Market comment

Mark Harris

Mark Harris
Chief Executive

SPF is regularly asked to comment on all aspects of the mortgage and property market. We are highly quoted in the national, regional and trade press by journalists seeking our opinion on all manner of subjects. If you require any commentary, case studies or 'best buy' mortgage rates, please contact Melanie Bien at Bien Media on 07875 175357 or email

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11 April 2014

Slight dip in lending in February but annual growth strong, says CML

Lending to first-time buyers, home movers, remortgagors and landlords dipped slightly in February but rose compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

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04 April 2014

Mortgage demand is on the up, as banks get ready to do more lending

With demand for mortgages increasing significantly, lenders are preparing to make more products available to borrowers in the second quarter of this year, according to the Bank of England’s credit conditions survey.

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28 March 2014

Bank of England concerns over borrowers overextending themselves

The Bank of England is concerned that too many borrowers are being offered dangerously large mortgages, according to a report in The Times.

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19 March 2014

SPF Private Clients comments on the Budget

Many of the housing measures in the Budget were leaked beforehand with the extension of the first phase of Help to Buy and the creation of 15,000 homes at Ebbsfleet. There could have been more specifically targeted at first-time buyers but Help to Buy is a big deal and is making such a difference to those struggling to get on the ladder that they can't claim to have been ignored.

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14 March 2014

Loans to first-time buyers up by 38 per cent

The number of first-time buyers increased substantially in January compared with a year ago, with a 38 per cent uplift in number of loans, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

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07 March 2014

New lending rules mean mortgages will be tougher to come by and advice essential

New mortgage rules – known as the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) - will be introduced on 26 April, with reports in the press suggesting that it will be impossible for some borrowers to get funding.

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26 February 2014

Loan options for self-employed improving but advice still essential

The number of people joining the ranks of the self-employed continues to rise yet this group remains one of the casualties of the credit crunch. Getting a mortgage has been difficult over the past few years if you are self-employed, as lenders have abolished self-certification mortgages. Those who aren’t PAYE have sometimes found it difficult to prove their income to the lender’s satisfaction.

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14 February 2014

Interest rates on hold - for now

The Governor of the Bank of England has been forced to overhaul his forward guidance policy on interest rates after unemployment fell far quicker than forecast. Mark Carney said that rather than just focusing on unemployment a range of indicators would be taken into account when deciding when to raise interest rates.

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06 February 2014

Buy-to-let continues to thrive as mortgage rates fall

Buy-to-let mortgage rates have fallen to their lowest level as demand for rental property continues to soar. With rates starting from just 2.49 per cent for a two-year fix, conditions have rarely been better for landlords.

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24 January 2014

Interest rates not rising anytime soon hints Carney

The Governor of the Bank of England today hinted that interest rates could stay low for years. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mark Carney said any increase in rates will be gradual, with rates unlikely to return to the four to five per cent seen before the economic crisis anytime soon.

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17 January 2014

Rise in number of first-time buyers as housing market goes from strength to strength

Loans to first-time buyers have jumped by almost a quarter in a year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. First-time buyers took out 27,000 loans in November 2013, 24 per cent higher than the previous November.

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07 January 2014

New year, new mortgage?

2014 has got off to a busy start with many buyers regarding it as the year when they can finally get on the housing ladder or move up it.

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17 December 2013

London house prices surge by 12 per cent in past year, says ONS

House prices continue to soar in London, with an incredible 12 per cent rise in the 12 months to October, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This surge in prices in the capital helped lift overall national growth to 5.5 per cent - or 3.1 per cent once London and the southeast are stripped out. This demonstrates the limitations of a national average price as it can mask significant regional differences.

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05 December 2013

Autumn Statement 2013

Mark Harris gives his reaction to today's Autumn Statement.

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28 November 2013

Buying at auction

Buying at auction is becoming more popular, with finance options aplenty.

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21 November 2013

Inexorable rise in mortgage lending but Bank still dovish on interest rates

Despite the volume of mortgage lending increasing in October, the Bank of England has suggested that interest rates will remain at their record low for longer, quelling borrowers’ fears of an early rate rise.

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13 November 2013

Will interest rates rise sooner rather than later?

Better-than-expected unemployment and growth figures have forced the Bank of England into an early review of its forecasts. But with some predicting that interest rates may now rise next year, rather than 2016 as set out in the Governor’s forward guidance, there is a danger that borrowers will be panicking.

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07 November 2013

House prices continue to rise although affordability is not yet an issue

House prices rose by 6.9 per cent in the 12 months ending October, according to the Halifax, rising at their fastest rate in more than three years.

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29 October 2013

Just because mortgages are cheap, does that mean you should take one?

Consumer confidence continues to improve, with demand for housing strengthening, according to the latest figures from the British Bankers' Association (BBA) for September.

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16 October 2013

Mortgage lending continues to be buoyant

Lending increased significantly in the third quarter of 2013, according to the Bank of England, a trend expected to continue for the rest of the year. Borrowers have been encouraged by cheaper mortgage rates, which have fallen on the back of Funding for Lending.

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03 October 2013

Help to Buy 2 launches early

Over the weekend, the Prime Minister announced that the Government is bringing forward the launch of the second stage of Help to Buy to 7th October. The mortgage guarantee element of the scheme was originally due to launch in January.

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27 September 2013

Landlords must be vigilant as another lender hikes rates

The West Bromwich Building Society is raising tracker rates for professional buy-to-let landlords by two percentage points from 1st December. With up to 6,700 tracker customers about to see their monthly costs rise sharply, it is hard to justify such a move, particularly when interest rates have been static at 0.5 per cent for more than four years.

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12 September 2013

First-time buyers remain measured in their approach

The latest residential lending data for July 2013 from the Council of Mortgage Lenders shows that growth continued to be buoyed by home-owner house purchase lending, in particular by growth in the number of first-time buyers.

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02 September 2013

More lending on the horizon

Lending from banks taking part in the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) has picked up in the second quarter, according to the Bank of England.

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21 August 2013

Mortgage lending soars to five-year high

The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that total gross mortgage lending in July increased to £16.6bn, a rise of 12 per cent from £14.8bn in June and 29 per cent higher than the total of £12.9bn in July last year. This is the highest monthly estimate for gross lending since October 2008 (£18.6bn).

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13 August 2013

House prices rising at fastest rate since 2006 peak

Two new surveys published today illustrate the continued upward trend for house prices. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said prices were rising at their fastest since their peak seven years ago, fuelled by a surge of interest from homebuyers.

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06 August 2013

House prices rising at fastest pace in three years

Figures from the Halifax published today reveal that house prices in July rose at their fastest pace since August 2010. Prices rose 4.6 per cent in July, 0.9 per cent higher than in June, marking the sixth consecutive month-on-month increase in house prices.

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31 July 2013

Is now the time to remortgage?

The number of people remortgaging is finally on the rise, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. After many months with little uptick in the numbers remortgaging, official statistics are starting to show an increase in homeowners taking the plunge.

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15 July 2013

The return of the first-time buyer

The number of mortgages issued to first-time buyers in May rose to the highest level in five and a half years, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Some 25,000 loans were advanced to first-time buyers, in marked contrast to the low point of just 8,500 mortgages in January 2009 and the highest number since November 2007.

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01 July 2013

Mortgage approvals reach three-and-a-half-year high

The number of mortgages approved for house purchases rose to its highest level in three-and-a-half years in May, according to the latest figures from the Bank of England.

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