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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05 December 2016

Should you snap up a long-term fixed rate before they disappear?

After a long period of time during which lenders continually reduced their fixed-rate mortgages, we are starting to see some of the longer-term fixes move the other way with several building societies raising their ten-year fixed rates recently.  

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23 November 2016

Stamp duty, landlords and house building: the Autumn Statement

Despite the upper echelons of the property industry pushing for a reform in stamp duty, the Chancellor of the Exchequer left well alone.

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16 November 2016

Mortgage costs at record lows

Mortgages are more affordable than ever, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). The CML said the average homeowner spent 17.7 per cent of their monthly income on their mortgage in September, compared with 23.7 per cent eight years ago when interest rates were much higher.

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26 October 2016

Mortgage approvals drop but remortgaging remains robust

House purchase approval numbers were 15 per cent lower in September while remortgaging numbers were also down on the corresponding figures for 2015, according to the British Banker’s Association.

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20 October 2016

What's going on with the development finance market?

For the largest public and private property companies with a strong balance sheet, access to development finance since the EU referendum continues to be readily available. Corporate banking facilities, bond issues and private placements are all available to large corporates to facilitate funding options.

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07 October 2016

What next for buy-to-let?

The buy-to-let sector has been hit by a string of punitive measures over recent months, designed to level the playing field between investors and first-time buyers, which are inevitably having a negative impact on the market.

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23 September 2016

Market enjoys post-Brexit bounce

The outcome of the EU referendum sent shockwaves through the market but these seem to have been short-lived. The Council of Mortgage Lenders reveals a bounce in lending in August - up 15 per cent year-on-year and the highest level of lending done in August since 2007.

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13 September 2016

Mortgage rates fall to new lows

The average mortgage rate fell by 8 basis points in the second quarter of this year to 2.56 per cent, according to the Financial Conduct Authority. Both fixed rate and variable-rate pricing fell as lenders offered increasingly attractive deals to borrowers.

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24 August 2016

Should you fix your mortgage rate for seven years?

In these uncertain times, some lenders are banking on borrowers looking for security by launching a range of seven-year fixed-rate mortgages. The seven-year fix bridges the gap between five and 10-year fixes, which are more commonly available.

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05 August 2016

Bank of England cuts base rate

As was widely expected by the markets, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has cut the base rate to 0.25 per cent in an effort to stimulate the stalling economy.

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22 July 2016

Mortgage lending at highest level in eight years

Gross mortgage lending reached £20.7 billion in June, the highest June figure in eight years, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). However, despite the strong numbers, the CML warned that the EU referendum result is likely to affect the housing market in coming months.

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07 July 2016

Mortgage rates continue to plummet

Ten-year fixes are in the spotlight this week with HSBC launching a ten-year deal pegged at 2.79 per cent but there are plenty of other attractive deals on offer. Subsequently, it is a great time to opt for a fixed-rate mortgage.

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24 June 2016

What the Leave vote means for mortgages and the housing market

In the short term, not a great deal will change. Mortgage availability is good, banks still want to lend and interest rates are at an all-time low. Swaps are falling on the back of the outcome and it's likely to have put back any interest rate rise further still.

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21 June 2016

HSBC launches cheapest ever fixed rate

For the first time, borrowers are being offered a two-year fixed-rate mortgage pegged at less than 1 per cent. HSBC is behind the deal, fixed at 0.99 per cent, which is available via a handful of brokers including SPF Private Clients.

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15 June 2016

Average mortgage rates fall to record lows

Mortgage rates grow ever cheaper, according to the Bank of England, as lenders cut rates to attract business. The average mortgage rate fell by 6 basis points to 2.63 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, the lowest rate ever recorded.

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25 May 2016

Government proposes seven-day mortgage switching

The government is considering plans to allow homeowners to switch their mortgage within a week as part of wider plans on switching announced in the Queen’s Speech.

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16 May 2016

Relief for older borrowers as lenders raise mortgage age limits

Since the Mortgage Market Review was introduced in April 2014, some people have struggled to remortgage, including older borrowers, many of whom have been trapped with their existing lender.

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29 April 2016

Lenders tighten buy-to-let criteria

The Mortgage Works (TMW), the buy-to-let subsidiary of Nationwide Building Society, is tightening its rental criteria and reducing its maximum loan-to-value (LTV) in response to future tax relief changes which are due to be phased in from April 2017.

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25 April 2016

Stamp duty deadline behind lending surge

Entirely predictably, March was a stonking month for the mortgage market as investors rushed to complete before the stamp duty hike was introduced in April. Gross mortgage lending reached £25.7 billion in the month, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, 43 per cent higher than February (£18n) and 59 per cent higher than March 2015 (£16.2bn).

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31 March 2016

Bank of England proposes further clampdown on buy-to-let

The Bank of England has announced tougher criteria for buy-to-let landlords in a consultation paper released this week. While the Bank avoided imposing a maximum loan-to-value on buy-to-let loans, it proposes that all applicants will be required to pass an affordability test based on a rise in interest rates to 5.5 per cent. Lenders must also take into account all the costs to a new landlord of owning a property as well as personal tax liabilities and existing expenses.

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16 March 2016

Budget 2016: What the Chancellor had in store for property

It may have been the sugar tax that made the headlines following the Budget but there were also one or two announcements that impact the property sector.

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04 March 2016

Why now is a great time to remortgage

Homeowners looking to remortgage in coming months are in for a treat with several new lenders entering the market, keen to compete with the more-established players to find their own niche. However, traditional lenders are not taking this lying down, with many formulating ambitious plans to increase market share.

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12 February 2016

Buying at auction - why it’s vital to get your finance lined up beforehand

Investors keen to secure a quick property purchase, perhaps in order to complete before 1 April and avoid paying higher stamp duty, may see buying at auction as the answer.

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02 February 2016

Help to Buy London launches

This week has seen the much anticipated launch of London Help to Buy. With property prices in the capital continuing to rise, this scheme is being viewed by some as the saviour of the London first-time buyer.

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27 January 2016

Mortgage lending continues to rise as borrowers take advantage of cheap rates

Gross mortgage lending totalled £138 billion last year, an increase of six per cent compared with the previous 12 months, according to the British Bankers’ Association.

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22 January 2016

Now is not yet the time to raise interest rates

The Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, announced this week that ‘now is not yet the time to raise interest rates’ because of the weakening outlook for the economy. 

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15 January 2016

Lending up 27 per cent year-on-year

Lending in November was 27 per cent higher than a year ago at £20.5bn, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This was the highest lending level in the month of November since 2007, although represented a 6 per cent drop compared with October.

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06 January 2016

New Year new mortgage?

The start of a new year is as good a time as any to take a look at your finances and consider whether you could be paying less for big-ticket items, such as your mortgage.

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17 December 2015

Homeowner and landlord activity continues autumn rise

October saw the mortgage market gathering some real momentum, with increases in lending for first-time buyers, home movers, those remortgaging and landlords, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. After a slow start fuelled by general election uncertainty, it is proving to be a back-loaded year, with November and December continuing to be busy.

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02 December 2015

Barclays to increase rental cover ratio

Barclays has increased its rental cover ratio from 125 to 135 per cent in response to cuts in tax relief announced in the Summer Budget, and it’s likely to be the first of many buy-to-let lenders to do so. We are getting to the stage where buy-to-let is going to become a 50 per cent loan-to-value (LTV) product in the south-east and London at least, taking the buy-to-let investor into the same space as a seasoned landlord.

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