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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.
Lenders are more aggressive in retaining customers, offering product transfer deals much earlier and developing in-house technology to make it easier for customers to stay. JC's Nick Morrey is one of this week's Marketwatch panel explaining how brokers are going to protect their client base.
For a limited time Aldermore is offering free standard valuations on its high loan-to-value (LTV) purchase-only products, with no product fees. JC's Ray Boulger said: "No arrangement fee and a free valuation are always welcome and their benefits need to be factored in by brokers when assessing the competitiveness of particular deals."
An inheritance can be life-changing for those wanting to get on the property ladder or pay off a chunk of their mortgage. But be aware of your lender’s overpayment limits or you could incur an early redemption charge (ERC), says JC's Ray Boulger.
Shawbrook is implementing a ‘loan exposure ceiling’ to repeat borrowers, which is reviewed over time, though the appetite demonstrated is an indication rather than a commitment. JC's Ray Boulger said: “This is broadly quite positive."
Lenders who offer services such as flexibility to overpay, payment holidays or offset facilities are likely to be broker favourites, John Charcol has said. In the video, in association with NatWest, the broker firm noted that these and other flexibilities were becoming more important as customers increasingly take-on longer fixed rate deals.
Brokers are finding it difficult to get compliance departments on-board with recommending borrowers to pay for conveyancing despite poor free legal services. JC's Nick Morrey noted that it was a difficult situation for brokers as they were unable to put any pressure on conveyancers when things went wrong on free legals.
NatWest has revealed it has been considering raising the maximum lending age for its products but it wants to see how changes to pension and lifestyles affect customer behaviour before doing so. Also speaking in the debate, JC's Nick Morrey questioned whether brokers had the right support and knowledge to be advising on the whole range of later life products.
Experts have called for the Government to overhaul the Maternity Allowance for self-employed mums after a report found it's unfairly forcing them to return to work before they're ready. Mortgage broker John Charcol found that the average self-employed mother takes just 23 weeks off work as maternity leave, instead of the full 39 week period.
During the Noughties, landlords ploughed into property in the hope they could sit back, collect rent and watch house prices soar. But today, a deluge of taxes and an uncertain market has seen tens of thousands abandon the buy-to-let industry. Calculations by mortgage broker firm John Charcol suggest that the new rules mean an average landlord could be offered around £50,000 less per property.
Homeowners are facing a rise in mortgage costs even without an increase in the official interest rate after the Bank of England pulled the plug on a scheme that has pumped tens of billions of pounds into banks to help fuel lending. JC's Ray Boulger said the Term Funding Scheme has been keeping mortgage rates low. 'If you go back pre-credit crunch, the bank rate was the only significant weapon the Bank had,' he said. 'Now they have got a lot of other options.'
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