Property & Mortgage Outlook – March 2021

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Despite the pandemic, with the government’s official guidance allowing the property market to continue to flourish, it is business as usual for those looking to purchase property or remortgage.

If speculation surrounding a three month extension of the stamp duty holiday proves correct, it could be an interesting few weeks ahead for the property market as pent up demand continues to drive activity.

Best Buys* (as of 1st March 2021)

Initial Rate Description Subsequent Rate Overall Cost Comparison (APR) Early Repayment Charge Maximum Loan Fee
1.09% 2 Year Fix 3.35% 2.90% 3% Years 1 and 2  £1.5m  £ 1,499
1.29% 2 Year Flexible Tracker 3.59% 3.20% None  £1m  £ 1,499
1.30% 2 Year Fix Offset 3.59% 3.80% 2% Year 1; 1% Year 2  £2m  £ 999
1.19% 5 Year Fix 3.54% 2.60% 5% Year 1; reducing to 1% Year 5  £1m  £ 1,499

5.5 X Income Available For Professionals

Mortgage availability has become much better recently, as lenders chase market share in an extremely competitive environment. A great example of this is a new product available with enhanced income multipliers, (up to 5.5 x) for newly qualified professionals. The maximum loan to value is 85% and the lender offers fixed rates over two and five years. Surprisingly, the product also comes without a fee and offers a free valuation.

Interest Rate Trends

Before selecting a mortgage product it is worthwhile looking at likely interest rate trends: at their February meeting, the Bank of England held rates at 0.10% and left its stimulus programme unchanged. The UK’s rapid Covid-19 vaccination programme will help the economy rebound strongly this year, according to the Bank of England.

Growth is expected to shrink 4.2% during the first quarter, amid tighter lockdown restrictions. However, policymakers expect a rebound in the spring as people become more confident about spending. Base rate is not likely to rise for at least three years although negative rates remain a possibility if growth falters. It is worth remembering it took over ten years for base rate to rise following the credit crunch.

It is difficult to be definitive when recommending which products offer best value. Both short and long term fixed arrangements are priced competitively as we appear to have reached the bottom of the current interest rate cycle. It is unlikely that lenders will pass on any further cuts in base rate as they struggle to maintain margin. Standout products are base rate trackers, preferably without redemption penalties, offering unparalleled current value and maximum future flexibility. As always, those with surplus capital should consider the tax advantages of an offset arrangement.

Negative Interest Rates

The Bank of England has been reviewing and preparing for negative interest rates for some time. At their February meeting they announced that they would give mortgage lenders six months’ notice of negative rates, meaning base rate is likely to remain unchanged until at least September 2021. Similarly, market expectations are for rates to go negative in 2022 with a reduction to minus 0.25% for a period of twelve months, followed by an increase to zero (subject to developments and recovery from Covid).

As with all aspects of current life, prospects very much hinge on Covid and how the nation recovers but the overwhelming message is that rates will not increase for many years to come and in fact are likely to decrease in 2022.

IHT Planning & Asset Backed Lending

Following the detrimental tax changes in the rental sector, many higher rate taxpayers are now purchasing investment properties in a limited company. Not only can this offer more favourable tax treatment, but property assets can also be passed down a generation mitigating inheritance tax. In addition, raising capital using a mortgage may offer a way of passing down your wealth and limiting your future IHT liability. A little known method of doing so is asset backed lending – raising a mortgage based on your assets or investment portfolio, rather than your income.

Whether you are coming to the end of your mortgage product or keen to compare your current rate to the best available elsewhere, please contact your adviser who can put you in touch with our mortgage partners.

* Lending criteria restrictions apply to all products, always seek independent advice.

Articles on this website are offered only for general information and educational purposes. They are not offered as, and do not constitute, financial advice. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking advice from a professional.

Past performance is not a guide to future performance and may not be repeated. Capital is at risk; investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the amounts originally invested.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up with payments on your mortgage.

You are now departing from the regulatory site of Finura. Finura is not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained within the linked site.

Source: Professional Mortgage Services.

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