We’ve seen a large increase in enquiries for customers looking at Shared Ownership schemes. Shared Ownership schemes are provided in conjunction with housing associations. You buy a share of your home, between 25% and 75% of the property value, and pay rent on the remaining share to the housing association. You usually have the opportunity to purchase a bigger share of the property later on (known as ‘staircasing’). Local housing associations must confirm your eligibility in order to join these types of schemes. There are many schemes available and a good supply of properties, so do review all the options available. By buying a smaller share, it does give an opportunity to obtain a property for many who may struggle otherwise with normal lending criteria.
Delays are still wide spread across the market. An existing customer phoned their lenders mortgage sales team and was advised that they could not have a discussion about a new mortgage for over two weeks! Another customer requested a homebuyers valuation on their property (more investigative than a standard mortgage valuation) and although the surveyor could carry out the normal mortgage valuation within days, the enhanced homebuyers report could not be carried out for a month!! You need to be aware of these delays as many property sales are sold subject to contract and this normally carries a 28 day exchange period.
Finally, we have seen some surprising product interest rate decreases over the last few days. SWAP rates (the mechanism through which lenders can acquire a fixed price for funding over a specific period of time) have reduced over the last week or so, and as such some lenders have passed on the reduction through their interest rate offerings. This is great going in to the holiday period and should encourage anyone considering reviewing mortgage options in the not too distant future, to maybe consider it sooner as these may not remain low for too long. Always seek advice!