Friday, 29 August 2014

Due to the heavy increase in mortgage activity this year, we have seen many lenders competing to offer the most attractive mortgage rates along with added incentives.  Leeds Building Society as an example, did shakeup of their buy-to-let products and offered free valuation and free legal advice. Halifax are offering cash back to first time buyers with a Halifax current account.

This week we also saw builders using incentives to attract a large proportion of the busy property market. As reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Ben Bailey Homes launched an exclusive ‘Express Move’ incentive. “The scheme has been designed to help buyers find their perfect home at the development and move in quickly. Those who reserve a property this summer can benefit from a whole host of added extras, with stamp duty paid, legal fees and mortgage valuation fees covered and a themed landscaped garden worth £5,000 included in the price”.

The incentives offered don’t just stop at free legal advice and fancy gardens, one Russian bank took the incentives to a whole new level and has begun offering cats to clients who obtained a mortgage through them! (

As always it is important to look passed the initial incentives that lenders offer no matter how great they may seem. It is very important to look at the whole picture. Although getting cashback and free cats sounds great, these products aren’t always the best option to take. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

This week we heard that Lloyds Banking Group cut the amount it is prepared to lend by 70 per cent from £500,000 to £150,000. This appears to be a tough decision on first-time buyers, who make up around 85 per cent of Help to Buy sales, especially in areas where house prices continue to soar making it even harder for first time buyers.

We also heard that the Scottish Government's Help to Buy scheme has run out of money for this financial year - only three months after a new round started.

However given this, the Help to Buy equity loan scheme seems to be more popular than ever, with a 91 per cent rise in completions during June, taking the total number of home purchases supported to 27,167 since the scheme’s inception in March 2013. In June there were 4,357 completions, up from May’s 2,274 completions. In total over the second quarter there were 7,772 completions, up from 6,524 in the previous three months. Virgin also removed its £30,000 minimum income cap on Help to Buy equity products. (Source: FT Adviser)

Although there is some mixed news at the moment regarding the Help to Buy scheme and we have seen a decline in the number of enquiries, we don’t expect this to be the continuing trend. The Help to Buy scheme is still an excellent incentive in our opinion and one in which people should take advantage of whilst it is still around!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

This week we have seen a number of mortgage lenders refresh their buy-to-let products including Leeds Building Society, Coventry Building Society and Virgin.

This is due to the rise in demand for buy-to-let mortgages recently. According to the Council for Mortgage Lenders the proportion of the mortgage market taken up by buy-to-let deals rose to 13.4% in the first quarter this year compared to 12.9% in the first quarter of 2012 and 13% in the final quarter of 2013. (

Here at RA Mortgages we have seen the number of requests for advice on buy-to-let mortgages rise with a large number of people looking to remortgage existing loans to find a better rate and also to secure a fixed deal to protect them from any rate increases. Research done by Mortgages for Business shows that the number of five-year fixed buy to let mortgages has doubled since 2012. 

It is an excellent time for new and existing buy-to-let investors to look at securing a mortgage. As well as the already mentioned refreshed mortgage products from numerous lenders, rents in the UK are increasing as well. The HomeLet Rental Index shows that the average UK private home rent rose by 6.3% over the year to June 2014. The average rent in the UK now stands at £862 a month, compared to £811 a year ago.

One thing that we stress is that before diving into anything make sure that you have taken the time to consider the best possible options for you and consult a mortgage professional on the most suitable investment strategy for yourself.