Date Published 26 January 2012
Lesters have reported a strong start to 2012 in terms of enquiries, which they believe is at least partly due to the fact that homeowners are enjoying the cheapest mortgages on record, thanks to historically low interest rates. The public, it seems, are realising that this current mortgage opportunity is just too good to let pass.
For potential buyers, this represents a valuable window of opportunity to secure highly favourable mortgage deals which may look very cheap in the years ahead. A number of lenders actually cut their interest rates in 2011 as they battled for share in an increasingly competitive market, but this will not last forever. Now might just be the best time to take a small risk and for home seekers to get on with their life – which is surely the biggest reward of all.
The average mortgage payment is currently £494 per month, which compares to £601 at the height of the credit crunch some 4 years ago. In terms of affordability, the current figure represents 15.4% of average take home pay compared to 20.5% in 2008.
The number of first time buyers also increased markedly last year compared to 2010 as banks relaxed some of their lending restrictions; there were 57,301 loans of 85% or more, up from 43,379 in the previous 12 months.
It is expected that interest rates will remain at 0.5% (now 34 consecutive months) for some time to come, as the Government attempts to help support the economy via quantitative easing and other financial instruments.
Karen Marshall, from Lesters comments; 'Mortgage rationing, a significant minimum deposit, and a good personal credit history remain key to securing the best deals. But for those that can pass these hurdles, the offers are extremely attractive by any financial measure.
If you wait for the perfect house, at the ideal price, with the lowest possible financing costs and when the economic outlook is favourable – then you may just never make the move. The children grow up, personal circumstances and requirements change, and your home is integral to this journey.'