Never a dull week in the mortgage market! I was at a presentation from a major lender late last week and who predicted Bank Base Rate won’t move for a good couple of years, but also advised us to ignore their predictions as they have been far from right over the last 3 to 4 years! Helpful! We also then saw reports suggesting that the Lloyds Banking Group wanted to reduce their share of the mortgage market from 28% to 25%. This is a huge reduction. We also saw RBS publicise a reduction in their share of gross mortgage lending from 14% in Qtr 1 2011 to 11% in Qtr 1 2012. More signs that although the market is very busy, it is in certain areas, and not necessarily via household names.
In other news, the Co-Operative Bank decided to withdraw its Interest Only offering entirely from all residential offerings and sadly, after five years of trying, Portillion has decided to call it a day and abandon its lending ambitions. The latter showing it really is so difficult to launch a new lender in current climates.
Many people ask me “should we fix our mortgage rate now?” This is a difficult question to answer and one I always answer with a question – are you a gambler? At some point, Bank Base Rate will increase; I think we are all aware of that and it is just a question of when? Five year fixed rates are proving popular and competitive in the current climates. However, if you decided to take an attractively low tracker now with a view to fixing at a later date, be wary that when the BBR does increase, you can almost guarantee that fixed rates will have already been substantially increased!
Finally, outside AToM we have a box offering ‘Property Today’ papers. This is a good gauge to the local market and how interested people are in properties each week. Over the last two weeks, we’ve run out of papers over the weekend (normally they last until Thursday!). Possible signs of a buoyant local market, or just a lot of people keeping an eye on things? Who knows…