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John Charcol regularly contributes to all forms of media and our lead spokesperson, Ray Boulger, is widely regarded as the guru of the mortgage market. Ray is a regular on BBC Television, BBC Radio, ITV and Sky News. As well as broadcast media, he is a regular in the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and other leading newspapers.
Here is a selection of the latest developments at John Charcol.
Increasing numbers of homeowners are choosing to release cash from their properties to carry out improvements rather than move house. But the number of borrowers taking loans to move home remained flat year-on-year. JC's Ray Boulger said: 'Stamp duty rates have increased to such a level the tax is depressing the numbers who want to move to a bigger home.'
People struggling to get a foot on the property ladder are being targeted in a low-deposit mortgage boom. JC's Ray Boulger said: 'The higher your loan compared to the value of your property, the more risk there is of negative equity. I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone buying a property unless they are planning to stay there for at least three years.'
New measures to help some of Britain’s 140,000 mortgage prisoners access cheaper deals have received a cautious welcome from the industry, but many questions remain over how effective the reforms will prove to be. JC's Ray Boulger says the FCA’s consultation could have gone further in trying to help mortgage prisoners who are trying to move home, as well as those looking to remortgage and stay in their existing property.
Fintech lending platform Freedom Finance has launched a revamped platform to increase speed and efficiency for borrowers and lenders. JC's Nick Morrey said the issue was these systems could stray into giving advice.
Mr Money Saving Expert himself, Martin Lewis , hit TV screens last night to issue his advice on how money could be saved around the whole Brexit fiasco. JC's Ray Boulger appeared on the show saying he'd go for a five-year fixed mortgage, providing he wasn't planning on moving in those five years.
Precise Mortgages is expanding its Help to Buy mortgage range into Scotland and will include remortgage options for the first time. JC's Nicholas Morrey said Precise's move to serve Scotland was great news as Scotland was an area under served by lenders.
The sale announced by the Chancellor Philip Hammond today comes exactly a week after the Financial Conduct Authority revealed plans to relax affordability rules in order to help those unable to switch away from the expensive mortgage deals they took out before the financial crisis. JC's Ray Boulger argues the government should have been more upfront about the difficulties of balancing taxpayer interests with finding the best possible outcome for mortgage prisoners.
Virgin Money's decision to consider mortgage applications from people with county court judgments (CCJs) demonstrates that mainstream lenders are prepared to be flexible when it comes to clients with a bad credit history. The rise in CCJs, and the relative ease with which they are issued today, is one reason why Virgin Money’s announcement was welcomed by JC's Nicholas Morrey.
Recent research by mortgage broker, John Charcol, found that self-employed women take less maternity leave than their employed counterparts – taking an average of just 23 weeks leave, instead of the full 39-week period – because they can’t afford the time off.
The FCA and brokers have highlighted the ongoing problem of some estate agents making borrowers feel like they need to use the agent’s in-house mortgage broker. JC's Ray Boulger said there’s been stories for years about buyers been cajoled by estate agents or developers into using a particular broker or solicitor and he believes transparency is the way forward.
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