013
  • Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that on a seasonally adjusted basis, UK house prices fell by 0.7pc between December and January, compared with a 0.4pc rise in January 2012. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, called on Chancellor George Osborne to use the Budget to help first-time buyers, which he said would help boost the housing market as a whole. ‘An extension to the NewBuy and First Buy schemes is expected and a new Stamp Duty holiday would also be welcome,’ he added.

    The Daily Telegraph

    19th March 2013
  • UK house prices increased by 2.2 per cent between January 2012 and January 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘House prices continue to climb as far as the national average is concerned, but this masks significant regional differences. The numbers should therefore be considered with a large pinch of salt, useful as a very general indicator of where things are going but not the holy grail.’

    The Independent

    19th March 2013
  • Prices paid for UK homes by first-time buyers in January were 2% higher than a year earlier, official figures from the Office for National Statistics show. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Worryingly, first-time buyers are having to pay more for their first home. While homeowners will welcome higher house prices, those struggling to get on the housing ladder for the first time are unlikely to feel the same. First-time buyers still need a 20% deposit on average, but with more mortgages available to those with 10% deposits, it is getting easier to get funding.’

    BBC News

    19th March 2013
  • Borrowers of £1m-plus mortgages are returning to high street lenders as private banks add strict conditions to the small print of deals. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Private bank mortgages often have conditions that might not be in the contracts of conventional mortgages.’ Anderson added that it was common for mortgage contracts to include small print requiring clients to pay down the loan to maintain a minimum equity stake when the property’s price falls.

    The Sunday Times

    17th March 2013
  • Recovery in the housing market has begun, claimed one property expert today, after banks and building societies reported that mortgage lending to home buyers had got off to its best start to the year since 2008. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘January is never the busiest month of the year for the housing market as it tends to get off to a slow start after Christmas and the New Year but the numbers look particularly good when compared with previous Januarys, suggesting recovery is underway.’

    The Times

    14th March 2013
  • Mortgage lending hit its highest level in five years for the month of January, driven by an increase in lending to first-time buyers, a sign that the Bank’s Funding for Lending Scheme was feeding through to the market. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said the numbers suggested ‘recovery is underway’ with the FLS helping first-time buyers to the market. ‘They are still putting down a 20pc deposit, on average, and with the FLS making more deals available at 90pc loan-to-value, this should further increase the number of first-time buyers able to get on the housing ladder in coming months,’ he said.

    The Daily Telegraph

    14th March 2013
  • Banks and building societies have slashed the interest rates charged on many leading mortgage deals. Borrowers can now fix their mortgage at less than 2pc for up to two years. But consumer experts have dubbed this a ‘phoney price war’ with many homebuyers unable to access the cheapest rates. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, warned customers to look beyond these introductory offers. ‘The arrangement fees are bad enough, but some deals have extremely high reversion rates. For example, Chelsea will charge a rate of 5.79pc once the two-year fixed-rate deal expires. On a £200,000 mortgage, this will add almost £400 to your monthly mortgage repayment.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    12th March 2013
  • Thousands of homeowners have been let down by the Financial Services Authority, according to the Treasury committee’s chairman, Andrew Tyrie, who hit out at its failure to stop Bank of Ireland increasing its mortgage rates for some borrowers. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is disgraceful that Bank of Ireland is hiking its rates. As regulator, the FSA has a duty of care and should be looking into this extremely carefully. There is a danger of a precedent being set and other lenders following suit, with much depending on the wording of the documentation given to borrowers. Borrowers must always keep an eye on what their lenders are charging and be prepared to move if your lender springs any nasty surprises.’

    The Sunday Times

    10th March 2013
  • Mortgage complaints were up 45 per cent across the board between July and December last year, according to the Financial Ombudsman Service. One of the main complaints is the difficulty in porting a mortgage to another property. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, offered the following advice: ‘Homeowners should look at ways of paying down some of their mortgage to increase the amount of equity they own in their homes to make it more acceptable to the lenders. Or they should review their income streams to see whether there are more effective ways of evidencing income, especially if they are self-employed.

    ‘Otherwise, you will have to sit tight or remortgage to another deal, and pay an early repayment charge.’

    The Sunday Times

    10th March 2013
  • Londoners are desperate to build their own flats and houses. New planning rules will help them but their big challenge is finding the land for sale. Calum Kerr, self-build specialist at broker SPF Private Clients, said self-builders should not assume they are looking for an empty site. It is popular to buy a run-down bungalow, the ugliest house in the street, knock it down and build. ‘The most common way is to find a site that has an underdeveloped property on it, in an area where there is a precedence for ‘knock down and rebuild’, he says.

    The Evening Standard

    7th March 2013
  • At £163,000 on average, prices were 1.9pc higher than a year earlier in February, according to the Halifax, and the lender expects to see a national increase in house prices over the course of 2013. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said the housing market painted a ‘confused picture’. ‘On the one hand, prices continue to rise on a monthly and quarterly basis, according to the Halifax, and on the other, lending fell in the final quarter of last year, according to the Bank of England,’ he said.

    The Daily Telegraph

    6th March 2013
  • The UK housing market is continuing to show signs of improvement, according to the latest survey from the Halifax. ‘The housing market presents a confused picture,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘On the one hand, prices continue to rise on a monthly and quarterly basis, according to the Halifax, and on the other, lending fell in the final quarter of last year, according to the Bank of England.’

    BBC News

    6th March 2013
  • Prices of houses in the UK between December and January were 1.9 per cent higher than in the previous three months according to the Halifax. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The housing market presents a confused picture. On the one hand, prices continue to rise on a monthly and quarterly basis, according to the Halifax, and on the other, lending fell in the final quarter of last year, according to the Bank of England. It is worth remembering that national averages also conceal significant regional differences.’

    The Independent

    6th March 2013
  • House prices continued their slow ascent in February, showing a modest monthly increase of 0.5%, according to the Halifax. ‘It is worth remembering that national averages also conceal significant regional differences, with prices falling in parts of the country while rising in others. The north-south divide grows ever wider,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Guardian

    6th March 2013
  • Savers are paying a high price for funding for lending, which has significantly cut mortgage costs for home buyers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘While the general mood regarding the housing market has been one of increased confidence as Funding for Lending pushes down borrowing rates, the fall in gross mortgage lending in January shows we are not out of the woods just yet.’

    The Guardian

    4th March 2013
  • The Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme has only helped some borrowers and has proved to be a disaster for savers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘FLS is making cheap loans even cheaper for those who have substantial equity in their home. But these borrowers did not have trouble accessing credit before.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    4th March 2013
  • Homeowners with tracker mortgages are being urged to read the small print on their loan agreements after thousands of borrowers with Bank of Ireland were hit with a shock rate increase. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘I would expect borrowers to fight this decision. Bank of Ireland is doing this because they can. They have found a loophole and are exploiting it, as well as their customers.’

    The Sunday Times

    3rd March 2013
  • No deposit doesn’t mean no mortgage now, with a crop of new deals aimed at first-time buyers who are struggling to get on the housing ladder. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It’s no surprise that many first-time buyers have had to rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad – or increasingly the Bank of Grandma and Grandad – to get them on the housing ladder.’

    Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said the cheapest rates available were under the government-baacked NewBuy scheme, but these were only for newbuild properties from developers participating in the scheme.

    The Sunday Telegraph

    3rd March 2013
  • Families considering turning their homes into investment properties are being courted by lenders with new deals. Robert Currie of Nedbank Private Wealth said, when considering this move, allow for higher interest rates in future. ‘It is important to not only ensure affordability now, but given the current ultra-low borrowing rates, ensure continued affordability once rates have risen,’ he said.

    The Sunday Times

    3rd March 2013
  • Bath Building Society is offering a 100pc mortgage to first-time buyers – the only catch is that it will put a charge on the parents’ home. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The biggest barrier to home ownership is the deposit….with the Bank of Mum and Dad – and increasingly the Bank of Grandma and Grandad – being called upon to help first-time buyers on the housing ladder several schemes have sprung up to offer assistance to those who can’t afford to hand over a lump sum.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    2nd March 2013
  • Savings accounts may pay next to nothing but there are other options if you want to generate better returns. Business is booming in the buy-to-let market but Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris had a word of warning for budding buy-to-let landlords: ‘If you are taking out a buy-to-let deal now, you need to consider what might happen at the end of the fixed or tracker period. Check out the ‘go to’ rate in case values fall further and you are not able to remortgage onto another deal. If it is the lender’s standard variable rate, it might end up costing you a lot more than a rate linked to base rate, particularly as some lenders such as NatWest have a higher SVR on buy-to-let than on their normal residential deals.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    2nd March 2013
  • Borrowers seeking £1m-plus mortgages can now find more choice on the high street as lenders eye up the large loan market. For those wanting to borrow up to £5m, Halifax has a two-year fix at 3.84 per cent. It has a maximum LTV of 70 per cent and comes with a £999 fee, said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Some of the teams are well established, such as Halifax and Woolwich, who will underwrite loans of up to £5m without too much fuss. The newer teams have lower limits and the process can be very frustrating.’

    Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The large loan market requires specialist advice and understanding of its complex nature. The answer may be on the high street but in our experience, it often isn’t.’

    The Financial Times

    2nd March 2013
  • House prices in Britain’s most exclusive neighbourhood have soared by a record-breaking £120,000 in the past year – while values have stalled or fallen in most of the country, according to the Land Registry. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘There is an extraordinary difference between the housing market in London and the rest of the country. While areas such as Kensington and Chelsea storm ahead, house prices in the north of England are in reverse as the gap between north and south grows ever wider.’

    The Daily Mail

    1st March 2013
  • Record low mortgage deals may be coming to a lender near you soon – watch out for these pitfalls, but grab a bargain now. Lifetime trackers are still popular, says Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, with the Bank of England base rate now expected to stay at 0.5 per cent until 2017.

    The Times

    1st March 2013
  • The average house prices in England and Wales increased by 1pc in the past year, according to the Land Registry. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said it was ‘worrying’ that so many homeowners were being repossessed while interest rates were at the record low of 0.5 per cent. ‘More needs to be done, and lenders need to continue to show forbearance towards borrowers,’ he said.

    The Daily Telegraph

    28th February 2013
  • With around one in four agreed sales falling through it’s little wonder that homemoving is considered one of life’s most stressful events. What if your removals firm doesn’t show? It could spell disaster. Mark Prout of removals firm Aussie Man & Van, says plan ahead to minimise any potential problems. ‘Try not to move on a Friday if you can. This is the busiest day of the week for completions, making it harder to book a removals firm (or get another one to move you at short notice if your original one hasn’t shown up). What’s more, nothing happens over the weekend so if there is a problem it might not be until Monday that the problem can be sorted, leaving you stuck in a hotel or staying with friends and family.

    ‘Also, choose a removals firm that comes recommended and has a good reputation.’

    AOL Money

    28th February 2013
  • London experienced the greatest increase in its average property value over the past 12 months, up 7.1 per cent, according to new figures out this morning from the Land Registry. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The national average masks significant regional differences, with prices falling in parts of the country and London continuing to outstrip the rest. We expect this situation to continue throughout this year. On the lending front, the picture is increasingly positive with some of the cheapest mortgages ever seen.’

    The Independent

    28th February 2013
  • Shared equity firm Castle Trust tracked house purchases and sales in England and Wales from January 2007 to January 2013. The study found 41pc of houses bought after 2007 were sold at a loss, with an average shortfall of 11pc. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘While transactions have been subdued since the downturn as home owners avoid selling when prices are depressed, sometimes people simply have to move so are forced to do so at a loss. Much will depend on where you live in the country, with prices holding up much better in the south, particularly London. The north of the country is a different picture and price falls have been more dramatic.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    27th February 2013
  • Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, told the BBC that the Funding for Lending Scheme has helped to push down mortgage rates. ‘This is boosting the market, improving confidence and making it easier for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder.’ But he added that while rates have fallen, ‘the criteria have not really eased so you still need an excellent credit history in order to get a mortgage. Some would-be borrowers will still find it difficult to get funding, particularly if they require interest-only or have complex income streams’.

    BBC News

    26th February 2013
  • Stretched first-time buyers in London were forced to stump up record deposits averaging almost £60,000 last year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The mortgage freeze is finally thawing with the welcome return of first-time buyers to the London market illustrating that funding conditions are improving. The Funding for Lending scheme is helping push down mortgage rates, as well as provide more choice for those requiring higher loan-to-values.’

    The Evening Standard

    26th February 2013
  • The number of remortgages approved by banks fell to its lowest level in 15 years in January, figures from the British Bankers’ Association have revealed. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said he was surprised that the current raft of competitive rates had not attracted more borrowers. ‘Of course, there is a lag between the positive press coverage of such deals and the time it takes to get one of these, so we expect to see these numbers improve as the year goes on. It may also be that some homeowners are holding off waiting for rates to fall further before taking the plunge.’

    The Guardian

    25th February 2013
  • Poor weather in January curtailed mortgage approvals while borrowers continued to play safe on loans and overdrafts, according to the British Bankers Association. ‘As with the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ lending figures for January, the BBA figures show a more subdued market which might be blamed on the bad weather,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘We would have expected stronger figures because of the excellent mortgage rates now available as a result of the FLS; it goes to show that we remain some way off a sustained recovery in the housing market as caution continues to prevail.’

    BBC News

    25th February 2013
  • Bath Building Society is now offering 100pc mortgages to first-time buyers – the only catch is that the society will put a charge on the parents’ home. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The biggest barrier to home ownership is the deposit. A mortgage where no down payment is required will be attractive to those who can’t face years of saving.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    25th February 2013
  • First-time buyers were last week offered a new way into the market by Bath building society’s 100 per cent guarantor mortgage. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘We welcome any innovation that helps to kickstart the market, but such a deal won’t suit everyone. The parents’ home is potentially at risk.’

    The Sunday Times

    24th February 2013
  • Borrowers finally have plenty to cheer about with the news that fixed-rate mortgages are at an all-time low. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Funding for Lending is resulting in the cheapest fixed mortgage rates we have ever seen. This is not just the case for those with hefty deposits or similar levels of equity in their home; rates are falling across all LTV bands.’

    The Sunday Express

    24th February 2013
  • Investors are attracted to buy-to-let by the promise of rental incomes that exceed the poor returns offered on cash deposits. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said smart two-bedroom properties rented out to young professionals could generate a good yield. ‘Commuter towns to London are always good,’ he added.

    Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The outlook for buy-to-let is bright. As first-time buyers struggle to get on the housing ladder, rental demand continues to climb. Yields are improving while the rates on buy-to-let mortgages are looking increasingly attractive.’

    Robert Currie of Nedbank Private Wealth said borrowers should consider the private banks, which could offer preferential interest rates equivalent to those on normal residential mortgages.

    The Daily Telegraph

    23rd February 2013
  • The Council of Mortgage Lenders reported that lending fell back by 9pc month-on-month in January, with an estimated £10.4bn of loans advanced last month, which was also down 3pc on the same period a year ago. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘For a market that rests on confidence, optimism in the housing market continues, despite the blip in January figures. The mortgage market is still constrained when you compare it with what it was at the height of the housing boom but it is showing some signs of improvement.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    20th February 2013
  • Homeowners looking to take advantage of record-low fixes have the option of locking in for a decade as the number of deals continue to soar, but borrowers should be wary of eye-watering fees. However, the size of the loan is key to whether you would be better paying a hefty fee. Calculations by broker Anderson Harris show that someone with a £200,000 loan pays £164 less over the two-year term on Chelsea’s new 1.89 per cent two-year fix with its £1,825 fee than on Nationwide’s 2.34 per cent two-year fix with the lower £999 fee. However, with a £100,000 mortgage, the Nationwide option is cheaper by nearly £300 over the two years.

    The Sunday Times

    17th February 2013
  • Homeowners have been warned that slipping into debt over a water bill or a mistake by your supplier will hit your chances of getting a mortgage. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Utility companies have an uncanny habit of messing up payment schedules and if this is held against the borrower by the lenders it will create chaos.’

    The Sunday Times

    17th February 2013
  • The number of buy-to-let mortgages reached its highest level in four years in 2012, as landlords benefited from strong tenant demand. ‘It is no surprise that the sector continues with its strong performance,’ said Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘With more buy-to-let deals available, rates are increasingly competitive although criteria remain tighter than before the downturn and are not easing significantly.’

    The Financial Times

    16th February 2013
  • Owners of properties that do not tick all the ‘standard boxes’ are finding it harder to sell their homes as major high street banks have become more choosy about whom they lend to. ‘With lenders generally lending less and being more picky about how they lend to and what premises they lend on, anything remotely controversial or risky is more likely to meet with a rejection,’ said Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris.

    The Financial Times

    16th February 2013
  • Some of the new mortgage rates are not what they seem, and brokers are urging borrowers to do their homework before taking out a deal. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said that those with a modest deposit were still paying a ‘significant premium’ on the rates available. He also warned of high fees and difficult-to-please lenders. ‘Lenders are not relaxing their criteria and this can be extremely tight on higher LTV deals in particular,’ he said. ‘Over the past few years, many of those applying for 90pc LTV deals have been turned down on seemingly spurious reasons such as missed mobile phone payments.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    16th February 2013
  • The mortgage market may have defrosted slightly in recent months, but it is still tough to get a loan without a hefty deposit. Many people turn to parents and grandparents for help but this is not always straightforward. ‘While it is understandable that parents and grandparents want to help children and grandchildren on to the property ladder, it is important not to overstretch yourself financially so that you sacrifice a comfortable retirement,’ cautions Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris.

    The Guardian

    15th February 2013
  • Unless you are very lucky, buying a property will involve taking out a mortgage – and that’s not as easy as it once was. Your credit record may ring alarm bells for a lender if it is blank, for example. ‘It is tempting to think that having no debt is a good thing but you really need a credit history so that lenders can see that you are good with debt and repay it on time,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘If you haven’t got a credit card, take one out and pay off the balance in full each month.’

    The Guardian

    15th February 2013
  • The number of buy-to-let buy-to-let mortgage loans reached its highest level for four years last year, the latest figures from the CML show, as record rents encouraged landlords to expand their property portfolios. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harrissaid the figures reflected greater numbers of would-be first-time buyers turning to renting while they struggle to get a foothold on the housing ladder. ‘This is pushing up rents, making the sector increasingly attractive to investors,’ he said.

    The Guardian

    14th February 2013
  • The number of properties being repossessed has fallen to the lowest level seen since before the credit crisis, according to the CML. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said that although the number of repossessions fell in the fourth quarter compared with the third, many households were still struggling financially. ‘While base rate is expected to stay at 0.5 per cent for the foreseeable future, there are thousands of people who have already got into difficulty and are struggling to get out of it,’ he said.

    The Daily Telegraph

    14th February 2013
  • Repossessions last year dropped to the lowest level since 2007, but there are worrying signs that more households are falling seriously behind with their mortgage repayments, the CML said. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘While mortgage rates continue to fall on the back of the Funding for Lending Scheme, only those with significant equity cushions can access the market-leading deals. Those up against it and in danger of having their homes repossessed don’t have this luxury so can’t remortgage onto the cheapest rates.’

     

    The Times

    14th February 2013
  • Signs emerged today that the UK property market could be on the way to a new buy-to-let boom, as landlord mortgages were shown to have soared a fifth in 2012, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is no surprise that the sector continues with its strong performance. As would-be first-time buyers continue to struggle to get on the housing ladder, more people are turning to renting. This is pushing up rents, making the sector increasingly attractive to investors. With more buy-to-let deals available, rates are increasingly competitive although criteria remain tighter than before the downturn and are not easing significantly.’

    This is Money

    14th February 2013
  • Home repossessions have dropped to their lowest level in five years, thanks to record low interest rates and good debt management between borrowers and lenders, says the CML. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Some homeowners are getting into difficulty paying their mortgage because they can’t afford the payments on top of high living costs, low wage rises, and in some cases, losing their jobs.’

    This is Money

    14th February 2013
  • The number of first-time buyers entering the housing market reached 216,000 in 2012, the highest for five years and a further sign that the mortgage drought for new borrowers is beginning to ease, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said it was ‘not too early to call the end of the mortgage impasse… the cost of borrowing has dropped across the market, with rates on higher LTVs also falling. This is being reflected in the growing number of first-time buyers.’

    The Guardian

    12th February 2013
  • The UK housing market is showing signs of its first significant revival since the credit crunch nearly six years ago. Mortgage lending picked up last year led by a big rise in first-time buyers, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said the market was showing encouraging signs of improving. ‘The Funding for Lending scheme is making more money available at cheaper rates to lenders, which is being passed onto borrowers, resulting in some of the cheapest mortgage rates ever seen,’ he said. ‘Two-year fixed rates are now available from 1.89 per cent, while five-year fixes are pegged as low as 2.69 per cent. This is being reflected in the growing number of first-time buyers, which is significant for the health of the housing market as they really are its lifeblood.’

    BBC News

    12th February 2013
  • Five-year and two-year fixed-rate mortgages have fallen to record levels after a price war broke out. However, Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Borrowers should take care as the cheapest rates also come with the highest fees.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    10th February 2013
  • The Bank of England base rate has been kept at 0.5 per cent for four years. ‘Criteria are still tighter than before the downturn,’ says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Lenders remain fussy about who they will lend to, particularly those with modest deposits….We are seeing some of the lowest mortgage rates ever, with two-year fixes pegged at less than 2 per cent, and five-year fixes at less than 3 per cent for those with sizeable deposits.’

    Looking forward, fixed rates are expected to fall further, says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘But if you are on a relatively high SVR, you may be able to save hundreds of pounds a year if you switch now – so it may be worth doing this sooner rather than waiting.’

    The Sunday Express

    10th February 2013
  • New-build luxury developments in prime areas of London are popular with investors, but buying a period property could offer better returns, experts say. However, Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients believes that most private banks will base their lending decision on the client rather than the property. ‘As long as the client meets their criteria, it shouldn’t be an issue that they are buying new and not a period property,’ he said.

    The Financial Times

    8th February 2013
  • When a family breaks down, property will be central to a divorce settlement. Getting a mortgage can be difficult. ‘Lenders have very different ways of treating maintenance payments,’ said Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. He says some, including Clydesdale Bank and Coventry building society, will not take them into account at all, some will only accept a percentage of the payments and some, including Nationwide and Skipton building societies, will accept 100% of payments as income.

    The Guardian

    7th February 2013
  • Homeowners are benefiting from the lowest mortgage rates on record after banks made further cuts to the cost of home loans last week. Brokers expect more lenders to follow suit and cut rates in the coming days. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Lenders act like sheep, tweaking criteria and rates in response to their competition to attract business. Several lenders have been offering two-year fixes pegged at 1.99 per cent, so it was only a matter of time before one broke ranks and offered something slightly cheaper.’

    The Sunday Times

    3rd February 2013
  • After years of lenders refusing to offer cheap deals to all but the most ideal candidates, banks and building societies are cutting interest rates to record lows. However, for first-time buyers the falls are less significant. ‘You also have to wonder just how low mortgage rates can possibly go,’ says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘Lenders need to make some money and, with two-year fixed rates already available at less than 2pc, there isn’t much margin left for them to cut. From a historical perspective, the fixes we are seeing now are the lowest ever and look extremely good value.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    3rd February 2013
  • A lack of first-time buyers in the UK is a ’cause for concern’, the Nationwide has said. It also said house prices in January were unchanged from a year earlier. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The vast majority of regions saw price falls throughout 2012. London continues to buck the trend, with heightened competition in parts of the capital, particularly prime central London. Transactions continue to be well down on the height of the market, contributing to significant price discrepancies in some areas.’

    BBC News

    31st January 2013
  • Earlier this month Nationwide put the average house price in England and Wales at just over £160,000. The Land Registry suggested a similar figure but has now adjusted its calculations and its latest figures show that house prices in December now stand at £162,080. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The national average masks significant regional differences, with prices falling in parts of the country and London continuing to outperform the rest. On the lending front, the picture is much more positive with some of the cheapest mortgages ever seen. Lenders continue to cut rates and offer more choice at higher loan-to-values.’

    The Independent

    30th January 2013
  • The mortgage market bounced back in December with the number of loans approved rising to their highest level in almost a year, according to the Bank of England. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The number of people taking out new mortgages continued to rise in December, reflecting what we are seeing in the marketplace. The government’s Funding for Lending scheme continues to make more money available at cheaper rates to lenders, and this is trickling through to borrowers.’

    The Guardian

    30th January 2013
  • House prices in England and Wales rose by 1.7% in 2012 – the fastest rate for more than two years, the Land Registry has said. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The national average masks significant regional differences, with prices falling parts of the country and London continuing to outperform the rest. We expect this situation to continue this year.’

    BBC News

    29th January 2013
  • Chelsea Building Society has launched a new two-year fixed-rate mortgage at 1.99pc for those with a 40pc deposit. ‘This is a cracking offer,’ said Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. ‘This is a market-leading rate for a two-year fix. The rate is excellent and there is an average-sized arrangement fee so it is not too expensive to access. However, borrowers do need at least a 40 per cent deposit or similar level of equity in their home.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    29th January 2013
  • Families are being warned that they face a reduction in the amount they can borrow on a mortgage because of rising childcare costs. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The cost of childcare is a consideration, as well as the general cost of bringing up children. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, childcare costs might not be an issue, but the parent would be classed as a dependant, so it raises other issues for affordability.’

    However, Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said that while having an extra child would take its toll on mortgage affordability, those in work who had no childcare costs might find themselves better off: ‘If there is no financial cost to childcare provision, such as when grandparents look after a child or a parent works from home, this will be taken into account in the lender’s affordability calculation.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    27th January 2013
  • The four D’s – debt, divorce, death and downsizing – have long been regarded by estate agents as the main reasons why people move house. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris warns that getting a mortgage has become ‘trickier’ since the downturn: ‘We are increasingly getting referrals from lawyers before a settlement is reached to ensure that a mortgage is viable once the division of assets has been reached.’

    Harris adds that another issue for securing a mortgage is when the husband is buying a property for his estranged wife as he will need to ensure he has sufficient income to fund two mortgages, as this will be assessed on his income. ‘If he has very high maintenance payments to meet, it could affect his ability to service his mortgage payments, while if he has to relinquish some of his pension fund to his wife, this may make him less attractive to a private bank.’

    The Financial Times

    26th January 2013
  • Government plans to encourage more people to build their own homes have been dealt a blow by news that some of the largest brands will no longer be offering finance on these projects. Calum Kerr of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The Government says it wants to double the number of people building their own homes, which is all well and good, but there are extremely limited self-build funding options.’

    The Times

    26th January 2013
  • The Government’s new Green Deal could help you to make improvements to save hundreds of pounds a year on your bills at no upfront cost. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The Green Deal commitment stays with the home and passes on to the new owner, so this could restrict saleability as potential buyers might not understand or welcome an extra debt. They would want to see evidence that any measures were resulting in cheaper bills. Lenders are still rather wary about how the scheme will work in practice, and in some cases it may make it more difficult to get a mortgage on a property.’

    The Times

    26th January 2013
  • The Government’s flagship Green Deal scheme, aimed at encouraging more homeowners to become more energy efficient, looks set for an uncertain launch. Some lenders are concerned that it will restrict the saleability of a property as it may be more difficult to get a mortgage on. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Given that it is already harder to get a mortgage than it was a few years ago, this may be an added hassle that prospective buyers simply don’t want to take on.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    22nd January 2013
  • Lloyds Banking Group has said it will lend £6.5bn to customers looking to buy their first property this year. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The fact that Lloyds and Halifax are offering a wide range of 90pc deals is excellent news, and should mean many more first-time buyers can finally make their dreams a reality…. If you have less than this you should really be saving for longer and delaying purchase until it is more affordable. A 10pc deposit should be within the reach of most first-time buyers.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    21st January 2013
  • Reduced borrowing rates and lower house prices have combined to leave the average household with more of their after-tax income at any time since 2002. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said ‘two-year fixes could go as low as 1.5pc’.

    The Daily Telegraph

    19th January 2013
  • The Government would like us to believe that its Funding for Lending Scheme has made it easier to secure a mortgage, but for the self-employed it is as tough as ever, particularly as many lenders have pulled out of interest-only lending. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Those who run their own businesses have often utilised interest-only in order to keep as much money in the business as possible until a later date when they receive a dividend or look to sell.’

    The Times

    19th January 2013
  • Best buys on fixed-rate mortgages could fall as low as 1.5pc, experts have predicted. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is still early days for Funding for Lending but the early signs are encouraging with mortgage rates falling all the time and some better options at higher loan-to-values.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    18th January 2013
  • Yorkshire Building Society has launched a 1.99 pc two-year fixed rate mortgage. ‘This is a cracking rate for a two-year fix with relatively low fee,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Overpayments amounting to ten per cent per annum are allowed without penalty, which is fairly standard. There is a 3pc early repayment charge during the fixed period so don’t opt for this deal if there is a chance you may move sooner than this.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    17th January 2013
  • A bleak economic picture has made the mortgage market difficult in recent years. Yet lenders are gradually starting to offer competitive rates to buyers with smaller deposits, so it may not be worth waiting until mortgage rates (possibly) drop further. ‘When you can get a five-year fix for below 3 per cent, there is only so much further interest rates can fall,’ says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Borrowers need to put these rates into a historical context and realise they are great value.’

    City AM

    14th January 2013
  • Borrowers are increasingly using expensive short-term bridging loans to complete property purchases because of delays at traditional lenders. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The inability of high street lenders to complete quickly enough for many borrowers is resulting in more people turning to bridging. However, these loans are only a temporary measure as bridging lenders will want to see evidence that the longer-term facility is confirmed before they will agree to short-term finance.’

    The Sunday Times

    13th January 2013
  • Hundreds of thousands of homeowners are stuck paying mortgage rates of up to 6 per cent because they don’t have enough spare equity in their property to remortgage to a cheaper deal. You will have to pay more to borrow at higher LTVs, says Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris: ‘Yorkshire Building Society offers a two-year offset tracker charging 2.89 per cent up to 75 per cent LTV, with a £995 fee. HSBC offers a lifetime tracker charging 4.69 per cent up to 90 per cent LTV, with a £599 fee. The Post Office offers a competitive five-year fixed rate charging 2.99 per cent up to 75 per cent LTV, with a £1,495 fee.’

    Sunday Express

    13th January 2013
  • Mortgage experts are divided about a new way to cut the cost of homeownership and help rising numbers trapped in ‘generation rent’ get a foot on the housing ladder. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘If house prices appreciate significantly, borrowers with a partnership mortgage will sacrifice a good percentage of any profit they make when they sell. While it is welcome that Castle Trust is sharing in any potential loss, it is perhaps unfair that the amount is more limited compared with its share in any profits.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    11th January 2013
  • Barclays is to launch a new ‘family mortgage’ deal that allows parents to use their savings to help their children get on the housing ladder. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It’s been surprising that other lenders have not tried to emulate Lloyds’ Lend a Hand scheme, so we welcome this move, particularly as it will be available via intermediaries as well as in bank branches.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    9th January 2013
  • The number of first-time buyers rises 12 per cent, according to the Halifax, but it is still half the rate in 2006. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The biggest barrier to home ownership remains the deposit. If possible speak to parents or grandparents about helping with this. And consider schemes such as Lloyds Lend a Hand, where parents don’t have to hand over their savings but keep them in a savings account with the lender as additional security, and can get them back at a later date.’

    The Sunday Mirror

    6th January 2013
  • Nearly half of us paid for the festivities on credit, so resolve now to get a financial grip. Mark Harris of broker SPF Privae Clients, says: ‘Your mortgage is likely to be your biggest outgoing so it makes sense to check if you could reduce your monthly payments. We are seeing some of the cheapest mortgage deals ever so it is well worth finding out if you qualify for one.’

    The Independent on Sunday

    6th January 2013
  • Profile of Anthony Ward Thomas, the owner of one of Britain’s most exclusive removal companies, catering to the likes of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who left Lambeth Palace last month. Ward Thomas set up the firm that bears his name in west London in 1985, paying £500 for a deposit on a delivery van. He now has 95 lorries and 300 employees, turning over £15m a year. Customers have included Boris Johnson, mayor of London, and the actors Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom. The company also delivers for Sotheby’s and Bonhams, the auction houses.

    The Sunday Times

    6th January 2013
  • Borrowers have been promised better access to mortgage deals in 2013 in a Bank of England report. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘More lending is likely to be done this year than last, but lenders will continue to cherry-pick the best applicants. Stronger mortgage applicants are likely to be in for a good year as rates will be lower and there will be more choice.’

    Older borrowers will find it particularly tricky. Harris said: ‘There has been a big increase in the number of wealthy older clients looking to downsize, who often look to buy a smaller home before selling existing family property. They usually need to borrow to fund this, with repayment of the mortgage coming from the sale of existing property. High street lenders will not lend to them as they are often too old and have limited income but are very asset rich.

    ‘Private banks, however, will want to lend to these individuals as the wealth management opportunity can be significant when the existing family home is sold and other investments are cashed in to fund the remainder of their retirement and pass on wealth to their children.’

    The Sunday Times

    6th January 2013
  • House prices are still languishing at 12 per cent below their 2007 peak and face another year in the doldrums, lender Nationwide warned today. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler said: ‘In parts of the capital there is heightened competition, with a rise in the use of sealed bids for good properties. In other parts of the country, prices continue to fall.’

    The Evening Standard

    3rd January 2013
  • The average home in the North East now costs less than £100,000 – just a tenth of the price of a typical home in London’s most exclusive borough, according to the Land Registry. Gabby Adler, an independent buying agent, said: ‘In the capital, competition for the most desirable homes is very hot indeed with properties achieving above the asking price.’

    The Daily Mail

    3rd January 2013
  • Nationwide is extending its ‘Save to Buy’ scheme to homeowners. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It makes sense to extend this scheme as it is not just first-time buyers struggling to buy a home. The trapped second steppers, who are already in a property but want to move up the ladder to a larger one, are finding that falling property values mean they don’t have substantial equity to call upon. The cost of moving can make it very difficult to get together the necessary funds when the high cost of living makes saving tricky.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    2nd January 2013
  • House prices in London rose by 7 per cent in the year to the end of October, outstripping increases elsewhere, according to the Land Registry. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Record low interest rates have resulted in some of the cheapest mortgages we have ever seen with lending volumes slowly ticking up monty by month. However, the biggest barrier to home ownership remains the deposit as first-time buyers struggle to drum up the tens of thousands of pounds required to get on the housing ladder.’

    BBC News

    2nd January 2013
  • House prices in England and Wales rose by 0.3 per cent in November to an average of £161,490, according to figures from the Land Registry. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler said prices in some areas of London were being driven up by the small number of homes on the market. ‘Lack of stock is the main problem in parts of London such as Barnes, where there is almost nothing on the market in the £800,000 to £1.3m price bracket. This is what most families are looking to spend when they move to the area. The top end of the market is quite different and most of these properties are sitting on the market for many months, with super-prime properties taking a year or more to sell across Richmond-upon-Thames, for example.’

    The Guardian

    2nd January 2013
  • Nationwide extends its Save to Buy scheme to home movers as well as first-time buyers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said this made sense. ‘The trapped second-steppers, who are already in a property but want to move up the ladder to a larger one, are finding that falling property values mean they don’t have substantial equity to call upon. The cost of moving, in particular paying stamp duty, can make it very difficult to get together the necessary funds when the high cost of living makes saving tricky.’

    The Guardian

    31st December 2012
  • Next year looks likely to be another disappointing one for house prices. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients predicted a small rise in house prices, although he expected the divide between property values in the north and south of Britain to deepen. ‘There will be no movement in Bank Rate, while mortgage rates will fall further as more lenders take advantage of Funding for Lending. Hopefully, this will also mean more choice and better rates for those with small deposits, such as first-time buyers,’ he said.

    The Sunday Telegraph

    30th December 2012
  • As 2012 draws to a close, the Sunday Telegraph asked a variety of financial experts to gaze into their crystal balls to see what 2013 has in store for investors, savers and borrowers. On the investment side, Robert Currie of Nedbank Private Wealth, said: ‘It is always useful to start any discussion about future performance by considering valuations. With the UK equity market currently on a price to earnings (PE) ratio of just 11, and 10-year government bonds yielding only 1.8pc, the case for equities is very strong.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    30th December 2012
  • Government intervention looks set to play an increasing role in supporting house prices. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is early days for the Funding for Lending scheme but we expect this to boost mortgage availability and pricing in 2013, which should have a positive impact on the housing market. However, lenders are likely to keep their criteria tight, meaning first-time buyers in particular will continue to struggle. The Bank of Mum and Dad, will be called upon more than ever.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    27th December 2012
  • Southend recorded the biggest rise in house prices in 2012, according to the Halifax. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, said: ‘The best performing towns in terms of price increases are within commuting distance of London. The capital continued to perform strongly; if you strip out London’s performance from the national average, for example, the numbers are far less impressive.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    27th December 2012
  • The British Bankers’ Association reported that the number of new mortgages for house buyers approved by its members, but not yet lent, had risen again in November. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Record low interest rates have resulted in some of the cheapest mortgages we have ever seen so it is no surprise that lending volumes are slowly ticking up month by month.’

    BBC News

    27th December 2012
  • The number of mortgages approved for house purchases edged to a ten-month high in November 2012, according to the British Bankers’ Association, although consumers are more comfortable paying down their debt rather than taking on larger loans. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘In an uncertain world, it makes sense to take control where you can – and for many, that is by reducing the levels of debt they are exposed to. Record low interest rates have resulted in some of the cheapest mortgages we have ever seen so it is no surprise that lending volumes are slowly ticking up month by month and that the year has seen stronger lending volumes than initially forecast.’

    The Guardian

    27th December 2012
  • Looking forward to 2013, the Funding for Lending Scheme should result in more mortgages at cheaper rates. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘While mortgage rates will stay low, this doesn’t necessarily mean more of them will be approved. Lenders are likely to keep their criteria tight, meaning first-timers in particular will continue to struggle. The Bank of Mum and Dad will be called upon more than ever.’

    The Independent on Sunday

    23rd December 2012
  • 2012 saw the launch of the cheapest mortgage deals ever – helped by the Government’s new Funding for Lending scheme. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Being able to fix for five years at less than 5pc is historically a great deal, so mortgages pegged at less than 3pc are too good an opportunity to miss. Those with the biggest deposits got the best mortgage deals this year, but we are starting to see a little more choice and keener rates for smaller deposits.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    22nd December 2012
  • 2012 proved to be another expensive year for the Bank of Mum & Dad. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘The Bank of Grandma and Grandad has also been doing more than its fair share.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    22nd December 2012
  • Parents could be putting their retirement security at risk by helping their adult children on to the property ladder, Shelter warns. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘While it is understandable that parents and grandparents want to help children on to the property ladder, it is important not to overstretch yourself financially so that you sacrifice a comfortable retirement. If you are thinking of acting as a guarantor seek advice, particularly if the lender takes a charge on your property. Depending on the details of the guarantee, you may be restricted from borrowing in your own right until the restriction is lifted and could lose your home if your child defaults on their mortgage. It is important to understand what you are getting into.’

    The Times

    22nd December 2012
  • The overseas property market may have become trickier in 2012 but a rental property in a ski resort remains an attractive proposition. Miranda John at SPF Private Clients, uses the example of one of her clients, a keen skier, who bought the apartment he rents each year in Val d’Isère when it went on sale in January. An offer of €700,000 was accepted. She says: ‘It is usually wise for clients to match the asset and liability in currency, so in this instance the client opted for a French euro mortgage. French banks offer competitive long-term fixed rates – all loans are full status so borrowers must supply full supporting documents confirming their financial situation. It is possible to borrow up to 80 per cent of the purchase price at a fixed rate of 3.6 per cent for 20 years.’

    The Times

    22nd December 2012
  • Robert Currie of Nedbank Private Wealth, says high-yield bonds have been one of the strongest investment categories of 2012. He cites the Kames High Yield Global Bond Fund, which is up nearly 20 per cent so far. He adds: ‘While valuations are less compelling than at the start of the year, we continue to believe that in an environment where interest rates will remain low for a long time, an asset class that offers yields of 6 to 7 per centy will be well supported, as investors continue to seek income streams. Furthermore, any losses from defaults should remain low because corporate balance sheets are generally in good shape, and economic activity in Europe and the UK is expected to pick up in 2013.’

    The Times

    22nd December 2012
  • The property success story of 2012 has to be prime central London buy-to-let, according to Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris. He says: ‘A client who purchased an investment flat for £750,000 at the start of the year, borrowing £450,000 or 60 per cent LTV, would have enjoyed a rental yield of 4 per cent. Low mortgage rates mean 3.25 per cent was achievable, with mortgage interest used to offset some of the tax due on the rental income. Over the year, such a property would have increased in value by 10 per cent or £75,000, even though national average house prices have struggled and fallen in many parts of the country. This represents a 21 pr cent return against the £350,000 cash investment. What is more, while property values in the area are predicted to be flat in 2013, an increase of 20 to 25 per cent is forecast by 2017, resulting in a strong longer-term investment.’

    The Times

    22nd December 2012
  • UK house prices rose slightly in October compared with the same month a year ago. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The mortgage market is still constrained but is showing signs of easing, which will have a positive effect on the housing market. The Funding for Lending scheme continues to progress but it is a slow burner and no overnight solution for the woes of the market.’

    BBC News

    18th December 2012
  • Figures from the Office for National Statistics show house prices up 1.5 per cent in the year to October – but more than half of the rise was delivered by London and the South East. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, said: ‘London’s strong performance continues to drive the housing market, a trend which is expected to carry on into next year, while in other parts of the country there have been considerable falls in values. Yet even in London we are seeing price reductions as vendors become more realistic on pricing and realise what they have to do to achieve a sale in a difficult market.’

    This is Money.co.uk

    18th December 2012
  • December is a popular month for decluttering with many people putting surplus items into storage. Mark Prout of removals firm Aussie Man & Van, says that there is a far cheaper way of storing your belongings – by opting for a removals firm to provide your storage. ‘With traditional storage, experts pack your container rather than you having to do it yourself. Items are less likely to break and you get far more in when the experts do it, making it even more cost-effective. With self-storage you are on your own.’

    The Independent

    17th December 2012
  • If you are expecting things to be easier for the housing market in 2013 you are likely to be disappointed. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, expects the North/South divide to become more apparent. ‘It looks set to deepen. London and the South East seem to be completely detached from the rest of the country.’

    Moneywise

    17th December 2012
  • More parents are expected to move to smaller properties in coming years, releasing equity to help their children on to the property ladder. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said borrowers should not assume that their lender will assent to a transfer of the mortgage from one property to another: ‘If you are on an exceptionally cheap legacy rate or the lender doesn’t want to lend to an ‘older’ borrowers, you may find your application is refused,’ he warned.

    The Financial Times

    15th December 2012
  • Thousands of families are to lose their child benefit payments next month. But this won’t just hit the household budget, it could also have a direct effect on their ability to remortgage or move home – because most banks and building societies now factor in such payments when calculating how much you can borrow. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Assessing affordability is crucial, but some lenders go too far. We have seen mortgage forms asking how much is spent on Christmas, takeaways, birthday presents and so on. It is overkill.’

    Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Affordability is a movable feast, with lenders tweaking their requirements depending on their appetite to lend at any given time. This is extremely frustrating for borrowers – the impact that, say, two children have on an affordability calculator varies depending on how keen a lender is to boost its mortgage book at the time of the application.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    15th December 2012
  • Getting a mortgage when you are older is much tougher than it was, says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, who adds it is especially hard if you want an interest-only mortgage. ‘This is particularly tough on existing interest-only borrowers, who must switch to a more expensive capital repayment mortgage if they wish to remortgage or move house. That is simply unaffordable for many people. If you’re in this position then you must seek advice as soon as possible,’ he adds.

    Daily Express

    12th December 2012
  • Buying is cheaper than renting in 90 per cent of the top 50 towns in Britain, according to the latest data from Zoopla.co.uk. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Record low interest rates mean we are seeing the cheapest mortgages ever so this has to be good news for borrowers. However, the biggest barrier to home ownership is the deposit as first-time buyers struggle to drum up tens of thousands of pounds to get on the housing ladder.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    11th December 2012
  • If the Autumn Statement has left you worse off, you can beat the squeeze by switching to best-buy deals on mortgages and bills. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Families looking to save money should first review their mortgages as this is likely to be the biggest single outgoing.’ Those on a SVR should check whether they would be better off remortgaging.

    The Sunday Times

    9th December 2012
  • Many homeowners pay too much for their mortgages by sticking with their original lenders when there are better deals out there. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Some of the best rates come with hefty arrangement fees, plus there are also valuation and legal fees to consider if the lender is not offering a remortgage package where these come free. You may also not wish to commit yourself to say, a five-year fix, when on the SVR you have complete flexibility as there are no early repayment charges.’

    The Independent on Sunday

    9th December 2012
  • New rules on the taxation of £2m-plus homes owned through a company are set to be confirmed next week. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘We have held numerous meetings with concerned clients and their tax advisers over the past few months but we have been in a ‘wait and see’ mode. Once the proposals are clarified we expect a flurry of activity as people restructure.’

    Rosemary Marr, senior director of Nedgroup Trust, part of Nedbank Private Wealth, said her company had already positioned itself so that appropriate action, if any, may be taken. ‘We are aware that a number of London-based tax advisers are scheduling meetings in the Channel Islands for the days following the announcements,’ she said.

    The Financial Times

    7th December 2012
  • Private banks are offering mortgage rates as low as 1.87 per cent for homeowners looking to borrow over £2m – as long as they have assets to place with the bank. Rates of 2.08 per cent with a fee of between 0.5 and 1 per cent are more widely available, according to Anderson Harris, the high-end mortgage broker.

    The Financial Times

    7th December 2012
  • A third bedroom can cost £150,000 so it is no wonder that buyers are staying put. Those who are able to borrow are really making it pay. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘We are seeing an increase in clients moving from a three-bedroom house to a five or six-bedroom property, effectively doing two moves in one go. You minimise the pain by paying one set of fees – legal, surveyor, mortgage arrangement fee, stamp duty – then don’t have to worry about moving again until you downsize.’

    The Times

    7th December 2012
  • There were sighs of relief when the Chancellor unveiled his Autumn Statement. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ”The message from the Chancellor seems to be that property is a better investment than a pension. While he has rightly ruled out a Mansion tax because it would be ‘intrusive’ and ‘expensive’ to revalue homes, pension tax reliefs for the wealthy have been substantially cut. Once you’ve reached your annual or lifetime pension allowance it therefore makes sense to put any surplus cash into property.’

    Prime Resi

    6th December 2012
  • London remains one of the most popular investment locations in the world to purchase property. Independent buying agent Nathalie Hirst, says: ‘The top-end of the market in London is still dominated by Russia and some of the post-Soviet states of central Asia. These buyers need good security with parking a top priority, and their preferred locations are Knightsbridge and Belgravia.’

    International Property Luxury Collection

    4th December 2012
  • The FSA would be pleased to see interest-only mortgages disappearing for good as a mainstream product, but that is not a view shared by everyone. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Interest only is increasingly becoming a niche product, the preserve of wealthier borrowers. It is a shame as you don’t necessarily have to be wealthy to have a viable repayment strategy for an interest-only loan.’

    BBC News

    4th December 2012
  • The mortgage market is in the midst of its first price war since before the credit crisis. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘To get hold of the cheapest loans, you have to put down a big deposit. If you don’t have this kind of money, you either need to save, delaying your property purchase, or ask your parents or grandparents for help.

    ‘If parents and grandparents can help with the deposit, it makes life much easier if it is a gift rather than a loan. If it is the latter and needs repaying, the lender may not agree to the mortgage at all. If it does agree, it will factor in the repayments as an outgoing, which will affect the borrower’s affordability and therefore how big a mortgage they can get.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    2nd December 2012
  • Customers who can only afford to pay the interest on their mortgages have had their options reduced again this week after RBS and Coventry Building Society announced that they would stop offering these loans to new customers. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Interest-only is increasingly becoming a niche product, the preserve of wealthier borrowers. It is a shame as you don’t necessarily have to be wealthy to have a viable repayment strategy for an interest-only loan.’Customers

    The Daily Telegraph

    1st December 2012
  • NatWest became the latest lender to stop offering interest-only mortgages this week, and was swiftly followed by the Coventry Building Society. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Interest-only is suitable and appropriate for a certain type of borrower. It is not suitable for everyone and in retrospect at the height of the market interest-only mortgages were dished out rather too freely.’

    The Independent

    30th November 2012
  • There are some glimmers of hope for those looking to buy their first home, with Nationwide revealing it has doubled its lending to first-time buyers, and figures showing an increase in the number of mortgage deals for those who can only manage a small deposit. The Co-operative Bank has a two-year fixed-rate mortgage for people borrowing up to 90 per cent of their property’s value, priced at 3.99 per cent with no arrangement fee. ‘Any fixed rate that starts with a ‘3’ for a borrower requiring a LTV of 90 per cent has to be applauded,’ says Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Guardian

    30th November 2012
  • Various lenders are stopping offering interest-only mortgages – Coventry Building Society is the latest, but others include RBS and NatWest. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Interest only is not good or bad – it’s not that black and white. Interest only is necessary, suitable and appropriate for a certain type of borrower. It is not suitable for everyone and perhaps at the height of the market interest-only mortgages were dished out rather too freely.’

    The Independent

    29th November 2012
  • Coventry Building Society has become the latest high-street lender to pull the plug on borrowers who want to take out an interest-only mortgage. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said that interest-only deals were becoming a niche product for the wealthy: ‘While high-street lenders are making it tougher to get an interest-only mortgage, the private banks continue to do nearly all their lending on an interest-only basis with five-year reviewable facilities. Only the wealthy would qualify for such loans, as they must meet the private banks’ criteria, so this will not be an option for the vast majority.’

    The Times

    29th November 2012
  • The government hopes that the Funding for Lending Scheme will channel cheap money to lenders who will then make mortgage funds more easily available to borrowers. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Those with far more modest deposits are crying out for better rates. The deposit is the biggest single barrier to home ownership, with first-time buyers having to delay getting onto the housing ladder until they are well into their 30s if they can’t call upon the bank of mum and dad to help. However, we do expect the FLS to filter through to those with more modest deposits next year which will give the housing market a much-needed kickstart.’

    BBC News

    29th November 2012
  • Coventry Building Society has become the latest lender to stop offering interest-only mortgages to borrowers, hot on the heels of RBS and NatWest. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Interest-only is necessary, suitable and appropriate for a certain type of borrower. It is not suitable for everyone and in retrospect perhaps at the height of the market interest-only mortgages were dished out rather too freely. It is a shame lenders follow each other like sheep and are all reining in their interest-only lending.’

    The Guardian

    29th November 2012
  • London property prices defied the economic gloom last month with a 7 per cent annual rise to a new average record high of £364,574. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, said: ‘While prices have fallen in parts of the country, the picture in London is very different. In parts of the capital competition for the most desirable homes is very hot indeed with properties achieving above the asking price.

    ‘Lack of stock is the main problem in parts of London such as Barnes, where there is almost nothing on the market in the £800,000 to £1.3m price bracket. This is what most families are looking to spend when they move to the area. The top end of the market is quite different and most of these properties are sitting on the market for many months, with super-prime properties taking a year or more to sell across Richmond-upon-Thames.’

    The Evening Standard

    28th November 2012
  • With flooding turning into a regular occurrence in many parts of the country, having the right insurance is vital. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘It is also essential that there is a commitment from insurers to continue to offer home insurance at reasonable rates. If not, these properties will become unmortgageable because they will not satisfy the requirement for buildings insurance.’

    Daily Express

    28th November 2012
  • Novice landlords who have been letting properties without declaring the income are the target of the latest tax amnesty from HM Revenue & Customs. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says that landlords should bear in mind that they only pay income tax on profit after expenses have been deducted: ‘You can offset your mortgage interest payments against your rental income, although not the capital repayments. You can also claim tax relief for maintenance and repairs, household insurance, or for paying a managing agent to look after the property on your behalf.’

    The Sunday Times

    25th November 2012
  • Nationwide has told one couple in their mid-seventies that they can’t port their mortgage to their new property because they are ‘too old’. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris says: ‘Although the population is getting older and delaying getting on the housing ladder for longer because they can’t get a mortgage until well into their thirties, lenders are reluctant to let mortgages continue into retirement. A few lenders have a cut-off point of 75, by which time the mortgage must be repaid, with only one or two continuing beyond it. Yet having a mortgage in retirement suits many people. As long as they can meet the payments out of pension or other investment income then why not? It can be a much cheaper option than equity release.’

    The Times

    24th November 2012
  • Mortgage costs look set to fall across the board as a price war breaks out among high street lenders and private banks pass on the benefits of lower interbank funding costs. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The falls in Libor have been very positive for clients. The private banks can price in cheaper funding as they are hoping to make money from the client on the other side of their balance sheet through assets under management.’

    The Financial Times

    24th November 2012
  • The total amount that was lent to remortgaging homeowners increased by 23 per cent from September to October, reaching £4.1 billion, as borrowers took advantage of rock-bottom rates on new home loans, says LMS, the conveyancing and property services group. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘With rock-bottom mortgage rates available, particularly on five-year fixes, it is no surprise that there is an increased appetite among homeowners for remortgaging. It is still early days for FLS but it is already having an impact, pushing down money market rates, and leading to some cracking deals.’

    The Times

    23rd November 2012
  • Record rents are giving landlords bumper returns as the number of households renting privately has increased by almost 48 per cent over the past five years. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris has seen an increase in inquiries from landlords – mainly from experienced investors, but increasingly from buy-to-let novices. ‘They are attracted to property because it will generate decent returns, even if capital values are unlikely to rise much soon. Low interest rates mean cheaper mortgages and lenders have also relaxed their criteria to an extent,’ he says.

    The Times

    23rd November 2012
  • Mortgage lending climbed to an 11-month high in October, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘This bodes well for next year – as lenders saturate the low LTV market with a plethora of rock-bottom rates, they will be forced to turn to the higher LTV bracket.’

    City AM

    21st November 2012
  • Self-storage has become a huge industry as space-poor Londoners try to make more room at home. Mark Prout, managing director of removals firm Aussie Man & Van – which charges £18 for 250 cubic feet of storage space a week, says: ‘There is this foolish notion that self-storage is cheap but it isn’t. Some self-storage providers have been ripping people off for years. People underestimate how much they need and the advertised prices are usually for a space no bigger than the size of a phonebox.’

    The Evening Standard

    21st November 2012
  • Tentative signs of a recovery in the mortgage market have begun to appear with lending at an 11-month high in October, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘As lenders saturate the low LTV market with a plethora of rock-bottom rates, they will be forced to turn to the higher LTV bracket if they are going to do any significant levels of business, which will mean cheaper rates and more choice for first-time buyers in particular.’

    The Times

    20th November 2012
  • Mortgage lending hit an 11-month high in October, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients said the increase boded well for next year. ‘As lenders saturate the low loan-to-value market with a plethora of rock-bottom rates, they will be forced to turn to the higher LTV bracket if they are going to do any significant levels of business, which will mean cheaper rates and more choice for first-time buyers in particular.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    20th November 2012
  • Growth Capital: Off went the van, on the road to a £15m business. Profile of Anthony Ward Thomas, founder of the removals firm with the same name.

    The Evening Standard

    19th November 2012
  • Rats, mice, moths, beetles and woodworm can all mean big bills or more expensive insurance. Buying agent Gabby Adler says: ‘In a recent search for a client, evidence of woodworm throughout the house came up on the survey. The seller was not aware of this problem when they put the house on the market but did agree to cover the cost of fumigation. Had the seller not been so accommodating, the purchase is unlikely to have gone through as the cost of repair was quite extensive.

    ‘Evidence of rodents and woodworm is extremely common in period properties and can usually be dealt with quite easily, but because of the nature of the problem it does put a lot of buyers off. As with any other property defect, when it comes to selling your home the more open and accommodating the seller can be, the higher the chance they will not put buyers off.’

    The Observer

    18th November 2012
  • Almost half of first-time buyers now receive financial help from family members.Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘This is a growing trend, with more and more buyers unable to get on the ladder without family help. It is not only young first-time buyers but older, established professionals who are transacting at quite high levels and taking part of their inheritance early.’

    The Times

    17th November 2012
  • Demand from homebuyers has hit a three-year high during October, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The mortgage market is still constrained but is showing signs of easing. Money market rates are falling as the FLS continues to have an impact on pricing.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    13th November 2012
  • Some 80 per cent of all new buyers aged under 30 now get financial assistance from their parents to buy a house, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Assisting with the deposit or gifting the money outright can increase the first-time buyer’s chances of getting an affordable mortgage. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Ideally, this would be a gift rather than a loan; if it is the ladder, then it must be repaid. This repayment will be taken into account by the lender when calculating affordability, meaning the first-time buyer cannot borrow as much as they might otherwise have done.’

    The Times

    13th November 2012
  • Interest-only mortgages may soon be the preserve of wealthy borrowers as another lender introduced tough new restrictions this week. Woolwich will offer loans on the basis only if the amount is £300,000 or more. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Interest-only is increasingly becoming a niche product, the preserve of wealthier borrowers. While high street lenders are making it tougher to get an interest-only mortgage, the private banks continue to do nearly all their lending on an interest-only basis.’

    The Times

    12th November 2012
  • Activity in the UK housing market has picked up slightly in September, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Monthly fluctuations in lending volumes make it difficult to get a clear picture of what is happening in the market so the quarterly statistics are much more useful, painting a more positive picture. The mortgage market is still constrained but showing signs of easing.’

    BBC News

    12th November 2012
  • The percentage of borrowers taking out interest-only mortgages steadily climbed between 2000 and 2007. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris said: ‘Interest-only should be for people with a genuine strategy for repaying the capital at the end of the term. Historically, these mortgages were often given away to people who were not in this position so for lots of borrowers it will be a ticking time-bomb.’

    What House?

    9th November 2012
  • The number of homes being repossessed has fallen to a five-year low, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘While interest rates are expected to remain at 0.5% for the foreseeable future, some borrowers are still struggling to afford their mortgage, as living costs continue to rise and many lose their jobs. Lenders must continue to show forbearance and look after customers who are struggling by letting them switch to interest only, take payment holidays or extend their mortgage terms.’

    BBC News

    8th November 2012
  • Families are struggling to raise the sums needed to trade up to a larger home because of tough lending criteria from banks and weak house prices growth. Experts say they have seen an increase in buyers trading up to a larger house than they need, effectively doing two moves in one go to cut down on costs. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘While it may be a significant jump in mortgage costs, the big advantage is you pay one set of fees – legal, surveyor, mortgage arrangement fee, stamp duty – and then you don’t have to worry about the cost and hassle of it again until you come to downsize.’

    Financial Times

    3rd November 2012
  • Smart investing is about building a diversified portfolio, that fits your circumstances and risk appetite. But where could you seek higher returns? Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Buying property without planning consent for a significant extension or conversion may be risky, but if consent is granted, the investor can enjoy a big uplift in value. Choose a property in a street where similar properties have been granted planning. This sets a precedent, meaning you are more likely to have your application approved. The best way to add value is to significantly increase the property’s square footage. Stick to prime residential areas as much as possible to get the best returns.’

    The Times

    3rd November 2012
  • Government plans to relax planning laws will make it easier to build extensions to provide ‘granny flats’. But it’s not always a good idea. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Be realistic about what is achievable by any extension or conversion. If you spend £100,000 on a granny flat or annexe for a family member of any age, don’t expect that it will always add the equivalent value to the property as not everybody will want such a feature. Much depends on what you do – adding more square footage may produce an equivalent uplift in the value of the property but if you are converting an existing room, such as a bedroom or lounge, and aren’t adding space then you may not get back all the money that you invested when you come to sell.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    2nd November 2012
  • Property prices rose in October but borrowing remains sluggish. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Increased loan availability, better rates as a result of Funding for Lending and increased confidence among buyers as we emerge from the double-dip recession all have a part of play in contributing to a slightly more positive picture for the housing and mortgage markets. What is still required is cheaper mortgages at higher loan-to-values.’

    The Guardian

    1st November 2012
  • UK house prices jumped by 0.6 per cent in October, according to Nationwide building society. Property buying agent Gabby Adler said: ‘The autumn market has been slower than expected with fewer new properties coming up for sale, so transactions remain at low levels. Prices remain fairly flat and bumping along, as they have throughout the year.’

    The Guardian

    1st November 2012
  • Self-storage businesses are cashing in on the trend for people to store their belongings rather than throw them away but you can save up to £3,000 a year by opting for storage from a removals firm than self-storage. Mark Prout of removals firm Aussie Man & Van, says: ‘There is this foolish notion that self-storage is cheap, but it isn’t. Self-storage providers have been ripping people off for years. People underestimate how much they need and the advertised prices are usually for a space no bigger than a phone box.’

    AOL Money

    31st October 2012
  • Lending to individuals picked up in September, according to the Bank of England. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The uptick in lending seen in September is caused by a number of factors: increased loan availability, better rates as a result of the Funding for Lending scheme and increased confidence among buyers. Some more realistic pricing from vendors keen to shift stock that has been hanging around for a while is also helping.’

    BBC News

    29th October 2012
  • Consumer borrowing surged in September, according to the Bank of England.  Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The uptick in lending seen in September is caused by a number of factors: increased loan availability, better rates as a result of the Funding for Lending scheme, and increased confidence among buyers. Some more realistic pricing from vendors keen to shift stock that has been hanging around for a while is also helping.’

    The Guardian

    29th October 2012
  • The self-employed are finding it harder to get a mortgage. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Computers cannot read accounts like underwriters, and any dip in income is an immediate fail with some lenders. For example, if your income over the past three years is £80,000, £82,000, and then £78,000, the lender is likely to decline, even if it is a good average salary and the borrower is a good prospect such as a GP. Accountants’ letters explaining the figures are rarely accepted.’

    The Sunday Times

    28th October 2012
  • Self-employed and contract workers are finding it harder to get a mortgage as banks tighten criteria. Those working in academia or studying for a postgraduate degree, and earning from lecturing and tutoring, will usually have an irregular income stream and find it hard to secure a mortgage. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘This group have no salaried and long-term income and no track record of earnings. Banks prefer to look at what happened in the past rather than what is likely to happen in the future and can be very limited in the way they view mortgage applications. If they can demonstrate they have managed their financial affairs well during times when they have been studying and not earning, this will go down well with the bank. They need to think commercially rather than focus on their academic achievements, painting themselves as someone on the up who is going to prosper.’

    The Sunday Times

    28th October 2012
  • The Financial Services Authority has published new rules making it tougher to get a mortgage. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Although the new rules won’t officially come into effect until April 2014, the reality is that many lenders have already implemented most of the changes. It is much tougher to get interest-only than it was before the downturn, with some lenders, such as Nationwide, no longer offering it at all to new customers or existing customers requiring extra borrowing.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    28th October 2012
  • The mortgage market is to be regulated more strictly. ‘Lenders rightly want proof that the borrower can afford the mortgage out of retirement income, but this is not always easy to prove,’ said Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘While more pensioners want to keep their mortgage going past the age of 65, either because they have to or because they wish to release equity to help children or grandchildren onto the housing ladder, ultimately it is a commercial decision for the lender, so it is not guaranteed that this will become any easier.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    28th October 2012
  • House prices rose at their highest annual rate for nearly two years in September, according to the Land Registry. Buying agent Gabby Adler said: ‘In parts of London the competition is very hot indeed, with four or so buyers often competing for a particularly desirable home.’

    The Sun

    27th October 2012
  • Wealthy borrowers will be spared tough affordability tests when taking out mortgages, under new lending rules confirmed by the Financial Services Authority. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘There will be groups who can opt out of receiving advice, although arguably advice is crucial when choosing a mortgage, whether you are a high-net-owth borrower, entrepreneur or first-time buyer.’

    Financial Times

    27th October 2012
  • If you are selling a family home, there are steps you can take to impress buyers. Buying agent Nathalie Hirst says children’s space can play a big part. ‘Playrooms must be high-spec,’ she said. ‘Gone are the days when you could get away with a Winnie-the-Pooh mural and a Lego desk. I have seen playrooms with climbing walls, trampolines built into the padded flooring, and in one extreme case in a Holland Park mansion, a Russian vendor had created an internal child’s slide that went down two levels of the property, with a plastic-ball pool on the third level.’

    The Times

    26th October 2012
  • London house prices fell in September for the first time since February, according to the Land Registry. Buying agent Gabby Adler said: ‘In parts of London the competition is hot, with a rise in the use of sealed bids for good properties and four or so buyers often competing for a particularly desirable home. In such a scenario, a property will often get more than the asking price.’

    Evening Standard

    26th October 2012
  • House prices dipped in September in England and Wales, according to the Land Registry. Buying agent Gabby Adler said: ‘While prices fell in parts of the country, the picture in London is very different. In parts of the capital the competition is very hot indeed, with a rise in the use of sealed bids for good properties, with four or so buyers often competing for a particularly desirable home. In such a scenario, the property will often achieve more than the asking price.’

    BBC News

    26th October 2012
  • The era of cheap and easy credit has ended as the regulator unveiled strict new mortgage rules. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Although the new rules won’t officially come into effect for 18 months, the reality is that many lenders have already implemented most of the changes.’

    Financial Times

    25th October 2012
  • More than one million interest-only mortgages due for repayment in the next eight years have no specified repayment plan – leaving home owners facing potential repossessions. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Interest only should be for people with a genuine strategy for repaying the capital at the end of the term. Historically, these mortgages were often given away to people who were not in this position so for lots of borrowers it will be a ticking time bomb. However, others will have investments in place to repay the capital. If you have got eight to ten years until your mortgage term ends, the likelihood is that you bought your property some years ago so will have enough equity to repay the capital and buy a smaller home to live in. If not, you have time to plan a strategy but you need to take proper advice and crack on with it rather than ignore the problem and hope it goes away. It won’t.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    25th October 2012
  • Some banks are starting to offer better deals to first-time buyers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘More borrowers are choosing to overpay on their mortgage and reduce their outstanding debt rather than take on new loans.’

    The Daily Express

    24th October 2012
  • The new mortgage crackdown will make tough lending rules a permanent feature for millions, especially if you’re over fifty. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Many people are already delaying getting on to the housing ladder to the age of 35 and beyond. It is going to get tricky for them because of the new age restrictions, such as when they need to remortgage.’

    Daily Mail

    24th October 2012
  • More of us have become mortgage prisoners, unable to remortgage at the end of our current deal. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Consider switching some of your mortgage onto repayment; this may make you more attractive to lenders and enable you to remortgage onto a better rate.’ Another issue is older borrowers. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘A number of lenders won’t lend to borrowers past retirement age, although some will lend up to 75, as long as the retirement income is enough to service the mortgage payments.’

    The Guardian

    23rd October 2012
  • Homeowners looking for interest-only mortgages face an increasingly desperate search as the market shrinks ahead of the introduction of strict lending rules by the Financial Services Authority. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Finding an interest-only mortgage has become a minefield, with an array of different criteria and restrictions.’

    The Sunday Times

    21st October 2012
  • Barnes is an affluent suburb of southwest London with a semi-rural feel. ‘There’s been a chronic lack of supply in the past few years for family homes in the most popular price bracket of £800,000 to £1.5m,’ says independent buying agent Gabby Adler. ‘Buyers often have to wait six months to a year in this price range as houses typically sell off-market… Prices have been steadily rising since the last quarter of 2009, with the most marked increase seen at the beginning of 2012.’

    Financial Times

    20th October 2012
  • Tesco is using cheap money from the government’s funding for lending scheme to launch a record low fixed-rate mortgage – but it will only be available to customers with big deposits. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said the government scheme was pushing down borrowing costs and resulting in cheaper mortgage rates, ‘but still it is those with the biggest deposits or similar level of equity in their homes who are benefiting’. He added: ‘There is already so much choice at excellent rates for those with big deposits; we need more options at 90% and 95% LTV to help first-time buyers and get the market moving again.’

    The Guardian

    19th October 2012
  • Five-year fixed rates are at record lows. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘A five-year fixed rate at less than 4 per cent is tremendous value, so if you can secure a deal at this rate, it is worth doing. If the alternative is sitting on a higher standard variable rate as you wait for rates to fall further, it will cost you in the short term – so you might want to get on and fix instead.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    16th October 2012
  • Five-year fixed rate mortgages are at a record low. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Whether you should fix or not depends on your own circumstances, how much equity you have in your home and whether there are exit penalties to pay on any existing deal. In all likelihood, fixed rates will stay low for some time, so there is no need to rush to take one out. However, if you are on an expensive standard variable rate you may want to take a look at what fixes are available.’

    The Daily Telegraph

    16th October 2012
  • Dwindling savings returns combined with rising mortgage costs are making offset mortgages an increasingly attractive option. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘An offset mortgage is an excellent option in the current climate as borrowers want to hang on to their savings but make them work harder and reduce the interest they pay on their mortgages. This is particularly pertinent with several lenders, such as Santander, raising their rates – even though there has been no movement in Bank rate. Money overpaid on a mortgage is practically impossible to get back, so using an offset has the effect of overpaying but with none of the downsides.’

    The Sunday Times

    14th October 2012
  • Barclays is purchasing ING Direct UK. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Woolwich [the mortgage brand of Barclays] has led the way in the mortgage market for a number of years with product innovation, service and pricing. ING is a relatively new lender but, like Woolwich, has made a good impression.’

    Financial Times

    13th October 2012
  • Some of the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders reduced their rates this week, raising hopes that the Government’s offer of cheap funding to banks is starting to feed through to lower rates for borrowers. However, the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported that remortgages accounted for 22 per cent of lending in August, compared with 33 per cent a year ago. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘It is perhaps surprising that remortgaging was weak in August when there are so many excellent rates now available and lenders such as Santander continue to raise their standard variable rates.’

    The Times

    13th October 2012
  • Farmland is set to be one of the best investments over the next century. Matt Ducker of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The average price of bare arable land is about £7,000 per acre, an increase of about £2,000 an acre since 2008. Like gold, land is viewed as a safe haven in times of economic turmoil, but a decline in supply, coupled with rising demand, means that price growth is predicted to increase by as much as 36 per cent over the next five years.’

    The Times

    13th October 2012
  • Mortgage lending to homebuyers has hit a two-year high, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said the figures showed ‘welcome indications’ that funding for lending is starting to kick in, with several lenders slashing their rates recently. But he said: ‘With first-time buyers still needing to put down nearly 20 per cent of the purchase price as a deposit, we need funding for lending to result in more options and better rates at high LTVs if it is to make a real difference for the market.’

    The Scotsman

    13th October 2012
  • If you want to help your child or grandchild onto the housing ladder, one option might be remortgaging. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘If you have a lot of equity in your home, you may consider releasing some to help your child on to the property ladder. Remortgaging can be an effective solution if a child does not have a deposit. However, lenders have tightened their policies since the downturn, which can affect what parents can borrow.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    7th October 2012
  • Nearly one in five first-time buyers is relying on the bank of mum and dad to get them on the property ladder. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris said those who could afford to put down a larger deposit would qualify for a far wider range of mortgage deals at lower interest rates. So help from parents or grandparents could mean significant savings.

    The Sunday Telegraph

    7th October 2012
  • Borrowers are being let down by stubborn mortgage lenders that are failing to pass on savings from cheap money made available by the government. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘The 60% LTV market is over-supplied. If all the scheme does is make these deals cheaper, instead of the 80% or 90% loans, it simply has not worked.’

    The Sunday Times

    7th October 2012
  • Interest-only mortgages look set to disappear from mainstream lending as Nationwide announced plans to stop offering them to new borrowers. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It might not be long before the only place you’ll find an interest-only mortgage is a private bank.’

    The Independent

    6th October 2012
  • Wealthy property owners are trying to untangle the company structures they used to buy multmillion-pound homes before they are hit with an annual charge that could run to many thousands of pounds. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Over the past few weeks we have seen an increase in clients looking to unwind structures that they originally set up to reduce tax in order to avoid an annual charge from next April.’

    The Times

    6th October 2012
  • House prices slipped in September, according to the Halifax. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients said: ‘The jury is still out on the Funding for Lending scheme and it would be good to see some data as to exactly who is borrowing what under the scheme. One lender recently voiced its concern… about the perceived stigma attached to taking advantage of the funds available, fearing it gives the wrong message to customers.’

    City AM

    5th October 2012
  • Nationwide is no longer offering controversial interest-only mortgages to homeowners. Property buying agent Gabby Adler said: ‘The overriding impression of the housing market in recent months has been flat but with prices now sliding slightly on a quarterly, as well as a monthly basis, it is fair to say that there is now a slight deterioration in outlook.’

    Financial Times

    4th October 2012
  • Nationwide is no longer offering interest-only mortgages. Jonathan Harris of Anderson Harris, said high-street lenders were ‘running scared, falling over each other to rein back on the loan-to-values and maximum loan sizes they are prepared to advance’.

    Financial Times

    4th October 2012
  • Average house prices dropped 0.4 per cent in September compared with August to £159,486, according to Halifax. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler said: ‘There are flurries of activity here and there as people attempt to move in time for Christmas, and some families will be moving in order to take advantage of school catchment areas for applications in the next academic year. But this is likely to be a short-lived boost to the housing market unless the wider economic issues are addressed.’

    The Metro

    4th October 2012
  • House prices fell for the third consecutive month in September, according to the Halifax. Buying agent Gabby Adler, said: ‘It is fair to say there is now a slight deterioration in outlook. There is still a lack of confidence and until it returns, house prices on the whole will be flat and bump along the bottom, give or take a few variations from region to region.’

    The Guardian

    4th October 2012
  • Nationwide will no longer be offering interest-only mortgages to new customers. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘As long as you have a genuine repayment strategy in place for repaying the capital at the end of the term, then interest only is not a reckless option. Yet high-street lenders are running scared, falling over each other to rein back on the loan-to-values and maximum loan sizes they are prepared to advance, or in some cases refuse to offer loans to new borrowers on this basis. The interest-only mortgage moves further towards extinction.’

    Daily Telegraph

    4th October 2012
  • Nationwide will no longer offer interest-only mortgages from 11th October. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘This is very disappointing news. Lenders are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Interest only is a suitable option for a number of borrowers but it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain as lenders copy each other and withdraw from the market.’

    Daily Telegraph

    4th October 2012
  • House prices will stay flat or drop slightly over the next year despite a gradual recovery in the UK economy, according to Nationwide. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It may be too early to gauge the success of the Funding for Lending scheme, but we need it to be successful if the housing market is going to get a much-needed kickstart. There is already much debate, however, as to whether it will help those borrowers who really need assistance.’

    BBC News

    2nd October 2012
  • House prices fell for a third month in a row in September, according to Hometrack. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, said: ‘Continuing lack of confidence in the economy and the ongoing situation in Europe, which produces bad news on almost a daily basis, means we are a long way off recovery.’

    The Independent

    1st October 2012
  • The number of mortgages approved in August remained unchanged, despite the launch of the Funding for Lending scheme, according to the Bank of England. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘This data has been eagerly awaited to see what impact the Bank’s £80bn Funding for Lending scheme is having. The answer: not a lot. A decline in August doesn’t sound too positive and doesn’t tally with a recent BoE survey where lenders claimed the scheme was helping boost lending to individuals and households.’

    The Guardian

    1st October 2012
  • Borrowers have been warned about taking competitive mortgage deals offered by foreign banks after State Bank of India stopped accepting applications for buy-to-let, claiming it has been overwhelmed. Of other foreign banks operating in the UK, Handelsbanken offers a two-year tracker at 1.2 points above its 1.75 per cent base rate, so 2.95 per cent, according to broker SPF Private Clients.

    The Sunday Times

    30th September 2012
  • An alternative to the Lib Democrats’ scheme of allowing parents to borrow against their pension to raise a deposit is for them to act as guarantors. But Mark Harris at broker SPF Private Clients, warns: ‘With any of these schemes, parents and grandparents should seek advice, particularly if the lender is taking a charge over their property. Depending on the details of the guarantee, they may be restricted from borrowing in their own right until the restriction is lifted.’

    Financial Times

    29th September 2012
  • The Lib Dems’ proposal to allow parents and grandparents to borrow against their pension in order to help children and grandchildren with a deposit for a home, has come in for criticism, but raising a deposit is essential. ‘The deposit is the most crucial aspect of any property purchase and increasingly our clients are helping children or grandchildren onto the housing ladder by giving them the necessary funds,’ said Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris.

    Financial Times

    29th September 2012
  • NewBuy may not take off until lenders make it more attractive. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Part of the problem has been the reluctance of more lenders to come on board and offer NewBuy mortgages, which has meant that the rates were not as low initially as previously anticipated they would be.’

    The Times

    28th September 2012
  • Five years into the mortgage famine, 100pc homeloans costing less than 4pc per annum are available once again for first-time buyers with family able to help them. Other options aim to replace parental help with Government support. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The NewBuy scheme enables buyers to purchase a new-build house or flat with only a 5pc deposit. House builders and the government contribute to an indemnity scheme which is used to pay the lender if a buyer defaults.’

    Daily Telegraph

    28th September 2012
  • House prices were unchanged in August, according to the Land Registry, as buyers and sellers stayed at home. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, said: ‘It is no surprise that average house prices didn’t move in August, with the Olympics proving a real distraction for would-be buyers and sellers. Yet the volume of transactions is still well below what we saw at the height of the market, so we should not read too much into one month’s numbers. What is surprising is that the Land Registry recorded no change in prices in London in August. The reality is that house hunters in London face a real challenge, with prices rising rapidly and chronic lack of stock meaning there is very little choice.’

    Daily Mail

    28th September 2012
  • From October, self-storage companies will charge 20% VAT so it could be worth checking what removal firms charge for traditional storage – where VAT has always been included – as an alternative. London business Aussie Man & Van says an average traditional storage firm charges £18 for 250 cubic feet per week against the £30 for the same space for self-storage. The difference, apparently, is traditional firms have warehouses where they stack containers professionally, using more space efficiently.

    Evening Standard

    25th September 2012
  • Data firm xit2 reports that £116bn worth of interest-only mortgages due to mature over the coming eight years have no specified repayment plans in place. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Interest only should be for people with a genuine strategy for repaying the capital at the end of the term. Historically, these mortgages were often given away to people who were not in this position, so for lots of borrowers it will be a ticking time bomb. If you have eight to 10 years until your mortgage term ends, the likelihood is that you bought your property some years ago, so will have enough equity to repay the capital and buy a smaller home to live in. If not, you have time to plan a strategy but you need to take proper advice and crack on with it rather than ignore the problem and hope it goes away. It won’t.’

    Independent on Sunday

    23rd September 2012
  • Lenders are offering ‘freebies’ to attract borrowers but proceed with care. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Freebies often work well if you are buying a high-value property with a low loan-to-value. A free valuation on a £2m house is worth a lot more than a free valuation on a £200,000 one.’

    The Sunday Times

    23rd September 2012
  • Santander is offering cashback on monthly mortgage payments to customers who sign up to a 123 Current Account. But it makes it more difficult for customers to compare products. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Most of us want more simplicity and flexibility in our lives, not less, and particularly not where the returns are relatively modest.’

    The Times

    22nd September 2012
  • The past ten years has seen big changes to the mortgage market – from feast to famine. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The situation has flipped from one extreme to the other so some rebalancing is inevitable. Although we are unlikely to go back to the madness of 2005-07, we are likely to move away from this paralysis. That can only be a good thing.’

    The Times

    21st September 2012
  • Borrowers hoping to extend their homes could struggle to get finance. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Rather than simply agreeing to a further advance, some lenders will insist on underwriting the entire loan again, including the existing mortgage, and reassessing the borrower’s suitability in the process. This could throw up some serious issues as banks have tightened their lending criteria. For example, someone with an interest-only deal could find that their lender has reined back the maximum loan-to-value ratio for interest only, forcing them to convert some of their mortgage on to costlier capital repayments.’

    The Sunday Times

    16th September 2012
  • Accidental landlords are finding that their mortgage payments could rise by as much as 50 per cent. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It has got noticeably harder to get consent to let, particularly for borrowers on cheap term trackers – lenders are trying to wriggle out of these, so, if you have one, your lender will probably hike your mortgage rate.’

    The Sunday Times

    16th September 2012
  • Although lenders have cut the price of two-year fixed-rate mortgages, borrowers with large mortgage amounts are opting either to fix for five years or take out a lifetime tracker. ‘Our clients tend to shun short-term fixes as they don’t give enough flexibility and require the borrower to refinance after a relatively limited period,’ said Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris.

    Financial Times

    15th September 2012
  • Lenders have cut the cost of two-year fixed-rate mortgages to attract borrowers. ‘Lenders offer plenty of competitively priced two-year fixed rates, but they argue that they are responding to demand, offering what the customer wants, said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients.

    Financial Times

    15th September 2012
  • It is five years since Northern Rock collapsed. The situation worsened the following year when Lehman Brothers collapsed, and the securitisation market effectively closed. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, believes this was the final straw for the mortgage market. The total number of mortgages approved fell from about 2.5m in 2007 to just under 1m in 2009.

    Financial Times

    15th September 2012
  • The cost of moving can soon add up, particularly for those moving up the housing ladder. ‘Second-steppers may also have to pay more than first-timers on removals as they are likely to have amassed more belongings,’ adds Mark Prout, director of removals firm Aussie Man & Van.

    Evening Standard

    13th September 2012
  • Costs mount up when you buy a new home. ‘There are several costs associated with taking the second step, such as the lender’s arrangement fee (around £1,000), a possible broker fee, the cost of the survey and disbursements, legal fees, estate agent fees and moving costs,’ says Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris. ‘You will also have to pay stamp duty if you are moving up the ladder, and this can run into thousands of pounds.’

    Evening Standard

    13th September 2012
  • Japanese knotweed can be an issue for lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It’s a mixed bag. Woolwich, Santander and Leeds Building Society will decline mortgage applications on properties where Japanese knotweed is present, while others will consider it, with guarantees or an indemnity in place, and be guided by a surveyor, such as Northern Rock, Clydesdale and Nationwide.’

    The Observer

    9th September 2012
  • Japanese knotweed on your property or even in your street can mean you get refused a mortgage. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘If a bank’s valuer finds evidence of it, or there is history of it in the area, a specialist survey will be required. Lenders can get quite hysterical and over-react. The bank may not lend, or may retain part of the loan.’

    The Observer

    9th September 2012
  • Mortgage fees have risen by 70 per cent, according to Moneyfacts. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It is vital that you work out the total cost of a mortgage deal – rate plus fees – when comparing products. A large fee isn’t necessarily to be avoided at all costs, but you need to do the sums to work out whether it is worth your while.’

    The Sunday Telegraph

    9th September 2012
  • Tesco has cut its mortgage rates. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Tesco’s decision to cut its mortgage rates so soon after launch suggests that it wasn’t getting the levels of business that it hoped for.’

    The Sunday Times

    9th September 2012
  • Demand for rental properties in London from overseas students is soaring. ‘The uncertainty created by tax changes in the Budget is fuelling a surge in overseas students renting out property in prime central London as opposed to buying,’ said Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients. ‘Many wealthy parents who would normally have bought an apartment for their children to live in during their studies are delaying such a decision until the tax position is clearer, and renting in the meantime. This is having the effect of pushing up rents and leading to a scarcity of property for rent at the top end.’

    Financial Times

    8th September 2012
  • House prices fell slightly in August as the market treads water, according to the Halifax. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘September heralds the start of a final push in property sales before the end of the year, as would-be buyers aim to get into their new homes before Christmas, so we expect to see a pick-up in business in the next couple of months.’

    The Guardian

    6th September 2012
  • The housing market remains stagnant, according to new figures from the Halifax, which show that prices dipped in August. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘September heralds the start of a final push in property sales before the end of the year as many would-be buyers aim to get into their new homes before Christmas. As a result we expect to see a pickup in business in the next couple of months.’

    Daily Telegraph

    6th September 2012
  • House prices fell 0.4% in August, according to the Halifax. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘September heralds the start of a final push in property sales before the end of the year as would-be buyers aim to get into their new homes before Christmas, so we expect to see a pick-up in business in the next couple of months. Lenders are keen to take advantage of the expected flurry of activity with a number launching new deals designed to entice borrowers.’

    Thisismoney.co.uk

    6th September 2012
  • House prices fell 0.4 per cent in August, according to the latest Halifax house price index. Gabby Adler, an independent buying agent, said: ‘Despite the odd rise or fall here and there, depending on where you are in the country, house prices have been predominantly flat over the past quarter with little change. This missing confidence is key and until it returns, house prices on the whole will be flat and bump along the bottom, give or take a few variations from region to region. There may be an uplift in September and October as people attempt to move in time for Christmas, and some families will be moving in order to take advantage of school catchment areas for applications for the next academic year, but this is likely to be a short-lived boost unless the wider economic issues are addressed.’

    Thisismoney.co.uk

    6th September 2012
  • The government is relaxing the rules around domestic extensions. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says planning isn’t the issue holding many homeowners back. ‘It’s all well and good suggesting the answer to the housing crisis is to extend existing properties, but unless you have got the £20,000 upwards to pay for it sitting in your bank account, there could be funding issues. Lending is tougher than before the downturn so getting your mortgage lender to advance the required funds will not be as easy as in the past.’

    The Guardian

    6th September 2012
  • New planning permission rules could still be stymied by the mortgage famine. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It’s not so much planning that’s the issue, for most people it’s lack of finance to pay for building work. It’s all well and good suggesting that the answer to the housing crisis is to extend existing properties but unless you have got the £20,000 upwards to pay for it sitting in your bank account, there could be funding issues. Lending is tougher than before the downturn so getting your mortgage lender to advance the required funds will not be as easy as in the past.’

    Daily Telegraph

    6th September 2012
  • Homeowners should beware of ‘quick sale’ companies who promise to buy any property and offer desperate sellers a quick completion – but the sale price could be well below market value. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Consider other options such as renting out the property if you can to avoid selling at a rock-bottom price, or at the very least get quotes from different companies to ensure you get the best price you possibly can.’

    Evening Standard

    4th September 2012
  • The housing market remains tough. Broker Anderson Harris likes First Direct’s 4.99 per cent five-year fix up to 90 per cent LTV with no fee…. According to Anderson Harris, the broker, the best buy lifetime tracker deal for someone with a 40 per cent deposit is from HSBC at 2.14 points above Bank rate, so 2.64 per cent with a £999 fee. The most competitive five-year fix is from NatWest at 2.95 per cent with a £2,495 fee. The Post Office has a five-year fix at 3.69 per cent with no fee for those with a smaller 25 per cent deposit.

    The Sunday Times

    2nd September 2012
  • When it comes to removals, prices vary considerably so think about the service you require when choosing a company. Aussie Man & Van, a recently acquired subsidiary [of Anthony Ward Thomas], took Boris Johnson’s impedimenta from his campaign office to City Hall. This division’s charges start from £75 an hour plus VAT.

    The Times

    31st August 2012
  • Moving is an expensive business but opting for the cheapest quote can be expensive, as the stress and distraction divert your time and attention from your paid employment, says Anthony Ward-Thomas, the boss of Ward-Thomas, a London firm of master removers. ‘There’s a method in packing and loading, and people who have never done it before will fall at the first hurdle….’Many people move their clutter from one home to another, but this is a waste of effort. It’s important to throw out or give to charity items you haven’t used for a year. It’s much easier than taking it with you or paying to put it into storage. We have one lady who has stored items with us since she moved to Paris in 1992.’

    The Times

    31st August 2012
  • To minimise the stress of moving home, you should think about what you do with your children. Gabby Adler, a family-home buying specialist, says: ‘Whatever you do, get the children out of the way. It is boring for them and they will only get under your feet. Arrange something fun: a playdate with friends or a day out with Grandma, which they will enjoy and will alleviate some of your stress.’

    The Times

    31st August 2012
  • Moving house can be very stressful so pay for professional movers. Anthony Ward Thomas, who owns a specialist removal company, recommends booking well in advance and, if you are doing your own packing and unpacking, labelling boxes to save time and money. Mark Prout, managing director of Aussie Man & Van, suggests that you make a written plan of where you want all major items of furniture to be placed in your new home.

    The Times

    31st August 2012
  • House prices have recorded their biggest monthly rebound in more than two and a half years but are still 0.7 per cent lower than a year ago, according to Nationwide. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, said: ‘The three-month average gives a more realistic picture of what is going on and this showed a decline in prices. The housing market is firmly in the doldrums, although the national average does mask significant regional differences. Demand is still mostly weak although that said, in parts of London where there is a shortage of decent family homes for sale, there is still significant competition from buyers and prices are still holding quite well.’

    Daily Telegraph

    31st August 2012
  • HSBC has launched a range of fixed-rate mortgages at 90 per cent LTV, pegged at less than 5 per cent for seven years. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘HSBC has priced keenly so we could see more lenders compete in this space.’

    The Guardian

    31st August 2012
  • London was the driving force behind the continued house price recovery in July, according to the Land Registry. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The jury is still out on whether the Bank of England’s emergency funding will…[result] in cheaper mortgages.’

    City AM

    30th August 2012
  • Mortgage approvals recovered slightly in July after plunging to an 18-month low, according to the Bank of England. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is too early to say what impact the funding for lending scheme will have. There are fewer deals available at higher loans-to-value than a year ago, so this needs urgently addressing if it is to be a success and to give the housing market the kickstart it so desperately needs.’

    The Independent

    30th August 2012
  • Mortgage approvals were still subdued in July, said the Bank of England. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is too early to say what impact the funding for lending scheme will have. There are fewer deals available at higher loan-to-values than a year ago, so this needs urgently addressing if it is to be a success and to give the housing market the kickstart it so desperately needs.’

    BBC News

    30th August 2012
  • Mortgage approvals and remortgages picked up in July but a significant recovery is still a long way off, said the Bank of England. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said there was some renewed vigour from lenders, which is likely to boost the number of borrowers remortgaging. ‘However, with Nationwide raising a number of rates because of compromised service levels caused by an influx of business, we need more lenders to offer competitive rates in order to keep pricing low across the board. With money market rates at all-time lows, this should be possible.’

    Daily Telegraph

    30th August 2012
  • House prices in England and Wales rose slightly in the past year, but demand for £1m-plus properties has grown sharply, according to the Land Registry. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler said: ‘Continuing lack of confidence in the economy and a sense that vendors are still over-pricing their homes in some areas means many would-be sellers are sitting on their hands as they take a wait and see approach.’

    BBC News

    29th August 2012
  • House prices in England and Wales rose by 0.8% in July, according to the Land Registry. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler said: ‘The Land Registry data shows that the national average increase masks significant regional differences. Continuing lack of confidence in the economy and a sense that vendors are still over-pricing their homes in some areas, means many would-be sellers are sitting on their hands as they take a ‘wait and see’ approach.’

    The Guardian

    29th August 2012
  • An influx of foreign investors is leading to a resurgence in the UK buy-to-let market. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said that with rents rising, more lenders are making more buy-to-let deals available.

    Daily Telegraph

    29th August 2012
  • London house prices have hit an all-time high, according to Land Registry data. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The Land Registry data is less gloomy than some of the other house price indices and yet the housing market in parts of the country really is suffering. The jury is still out on whether the Bank of England’s emergency funding will have the desired effect.’

    Evening Standard

    29th August 2012
  • House prices are 0.3 per cent higher than a year ago, according to the Land Registry. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, said: ‘The Land Registry data shows that the national average increase masks significant regional differences. Continuing lack of confidence in the economy and a sense that vendors are still over-pricing their homes in some areas, means many would-be sellers are sitting on their hands as they take a ‘wait and see’ approach.’

    The Guardian

    29th August 2012
  • House prices rose by 0.8 per cent in July, according to the Land Registry. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said the Land Registry data was ‘less gloomy’ than some of the other house price indices ‘yet the housing market in parts of the country really is suffering’.

    The Guardian

    29th August 2012
  • Millions of families face a squeeze on their household budgets. If your SVR is going up, you should take action. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says those with an SVR of 4 per cent or more with at least a 20 per cent deposit should consider remortgaging. The most competitive five-year fix is from NatWest at 2.95 per cent for those with a 40 per cent deposit, but it carries a £2,495 fee.

    Sunday Times

    26th August 2012
  • If you want to beat the property market you should consider buying near a top school. Buying agent Gabby Adler who specialises in finding family homes, says: ‘With private school fees rising, the value of such properties is insulated against the market’s harsher turns because living in the catchment area of a good school can save a family a fortune over the years. She says Richmond has some of the best primary schools in the country. ‘This scarcity of supply ensures asking prices remain high,’ she says.

    Independent on Sunday

    26th August 2012
  • Half a million Santander borrowers have been told that their mortgage payments will increase by around £300 a year in October and more lenders are likely to follow. But while Manchester Building Society has launched a 25-year fix, this might not be the answer. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Fixing for 25 years is a gamble. Even if you think you are getting a competitive rate, it might not look that way in a few years’ time when you will be trapped and unable to switch to a cheaper deal without paying a hefty penalty.’

    The Times

    25th August 2012
  • Borrowers on their lender’s SVR need to keep a watch out for any movements in the rate. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Many lenders, including Halifax, ING, Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks, the Co-operative and Cambridge Building Society, have raised their SVRs this year even though there has been no movement in Bank Rate.’

    Daily Telegraph

    25th August 2012
  • Five years after Northern Rock teetered on the brink of collapse, it’s never been harder to get a mortgage. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘No longer can you have the odd missed mortgage or mobile phone payment on your credit file; when you make your application, it had better be squeaky clean or it will be rejected. If you are self-employed you will need at least two years of good accounts to prove your income in order to get a mortgage; any less and you will have to delay your move or remortgage.’

    Daily Telegraph

    25th August 2012
  • Santander has raised its SVR and the worry is that other lenders can follow suit. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘If you find yourself in this situation, seek advice. You can use savings earning next-to-nothing to reduce your outstanding loan which will improve your equity position, for instance.’

    The Independent

    25th August 2012
  • Buyers are being put off historic homes by the imagined cost of upkeep and repairs. Gabby Adler, an independent buying agent, believes that top-end houses are holding their own, although she warns that they do take months, if not years, to find the right buyer.

    The Times

    24th August 2012
  • Mortgage approvals made a slight recovery last month from a 15-year low but remain way below their long-term average, according to the British Bankers’ Association. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Weak economic growth in the UK and the ongoing eurozone crisis are fuelling uncertainty and a lack of consumer confidence. More borrowers are choosing to overpay on their mortgage and reduce their outstanding debt and borrowing costs where they can, rather than take on new loans.’

    Daily Telegraph

    23rd August 2012
  • Santander has raised its SVR. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Interest rates may have been held at 0.5 per cent for three and a half years but lenders such as Santander are raising their SVRs regardless.’

    The Independent

    23rd August 2012
  • Santander is under fire for raising its SVR. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘As Santander has proven, lenders can raise their SVRs on a whim so borrowers have no protection. Rates could rise, even if the base rate doesn’t.’

    The Independent

    23rd August 2012
  • Santander is raising its SVR by four times the rate of inflation. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It’s possible that other lenders will raise their SVRs if they haven’t already.’

    The Sun

    23rd August 2012
  • Santander is raising its SVR. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said the rate increase to 4.74 per cent will make Santander’s SVR more expensive than other big lenders such as Halifax, Woolwich and Nationwide.

    Financial Times

    22nd August 2012
  • Santander has written to customers to tell them it is raising its SVR to 4.74 per cent. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The move puts its SVR towards the upper end of the scale when compared with big lenders such as Halifax, Woolwich and Nationwide. The good news is that there is a mortgage rate war with prices falling to new lows, particularly on five-year fixed rates.’

    BBC News

    22nd August 2012
  • Santander is raising its SVR to 4.74 per cent. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The move puts its SVR towards the upper end of the scale when compared with other big lenders such as Halifax, Woolwich and Nationwide.’

    The Guardian

    22nd August 2012
  • Santander is raising its SVR. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘As Santander has proven lenders can raise their SVRs on a whim, so borrowers have no protection, and should not take for granted that rates won’t rise, even if there is no corresponding increase in the Bank Rate.’

    Daily Telegraph

    22nd August 2012
  • Santander is raising its SVR from October even though Bank Rate has remained on hold for more than three years. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘This move is profiteering, pure and simple. Interest rates may have been held at 0.5pc for three and a half years, but lenders such as Santander are raising mortgage rates regardless.’

    Daily Telegraph

    22nd August 2012
  • Santander is raising its SVR by half a per cent. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘It is possible that other lenders will raise their SVRs if they haven’t already.’

    The Independent

    22nd August 2012
  • Santander is raising its SVR. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘It is possible that other lenders will raise their SVRs if they haven’t already. Borrowers should remain vigilant and check what their lender is charging.’

    Evening Standard

    22nd August 2012
  • First-time buyers risk missing out on the price war as only those with hefty deposits or substantial equity will secure the best rates. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘NewBuy has got off to a slow start with only a handful of lenders offering products with higher rates than expected. To expect this scheme to be the saviour of the housing market was always unrealistic.’

    Daily Express

    22nd August 2012
  • For those looking to remortgage, Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris picks out a five-year fix from the Post Office at 3.59 per cent, up to 75 per cent LTV, and a five-year fix from First Direct at 4.99 per cent. Both are fee free. ‘Borrowers opting for a fix are going for five rather than two years because they get an excellent rate for a reasonable period of time,’ he says. ‘Fixing for two years doesn’t make sense. Rates might be cheaper but interest rates are unlikely to rise during that time.’

    Daily Express

    22nd August 2012
  • Borrowers looking to remortgage are urged to act now to take advantage of cheap deals. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It may be too early to call the end of the mortgage famine, but there are certainly encouraging signs. We’ve seen five-year fixed rates fall to historic lows and expect more jostling for position.’

    Daily Express

    22nd August 2012
  • If you took out a fixed-rate mortgage five years ago, you may be able to reduce your monthly payments by hundreds of pounds. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘With five-year fixed rates in particular falling to all-time lows, it is worth considering remortgaging onto one of these deals if you have enough equity in your home.’

    Daily Telegraph

    21st August 2012
  • The Council of Mortgage Lenders reports that gross mortgage lending in July increased by 8 per cent over the month before to £12.7bn. Buying agent Gabby Adler, said: ‘Transactions are well down on the peak of the market as the ongoing eurozone crisis and concerns over weak economic growth in the UK have a knock-on effect on consumer confidence. This missing confidence is key and until it returns, house prices on the whole will be flat and bump along the bottom, give or take a few variations from region to region.’

    Daily Telegraph

    20th August 2012
  • A sharp rise in mortgage lending in July, following rate cuts from some banks, has prompted speculation about the end of the mortgage famine and fresh support for house prices. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The Funding for Lending scheme should deliver more competitive mortgage rates in coming weeks and these are already filtering through.’

    Daily Telegraph

    20th August 2012
  • Being self-employed makes it much harder to get a mortgage. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It makes business sense and is therefore common practice for company directors to have retained profits in a limited company but high-street lenders tend to have an issue with them when deciding how much self-employed customers can borrow. The private banks are a much better option for the wealthy borrower as they understand retained profits much better and are often willing to take them into account.’

    Daily Mail

    20th August 2012
  • The mortgage market continues to ‘see-saw’ with an 8 per cent rise in lending between June and July. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said that ‘any sustained recovery in the housing market is a long way off’.

    The Independent

    20th August 2012
  • Mortgage lending rose by 8 per cent in July, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It might be too early to call the end of the mortgage famine but there are certainly encouraging signs.’

    The Times

    20th August 2012
  • Mortgage lending increased by 8 per cent in July, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘It might be too early to call the end of the mortgage famine, but there are certainly encouraging signs.’

    The Guardian

    20th August 2012
  • Mortgage lending bounced back in July, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. However, Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The focus on the Olympics, the continuing eurozone crisis and weak consumer confidence is likely to result in a slight drop-off in transactions over the next couple of months.’

    BBC News

    20th August 2012
  • Tesco has started offering mortgages. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The Post Office has better rates and a wider choice than Tesco, including a market-leading five-year fix up to 75 per cent LTV charging just 3.59 per cent with no arrangement fee.’

    Sunday Express

    19th August 2012
  • Buy-to-let is booming as investors take advantage of cheaper mortgages and strong rental demand. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘With prices falling in parts of the country, double-digit house price growth is a thing of the past. If you are likely to need your money back in a couple of years, you would be better off investing your money elsewhere because you could find that values fall further during this time so selling up could be costly.’

    The Times

    17th August 2012
  • HSBC has pulled its market-leading five-year fix at 2.99 per cent. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘While a mortgage rate war has broken out in recent weeks, with five-year fixes in particular falling to record lows, these are available only to those with sizeable deposits of at least 40pc. First-time buyers with modest deposits continue to pay a premium on the rate, even though they can least afford it.’

    Daily Telegraph

    15th August 2012
  • While the housing market may be picking up in some areas, the Government’s NewBuy scheme is not playing a huge part. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The NewBuy initiative is limited in scope and has got off to a slow start with only a handful of mortgage lenders offering products – and with higher rates than expected, at that. With only 100,000 buyers able to benefit under the scheme, it’s a drop in the ocean compared with the scale of the problem and the many people who are struggling to get on the housing ladder, requiring assistance. To expect this scheme to be the saviour of the housing market was always unrealistic.’

    Daily Telegraph

    14th August 2012
  • House prices have fallen further due to the bad weather, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, says: ‘Transactions are well down on the peak of the market as the ongoing eurozone crisis and concerns over economic growth in the UK have a knock-on effect on consumer confidence. This missing confidence is key and until it returns, house prices on the whole will be flat and bump along the bottom, give or take a few variations from region to region.’

    Daily Telegraph

    14th August 2012
  • There were more first-time buyers in June than in any month since July 2010. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘There were more first-time buyers than we might expect.’

    The Times

    13th August 2012
  • Mortgage lending to first-time buyers increased in June, according to the CML. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘While overall lending fell in June, there were more first-time buyers than we might expect given how tough it is for them to drum up a big enough deposit to get on the housing ladder. It is encouraging that this sector is showing some resilience but many first-time buyers will inevitably be relying on their parents to help with a deposit.’

    Daily Telegraph

    13th August 2012
  • Remortgaging could pick up as borrowers are attracted by some of the cheapest fixed rates ever. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It looks as though borrowers have been sitting on their lender’s SVR and waiting for cheaper remortgage deals to come along, which are starting to filter through.’

    The Guardian

    13th August 2012
  • Remortgaging numbers fell in June, according to the CML. Mark Harris of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘There were more first-time buyers than we might expect given how tough it is for them to drum up a big enough deposit to get on the housing ladder. It is encouraging that this sector is showing some resilience but many first-time buyers will inevitably be relying on their parents to help with a deposit.’

    BBC News

    13th August 2012
  • Landlords can earn gross yields of nearly 10 per cent in university towns, according to zoopla.co.uk. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The advantage of renting to students is that they have ready-made guarantors – their parents. Investors should therefore ask the parents to accept financial and legal responsibility.’

    Sunday Times

    12th August 2012
  • The mortgage market is split between those with a significant amount of equity in their home and the ‘have-nots’ – those who don’t have much equity. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Unfortunately, some of the cheapest mortgage rates now on offer are only available to ‘vanilla’ cases: borrowers with large deposits, clean credit histories and an uncomplicated property. If you don’t tick all these boxes, it is unlikely that you will qualify as you will be regarded higher risk and therefore less desirable to lenders.’

    Daily Telegraph

    11th August 2012
  • The historically low fixed rates being launched are not available to those requiring large loans of £500,000 or more. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘It can be tricky for those borrowing more than £500,000 as many high-street lenders don’t wish to lend above this amount, or they charge a premium on the rate for doing so.’ Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, adds: ‘Borrowers requiring large mortgages should take care as they could well be penalised on the high street.’

    Financial Times

    11th August 2012
  • Buy-to-let continues to perform well, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It is no surprise that the buy-to-let sector continues with its strong performance. As would-be first-time buyers continue to struggle to get on the housing ladder, more people are turning to renting. This is pushing up rents, making the sector increasingly attractive to investors.’

    Daily Mail

    10th August 2012
  • With Bank Rate at rock bottom, many borrowers will be considering opting for a fixed rate, such as NatWest’s five-year fix at 2.95 per cent. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The cheapest five-year fixed rate ever, this deal comes with a hefty fee but it might be worth paying, depending on the size of your mortgage. As a general rule, the bigger the mortgage, the more important the rate and the less important the fee, so if your mortgage is bigger than £100,000, it could be worth paying the fee in order to get this great rate and cheap monthly payments.’

    Daily Telegraph

    10th August 2012
  • Repossessions are likely to rise this year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, unless lenders act responsibly. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It is essential that lenders continue to show forbearance and look after customers who are struggling by switching them to interest only, allowing them to take payment holidays or extend their mortgage terms, where practical.’

    Daily Telegraph

    9th August 2012
  • The buy-to-let sector continues to expand as landlords snap up 17 per cent more properties, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘While capital growth on investment properties is likely to remain subdued for some time to come, income is strong and returns favourable when compared with other investments.’

    Thisismoney.co.uk

    9th August 2012
  • Repossessions may have fallen over the past three months but the Council of Mortgage Lenders believes they will still rise over the year. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘That repossessions are likely to rise for the year as a whole is depressingly predictable. Although interest rates are expected to remain at 0.5% for the foreseeable future, a growing number of borrowers are still struggling.’

    The Guardian

    9th August 2012
  • Buy-to-let lending has increased by nearly a fifth in 12 months with strong growth in the rental sector, according to the CML. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘While capital growth on investment properties is likely to remain subdued for some time to come, income is strong and returns favourable when compared with other investments. Buy-to-let is only going to grow in popularity as more lenders return to the market.’

    Press Association

    9th August 2012
  • The number of homes repossessed in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since 2012, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders. But it is important not to get complacent. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Mortgage rates continue to rise, despite the non-movement of base rate, with more than a million homeowners seeing an increase in mortgage rates in May, for example. Those with little or no equity in their homes don’t have the luxury of being able to remortgage onto a cheaper deal.’

    BBC News

    9th August 2012
  • The funding for lending scheme is already having a positive effect on mortgage rates. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The funding for lending scheme has already had an impact on mortgage pricing, pushing down swap rates and resulting in some excellent five-year fixed-rate deals in particular.’

    Evening Standard

    7th August 2012
  • The price of the average house has not changed in the past three months, according to the Halifax house price index, owing to a lack of confidence due to the eurozone crisis and weak economic growth. Buying agent Gabby Adler, says: ‘This missing confidence is key and until it returns, house prices on the whole will be flat and bump along the bottom, give or take a few variations from region to region.’

    Moneywise

    6th August 2012
  • Lenders continue to clamp down on interest-only loans. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘If you are facing a shortfall on the investment you have lined up to pay off your loan, it is important to take action sooner rather than later. Don’t stick your head in the sand and hope the problem will go away – it won’t.’

    Sunday Times

    5th August 2012
  • A number of lenders have reduced their fixed rates. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘If you have relatively modest mortgage requirements, you might wish to think twice before opting for the market-leading rate from the Royal Bank of Scotland at 2.95 per cent because of the hefty fee. For example, someone with a mortgage of £60,000 would find that the Monmouth building society’s five-year fix at 3.99 per cent with modest fee of £195 works out cheaper over the fixed-rate period.’

    Independent on Sunday

    5th August 2012
  • Tesco is launching a range of mortgage deals. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The choice of fees and various loan-to-values is welcome but it would have been good to see some higher LTVs than 80%. The flexibility in terms of being able to overpay is also a good feature. There is no advice available, though, and borrowers can’t speak to someone face to face – it’s all over the phone or online, which will put some people off.’

    The Guardian

    4th August 2012
  • 10 turn-offs for home buyers. Buying agent Nathalie Hirst, says: ‘People lack imagination, so rooms which are not used as they were intended can be confusing. A dining room with no table. A bedroom with no bed, but racks of clothes. Conrad Black’s house in Kensington had four or five rooms with dozens of hanging rails for his wife’s clothes.’

    The Times

    3rd August 2012
  • Fixed-rate mortgages are now less than 3% but what are the drawbacks? Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Traditionally, borrowers pay a premium for the security of a fix but these cracking rates mean this is no longer the case in all instances. A five-year fix is less flexible than a tracker as it locks borrowers in for a lengthy period, with a hefty penalty to pay if you wish to exit the mortgage early… but for many borrowers it is worthwhile to achieve such a cheap rate.’

    BBC News

    3rd August 2012
  • Will the Funding for Lending scheme give the housing market a boost? Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘So far, the best deals have been for those with sizeable deposits, which won’t give the housing market the kickstart it so desperately needs.’

    The Guardian

    1st August 2012
  • The government’s Funding for Lending scheme has finally launched. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘While lenders may not be forced to lend at high LTVs under the rules of the scheme, if they don’t they may struggle to do enough lending to qualify for the cheapest fee to borrow via the scheme.’

    The Guardian

    1st August 2012
  • While house prices fell in July, according to Nationwide, there is some good news for home buyers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Although the housing market is suffering, on the mortgage side it is really starting to look more positive.’

    Daily Telegraph

    1st August 2012
  • House prices fell in July, according to Nationwide building society. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, says: ‘What is true of the property market in the north of the country, for example, is very different in London or other property hot spots…. in parts of London where there is a shortage of decent family homes for sale, demand remains high.’

    Daily Telegraph

    1st August 2012
  • The Funding for Lending scheme launched today. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘…We don’t yet know whether the Funding for Lending scheme will result in cheaper mortgages at higher LTVs. So far, the best deals have been for those with sizeable deposits, which won’t give the housing market the kickstart it so desperately needs.’

    BBC News

    1st August 2012
  • Will the Funding for Lending scheme help more first-time buyers onto the housing ladder? Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘This should mean more choice and cheaper rates. But if it means there is more choice at the 60 per cent LTV level, it isn’t going to free the market.’

    Daily Express

    1st August 2012
  • The mortgage rate war is well underway. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Two-year fixes are marginally cheaper than the lowest five-year equivalents, but with interest rates unlikely to rise for years there is little point fixing for such a short period.’

    Daily Express

    1st August 2012
  • A mortgage price war has broken out on the high street but those with small deposits still have to pay disproportionately more than those with 25 or 40 per cent to put down. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘On a ‘£150,000 mortgage, this [Leeds Building Society’s five-year fix at 5.99% for those with a 5% deposit] works out at an extra £380 a month, compared to NatWest’s five-year fix [at 2.95%]. Over the five years, you would pay an extra £22,800 for having a smaller deposit, practically double what the homeowner with the bigger downpayment would pay.’

    The Guardian

    31st July 2012
  • Lloyds has pledged £5bn to help first-time buyers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It is great to hear that our biggest lender is targeting first-time buyers with a significant commitment of funds.’

    Daily Telegraph

    30th July 2012
  • Mortgage lending declined in June, according to the Bank of England despite cheaper mortgages. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Money market rates have fallen to their lowest levels ever in recent weeks and this has started to filter through into pricing, with cheaper fixed rates being launched, including five-year fixed rates pegged at below 3%.’

    BBC News

    30th July 2012
  • First-time buyers still have to pay a premium on their mortgage rate. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It seems to make little sense that those who can least afford it have to pay the most for their mortgage.’

    Independent on Sunday

    29th July 2012
  • Borrowers need to protect their wealth against spiralling problems in the eurozone. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris says a lifetime tracker might be the answer: ‘Many of these deals carry no early repayment charges so borrowers can switch to a fix without penalty once rates start to rise,’ he says.

    The Sunday Times

    29th July 2012
  • Private banks are increasingly insisting that borrowers place assets under management with them. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Over the past few weeks, we have seen a steady flow of borrowers approaching us who have been called in by their private bank to review their loan facility. It is no longer a sure thing that their loan will be renewed at the end of the five-year term.’

    The Times

    28th July 2012
  • Although there are plenty of competitive fixed-rate mortgages available, it’s important to watch out for the early repayment charges. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘While these falling fixed rates are great news for borrowers looking for extended security, make sure you don’t fix for longer than you are absolutely sure about. Otherwise you’ll be hit with hefty early repayment charges when you try to exit, particularly as porting a mortgage is so much more difficult these days.’

    Daily Telegraph

    27th July 2012
  • Lenders are cutting their mortgage rates. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The mortgage rate war is well under way… The trend looks set for fixed rates to drift down further.’

    Daily Telegraph

    27th July 2012
  • There are better mortgage deals available for those with modest deposits. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘RBS has just cut its five-year fixed rate for people borrowing up to 90 per cent LTV to just 4.79 per cent. If others follow its lead, more people will be able to access competitive mortgage rates.’

    Daily Express

    25th July 2012
  • With inflation falling, the Bank of England may even cut the base rate further. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘There are already some cracking fixed rates available, particularly longer-term deals. The downside is that borrowers need sizeable deposits to qualify for the very best deals.’

    Daily Express

    25th July 2012
  • Mortgage approvals for house purchases fell to their lowest level for 15 years last month. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The general decline in the number of people taking out mortgages, combined with the ongoing trend for homeowners to pay down debt, means the significant increases in net lending seen in the past are a distant memory.’

    Thisismoney.co.uk

    24th July 2012
  • Wet weather affected the UK mortgage market in June, according to the British Bankers’ Association. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The ongoing eurozone crisis, which has stepped up a level in the past week, will continue to undermine consumer confidence and encourage buyers and sellers to sit on their hands until there is significant improvement. Any recovery in the housing market remains a long way off.’

    BBC News

    24th July 2012
  • A number of lenders have reduced their mortgage rates in recent days, including RBS and HSBC. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘If other lenders follow suit, it should have a positive impact on the housing market, with cheaper deals…. Although the funding for lending scheme has only recently launched, we expect to see mortgage rates start to fall in coming weeks.’

    The Guardian

    23rd July 2012
  • Building societies can offer more competitive mortgages than the banks. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘[The Cumberland’s 3.44 per cent discounted rate] is one of the cheapest rates available for an offset mortgage, enabling borrowers to use their savings to reduce the debt on their mortgage, while still retaining access to their money in case of emergency.’

    Daily Telegraph

    21st July 2012
  • Several buy-to-let lenders have cut their rates but it’s not all good news. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Landlords who require higher loan-to-values, have larger portfolios or have had credit problems in the past, are finding it trickier to get funding.’

    Financial Times

    21st July 2012
  • Lenders are offering cheaper discounted mortgages but they are more risky than trackers because they are linked to the lender’s SVR, not base rate. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘While borrowers know where they stand with base rate, with a discounted rate there is always the danger of a nasty surprise.’

    Financial Times

    21st July 2012
  • The Olympics is set to make it tricky for people moving house due to congestion. Anthony Ward Thomas of Anthony Ward Thomas removals, says: ‘Summer is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the removals business. People tend to relocate ahead of the new school year, for work, or downsizing to properties bought during the housing market’s traditionally busy Easter period.’ Mark Prout of Aussie Man & Van, agrees: We have rescheduled several moves in Barnes after we discovered that one of the Olympics cycle races is due to take place there and there will be no way in or out of the area for three days.’

    Daily Telegraph

    20th July 2012
  • House prices continued to recover in May, according to the ONS, led by London. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, says: ‘While property prices in London continue to rise, in other parts of the country the picture is quite different.’

    City AM

    18th July 2012
  • London house prices propped up national average prices in May, according to the Office for National Statistics. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, says: ‘While property prices in London continue to rise, in other parts of the country the picture is quite different. Strip out London’s performance from the national average and the numbers are far less impressive.’

    The Guardian

    17th July 2012
  • Building societies are offering more competitive mortgages and savings rates than banks. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Many of the cheapest mortgage rates are currently being offered by the building societies… Tranches of money may be limited, so the cheapest rates don’t tend to be around for long.’

    Daily Telegraph

    14th July 2012
  • The government’s new Funding for Lending scheme is expected to cut the cost of mortgages. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘It is vital that any lending is available in the loan-to-value bands that need it. If funding will only be cheaper and easier for those with, say, a 50% deposit or similar level of equity, for example, there will be little improvement on the current situation.’

    BBC News

    13th July 2012
  • HSBC has launched a five-year fixed-rate mortgage at 2.99 per cent. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘This is the cheapest five-year fix we’ve seen and is part of a general trend among lenders to reduce their fixed rates.’

    Daily Telegraph

    13th July 2012
  • The self-employed can find it difficult to get a mortgage now that self-certification mortgages no longer exist. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘High-street lenders do not like borrowers with unreliable incomes so if you are self-employed, rely on freelance contracts, bonuses or commissions, it can be tricky to get funding.’

    The Times

    13th July 2012
  • The Council of Mortgage Lenders said lending increased by £7.2bn in May. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Now that the distorting effect of the stamp duty holiday is out of the way, the housing market looks to be in better health than previously thought.’

    The Guardian

    12th July 2012
  • With more tenants in arrears, landlords must choose carefully who they rent out their property to. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The best thing you can do is try and avoid this situation occurring in the first place – vet your tenants carefully and check references to ensure they haven’t missed rent payments in the past.’

    Evening Standard

    10th July 2012
  • Many homeowners want to remortgage on the back of the Libor-fixing scandal and ING Direct raising its SVR. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The decision by ING Direct was no real surprise as it was one of the lowest SVRs available. While we don’t expect increases across the board, lenders can raise their SVR on a whim. Borrowers should not take it for granted that rates won’t rise.’

    Sunday Express

    8th July 2012
  • As confidence in the banks falls, more borrowers are turning to mutuals for their mortgages. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Look at mortgage ‘best buy’ tables, and building societies lead the way.’

    Financial Times

    7th July 2012
  • Borrowers are confused as to whether the Libor rate-rigging scandal has cost them money or not. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘As dollar Libor and the European Libor rate were affected, not sterling Libor, the fixing scandal will have a minimal effect on borrowers in the UK.’

    The Times

    7th July 2012
  • House prices in England and Wales rose in May but there were significant regional variations. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, says: ‘What is consistent across the country is that the volume of transactions is well below what we were seeing at the height of the market. Many vendors are waiting to see what happens with the economy, while many would-be buyers believe they will not be able to get mortgage finance so there is no point in trying.’

    BBC News

    2nd July 2012
  • Lenders are offering financial incentives to encourage borrowers to take out a mortgage – but that might not make them best value. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Long gone are the days when lenders gave away plasma televisions or Rover cars to incentivise borrowers to take out a mortgage. Borrowers should not take out a mortgage just because there is an incentive: if there is a perk on offer, work out its value and factor it into the sums when comparing the cost of deals.’

    Financial Times

    30th June 2012
  • House prices in June fell 1.5 per cent year-on-year – the worst annual decline in three years, according to Nationwide. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘While the recent lending figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders were encouraging, here we are back down to earth with a bump. The Olympics and traditional summer lull mean the next few months look set to be even more challenging.’

    The Guardian

    28th June 2012
  • House prices dipped in June, according to Nationwide. Independent buying agent Gabby Adler, says: ‘The worse-than-expected figures reveal that the housing market is still firmly in the doldrums. But it is important to remember that this is a national average and regional differences are significant.’

    Thisismoney.co.uk

    28th June 2012
  • Barclays has been fined for trying to rig Libor. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The main focus is on three-month Libor, which is a margin above where the markets think the Bank of England base rate will be in three months’ time. Libor increases when the banks are less willing to lend to each other, because they are worried about each other’s liabilities, for example.’ Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘The pricing of Libor has an impact on the rates offered by lenders on short-term variable rate mortgages, such as two-year base rate trackers.’

    Daily Telegraph

    27th June 2012
  • Lenders are making it harder for accidental landlords to let their homes out temporarily. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘There is no flexibility at all.’ Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients believes Lloyds Banking Group brands have got a lot tougher on consent-to-let recently.

    Financial Times

    23rd June 2012
  • Abbey for Intermediaries is financially incentivising brokers to put forward better quality applicants. Adrian Anderson of Anderson Harris, says it is ‘impossible’ to know who Abbey considered a quality applicant, as the lender would not reveal how its credit scoring worked. Mark Harris at SPF Private Clients, adds: ‘It incentivises the broker to send the application in full order and makes perfect sense.’

    Financial Times

    23rd June 2012
  • Banks are improving their loyalty mortgage rates – the preferential deals they offer current account holders. But Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says it is not that straightforward: ‘Most banks have quite stringent requirements – with the borrower required to hold the bank account for several months, for example – and the luxury of time is one most buyers simply don’t have.’

    Financial Times

    16th June 2012
  • Mortgage lending slumped in April, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says the latest figures are particularly gloomy: ‘Not only was there a decline in the number of first-time buyers, lending fell across the board, suggesting that a sustained recovery in the housing market is a long way off.’

    BBC Online

    14th June 2012
  • Mortgage lending fell in April after the end of the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘While this decline in lending was expected, the picture is particularly gloomy. Not only was there a decline in the number of first-time buyers, lending fell across the board, suggesting that a sustained recovery in the housing market is a long way off.’

    The Times

    14th June 2012
  • Activity in the housing market has fallen by two-fifths in the past five years, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The number of transactions has slumped as wider economic uncertainty means buyers and sellers alike adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach.’

    The Independent

    12th June 2012
  • Rising mortgage rates and fees are putting the squeeze on borrowers. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Lenders have been offering some extremely competitive mortgage rates of late. However, while margins have been slim, they have made up for lost profit by raising their arrangement fees, underlining the importance of working out the total cost of a mortgage – rate plus fees – when comparing deals.’ Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Borrowers must consider whether they are actually in a position to remortgage. It is certainly worth reviewing your situation fairly regularly if you are on a SVR – every six months or so – to see whether you might now be better off switching.’

    Sunday Telegraph

    10th June 2012
  • New entrants to the mortgage market in coming months, such as Marks & Spencer, could mean lower rates for borrowers at a time when traditional lenders are raising rates. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Lenders have steadily increased rates all year – understandable when money markets are frozen, but when the cost of funds is falling, it’s unreasonable not to pass this on to borrowers.’

    The Sunday Times

    10th June 2012
  • British expats returning to the UK are finding it difficult to get a mortgage. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Expats returning to the UK may find borrowing tricky. The lender will often require them to be back in the UK for a specified period to be able to credit score.’

    Financial Times

    2nd June 2012
  • If Greece leaves the Eurozone, it will have an impact on borrowers with Greek mortgages although Mike Boles of broker SPF Private Clients, says it won’t be as bad as people fear: ‘The deal would have to be done so the mortgages turn into drachmas as well. That’s going to be a hit for banks because the value of the debt is going to be written down,’ he says.

    The Times

    1st June 2012
  • The eurozone crisis is leading to funding pressure on mortgages. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The eurozone crisis will be more of a problem for the big players. Several high street lenders have considerable exposure to the eurozone and problems there will affect their ability to lend.’

    Financial Times

    25th May 2012
  • Santander has cut back on the lending it is prepared to do, putting pressure on other lenders. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Santander has pulled back significantly.’

    Daily Telegraph

    19th May 2012
  • HSBC is dropping its controversial requirement that homebuyers must use one of a restricted panel of solicitors for their conveyancing. Adrian Anderson of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘HSBC has been plagued with service issues and delays, partly caused by a limited conveyancing panel and also by offering some of the ‘best buy’ mortgage rates on the market. Over the past few months we have seen a significant increase in buyers coming to us in desperation because their mortgage offer is taking so long to process that they are in danger of losing their property.’

    The Guardian

    16th May 2012
  • Cautious surveyors are down valuing properties as prices fall in parts of the country. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients says you could consider challenging the verdict: ‘While challenges tend to be rare, we have seen some clients who have been successful, so it may be worth trying.’

    The Sunday Times

    13th May 2012
  • House purchases are falling through because of obstructions put in the way by lenders. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘We have seen a significant increase in buyers coming to us in desperation because their mortgage offer is taking so long to process that they are in danger of losing their property. In this climate, where there is a dearth of desirable properties on the market, this is a disastrous situation for buyers to find themselves in.’ Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘We have heard of some lenders taking more than eight weeks – and of lenders being ten days behind on opening post.’

    The Times

    11th May 2012
  • High-net-worth individuals have had their trust eroded in some of the private banks who suddenly issued margin calls during the financial crisis. Since then private banks have had to work hard on relationships with their clients. Jonathan Harris of broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘At the height of the crisis, there was a six-month period where all banks, including private banks, had little appetite to lend as they were assessing their balance sheets and potential exposure to the debt crisis. Some clients, even long-standing ones, had facilities restricted and requests for further borrowing declined.’

    Gulf News

    6th May 2012
  • Borrowers have been warned that they should opt for a fixed rate before rates rise. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Interest rates are unlikely to rise in the next couple of years, so a two-year fix doesn’t make any sense as you will be coming to the end of your deal just as rates start to rise.’

    The Sunday Times

    6th May 2012
  • With several lenders raising their mortgage rates, borrowers may be better off switching to another deal. Mark Harris of broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘With the base rate unlikely to rise over the next few years, borrowers enjoying a 2.5 per cent capped SVR should stay put and enjoy their good fortune.’

    The Times

    5th May 2012