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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.
This week HMRC launched its most high-profile crackdown yet on the sector, raiding 50 estate agencies suspected of failing to register under anti-money laundering rules and revealing fines to others. “One of the reasons for the weakness of the top-end London market is the crackdown on money laundering,” said JC's Ray Boulger. “As a result the demand for higher-priced property in London will be permanently reduced.”
We asked some key voices what they do expect from the statement in terms of housing and what they would like to see addressed. JC's Ray Boulger says: “With all the voting happening in parliament this week I do not see the spring statement being prioritised in comparison to the Brexit vote… however, an area the government may touch on is mortgage prisoners.”
An analysis of the mortgage market in the UK, conducted by Nicholas Morrey of mortgage advisor John Charcol for The Sun, showed that some lenders are actually offering significantly cheaper deals to existing customers.
With what are often known as “family-offset mortgages”, parents or grandparents can put savings into an account linked to the child’s mortgage. "You should be aware that the market for these products is quite small as they’re not especially popular," says JC's Nick Morrey.
Hanley Economic Building Society has expanded its shared ownership mortgage range with a no-fee 2.99 per cent two-year fixed deal. JC's Nicholas Morrey said Hanley's 2.99 per cent rate was highly competitive.
Older homeowners still face restricted choice and high prices from retirement interest-only (RIO) mortgages, despite the market approaching its one-year anniversary. JC's Nick Morrey said the RIO market will keep growing and rates will get cheaper as larger firms come in.
Accord Mortgages has cut the rates on its high loan-to-value mortgages by up to 0.2 percentage points. JC's Ray Boulger said Accord's cuts were further evidence of competition driving down rates in the high LTV sector.
Amazon’s home assistant cannot deliver a home loan, but some experts suggest there may come a day when it will compete with brokers or lenders. “We should not leave computers completely unattended to make decisions,” warns JC's Nick Morrey.
The number of first-time buyers (FTBs) in 2018 reached its highest level since before the global financial crisis, UK Finance’s latest Mortgage Trends update has shown. JC's Ray Boulger said: "These figures confirm that virtually all the growth in mortgage lending in 2018 came from remortgaging and FTBs, with the lion’s share from remortgaging."
JC's Ray Boulger has called for The Prudential Regulation Authority to reassess stress testing whenever the base rate rises. He argued that not every rise in the bank rate indicates an upward trend and vice versa.
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