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Value of new mortgage commitments reach highest level since 2007

The value of new mortgage commitments was up 24.2% annually to reach £87.7bn, and is at the highest level since 2007 according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The quarterly mortgage lending statistics data also shows that the outstanding value of all residential mortgage loans was £1,541.4bn at the end of Q4 2020, 2.9% higher than a year earlier.

The value of gross mortgage advances in Q4 2020 was £76.6bn, 4.2% higher than in Q4 2019.

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Since the beginning of 2007, am estimated 340 regulated mortgage lenders and administrators have been required to submit a Mortgage Lending and Administration Return (MLAR) each quarter, providing data on their mortgage lending activities.

The FCA and the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) both have responsibility for the regulation of mortgage lenders and administrators so this data publication is joint.

Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society, said: “The highest volume of mortgage commitments since 2007 has been fuelled by the stamp duty holiday.

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“It not only means that brokers will have a very healthy pipeline of business throughout the start of this year but also there is plenty of momentum in the market.

“The stamp duty holiday extension until the end of June should help to maintain high volumes but brokers need to be mindful of the time it takes for offers to complete. New buyers or movers need to have contingency plans in case they miss the June deadline and are faced with a tax bill.

“The huge numbers in Q4 have been fuelled mainly by movers and first time buyers but there is still a large market out there for remortgage business.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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New mortgage guarantee scheme set to be announced in Budget

A mortgage guarantee scheme to help prospective homeowners with smaller deposits onto the property ladder is set to be announced in the Budget on Wednesday 3 March.

The government will offer incentives to lenders in order to bring back 95% LTV mortgages which were removed from the market as a result of the pandemic.

According to The BBC, the scheme will involve the government offering to take on some of the risk that comes with low-deposit mortgages in order to bring them back onto the market.

The new scheme will reportedly not be limited to first-time buyers but there will be a maximum property limit of £600,000, and will be offered from April.

No end date for the scheme as been confirmed.

The scheme is based on the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme which ran until December 2016.

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, reacted to the news: “Turning ‘Generation Rent’ into ‘Generation Buy’ has been a focus for Boris Johnson for a while so the return of 95% LTV mortgages for first-time buyers doesn’t come as a complete surprise.

“This, coupled with the extension of the stamp duty holiday, will result in a Budget which is a real boost for buyers.

“It is positive news for first-time buyers, particularly as it is not restricted to new homes, although critics may argue that it will only aid house price inflation.

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“But without such a scheme would developers be so keen to put spades in the ground?

“The supply of new housing is nowhere near where it needs to be to satisfy demand.

“For those with little in the way of deposit, finding a 95% LTV mortgage has been pretty much impossible in recent months.

“The odd building society here and there has offered them, with Saffron building society launching at 95% LTV in June but it only lasted a matter of days.

“Furness BS also has a selection of 95% products but these are restricted to certain postcodes.

’The only other current option to obtain a mortgage at this level is to call upon a third party, typically a parent, to provide extra security in the way of deposits or equity within the ‘guarantor’ property.

“Not everyone is in a fortunate position to do so.

“The last time there was a mortgage guarantee treasury scheme was via Help to Buy.

“The mortgage guarantee offering closed to new loans on 31 December 2016 (the equity loan continues, albeit in a revised form today) but by then, many of the high-street names had removed themselves from the scheme and ‘self-insuring’ their 95% offerings.”

Rightmove put together the latest figures on asking prices and how many properties could be eligible under the scheme.

Their data found that 86% of properties up for sale have an asking price of £600,000 or less, with the national average asking price for all properties standing at £318,580, a 3.0% increase from February 2020.

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The national average asking price of a first-time buyer property is £200,692, which is 3.6% higher than February 2020.

Since the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme was first launched in 2013, national asking prices have increased by 29% from £246,748 in October 2013 to £318,580 in February 2021.

Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at Propertymark, added: “A government backed mortgage guarantee scheme will help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder at a time when for many owning a home seems an impossible dream.

“Alongside the potential extension of the stamp duty holiday that we have been calling for, this new scheme will go some way in giving some hope to first-time buyers at a time when the size of deposits required means they fall at the first hurdle.”

By Jessica Nangle

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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NatWest to reintroduce 90% LTV mortgages

NatWest is reintroducing a range of 90% LTV residential purchase mortgages to enable customers with smaller deposits to own their own home.

From 16 December, the bank will be reintroducing 90% LTV products for its NatWest and Royal Bank brands.

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The bank will be one of the first lenders to offer this for both first-time buyers and existing homeowners.

There are four new products, across the purchase range which will benefit customers looking to take a 2 or 5-year purchase deal with an LTV of 90%.

Gary Sutherland, head of mortgages and protection at NatWest, said:“We are committed to helping people through the home buying journey, whether that’s customers’ moving house or taking their first step on to the property ladder.

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“For first-time buyers, raising a deposit is still the biggest challenge.

“By reintroducing our 90% offering, we are pleased to be able to expand our support for the market to include both home movers and first-time buyers, making it easier to take their first step onto the housing ladder.”

This follows the announcement of NatWest’s first ever green mortgage, which offers a discounted interest rate to customers purchasing a property with an energy efficiency rating of A or B.

By Jessica Nangle

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Number of residential transactions up by 8.1%

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in October 2020 was 105,630, 8.1% higher than October 2019, according to data from the HMRC.

On a monthly basis, the number of UK residential transactions saw a 9.8% uplift.

Looking to non-residential transactions in October 2020, this figure stood at 9,140, which was 5.1% higher year-on-year, and up 6.2% on September 2020.

In addition, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, there were 121,740 residential transactions in October 2020 which is a year-on-year increase of 13.7% and 23.7% higher than in September 2020.

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There were 9,840 non-residential transactions in October 2020, non-seasonally adjusted, which was down 6.1% on October 2019 however, up 12.8% month-on-month.

Sam Mitchell, chief executive of Strike, said: “October was another busy month for the housing market, with transactions still rising despite the tougher lockdown restrictions.

“The government’s stamp duty holiday has created such a strong pipeline of activity that we believe this pattern could continue right up until the end of March.

“It’s shaping up to be a phenomenal end to the year for the UK property market.

“News of a vaccine has boosted confidence, and people are still rushing to benefit from the stamp duty holiday incentive – both contributing to us having a record-breaking day for offers just last Monday.

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“Regardless, we don’t expect any change in the rising number of people looking to move in light of changing circumstances, with the lockdown baby boom and flexible working being two of the many reasons we’ve had more sellers than ever knocking at our door.”

Nigel Purves, chief executive of Wayhome, added: “The HMRC has reported a continued rise in the number of transactions in the residential property market, likely as buyers rush to complete before the stamp duty cut ends in March.

“The property boom is so far showing no signs of slowing down, and there is a risk of a two-track market emerging, where those who can afford to buy are accounting for the increase in property transactions and the reluctant renters and first time buyers are left behind.

“It’s time we address how to even the playing field when it comes to homeownership.”

Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer at Gatehouse Bank, said: “The pent-up energy buyers have brought to the housing market since the end of the first national lockdown hasn’t abated and transaction volumes continue to climb.

“Deal levels have recovered from the April slump and are now higher than last year’s figures and, with data from the Bank of England showing mortgage approvals in September represented the highest levels of agreed borrowing since before the Global Financial Crisis, this trend looks likely to continue over the coming months.

“However, with the stamp duty discount deadline looming in March, sellers and buyers alike will feel the pressure to get the deal over-the-line as soon as possible, heaping pressure on the property industry as we close out the year.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Residential Mortgage Market Current Climate 2020

2020 has been a very strange one for many different reasons, not just the COVID-19 pandemic but all of the many ways it has impacted businesses and lives. UK Industries that were thriving, suddenly ground to a halt due to lockdown restrictions. The UK property market has experienced a very unusual journey since the Government first announced the lockdown which started in March 2020.

How Lockdown affected Residential Mortgages

The restrictions effectively meant that houses could not be bought or sold, no viewings could take place and estate agents’ offices were not open to the public. The property market came to a complete standstill, awaiting news of when lockdown restrictions would be lifted. It was estimated that 450,000 buyers’ and renters’ plans were put on hold during this period.

The construction of new builds was also put on hold for a while, where social distancing was not possible, so this put a big delay on the exchange of contracts for new build properties. So, while nobody could buy homes, the residential mortgage market naturally had little demand until lockdown restrictions were lifted again.

However, even in the early days of lockdown, a search trend appeared; there was a big increase in people searching for properties outside of city centres and busy towns, looking for homes with more space and gardens. The impact of being confined to their home for such long periods had clearly given a lot of people some thinking time and a need to have more space. Cities and towns had also emerged as the main hotspots for Covid-19 cases, so this could also be a factor in the increased house hunting outside of these areas.

Post-Lockdown in the Property Market

Once the restrictions lifted in May 2020 and viewings could take place and properties could be sold again, the market started moving forward with deals. What really helped get the property market back on track though, was the Government’s announcement to introduce a stamp duty holiday.

From 8 July a temporary reduced rate of stamp duty land tax was brought into effect, with first time property purchases of up to £500,000 having no stamp duty to pay at all. This gave a lot of people the opportunity to make a house purchase that they would not have been able to afford without saving up to factor in the stamp duty rate.

While this was a great catalyst for house purchases, the fact that the UK was about to go into recession and many people were facing reduced furlough wages, and the possibility of future redundancies, many lenders had to adjust their lending criteria, in some cases requiring bigger deposits due to the increased risk they faced.

Mortgage lenders quickly had to react to the unprecedented situation they found themselves in, with mortgage holidays also being introduced, which left many lenders receiving considerably less in mortgage payments in 2020.

After having a lull in application numbers during lockdown to process, there were suddenly lots of applications coming through but some lenders did not the same staff levels to deliver the work, which slowed that aspect of the market down slightly. But the biggest problem post-lockdown for lenders was to re-work their lending criteria to try and curb the expected risks that lay ahead with the UK economy crash.

COVID-19’s Impact on UK House Prices

After the mini boom of house sales when lockdown restrictions lifted, there has been a lot of buoyancy in the property prices. In October, it was announced that the average asking price for properties hit a record high and record numbers of mortgage applications have also been recorded. This was due to the combination of the stamp duty holiday and the catch up after lockdown, added to with more people looking to move out of cities and towns.

The Bank of England base rate reduced to 0.10% in March and this impacted the interest rates of loans including mortgage loans. The market has seen mortgage rates hit as low as around 1.28% for the applicants who are moving home and that meet the lending criteria. First Time Buyers are also seeing better interest rates. Average rates for 2-year fixed mortgages sat below 1.5% throughout the first half of the year but there has been an upturn since.

So, for First Time Buyers, with the stamp duty holiday and very low interest rates, it has been a very opportune time to get onto the property ladder, at least for those who have not been negatively financially impacted by Covid-19. However, they may have found it harder to get a mortgage now though, with the stricter lending criteria that has been introduced.

It has also been a good time for people looking to sell their property and downsize, as they are generally getting a value for their property that is much higher than it would have been 12 months ago. So, where people are selling a more expensive property to buy a lower value home, this has been a good time to do so with the house prices being high but the opposite applies for people buying a considerably more expensive property than their existing one.

100% Mortgages Re-introduced

For the first time in a long time, mainstream mortgage lenders have started to re-introduce 100% mortgages to help those looking to buy a property but who don’t have a deposit. However, the first types of these mortgage that are available do require a temporary deposit to be put down by parents or another person for three years, to protect against the risk associated with a fall in house prices.

House Price Crash Predictions

The current high property values that are being achieved will not last and property experts are expecting a crash in house prices at a point in the near future, as these are exceptionally high values we are seeing right now as well as high numbers of sales. In September, sales agreed was up 70% compared to 12 months previous, while October’s figures are looking closer to a 58% increase on last year.

The market is also running at a very fast pace right now with sales going through really quickly and this doesn’t look like it is going to slow down just yet. Recently, estate agents have also noticed that many sellers are becoming overly optimistic about the asking price, as they have heard about record high sales.

With unemployment at 4.5% for June to August 2020 and more redundancies expected from businesses that are not recovering as quickly as they need to in order to keep their workforce on, this will soon have an impact on property sales because less people will be able to get mortgages.

As well as unemployed people not being able to buy a property, many people will be worried about potentially losing their job in the future and therefore will not take on the risk of getting a mortgage, choosing to rent instead.

Many property experts are looking at the 2008 property crash to try and predict when this one will happen, however the circumstances are clearly very different. Brexit would have triggered changes to the residential mortgage market but the Covid-19 pandemic shook the market up before that came into the picture.

The timeframe that many experts are suggesting the crash will happen is around the 12-18 months mark, so towards the end of 2021 or going half-way into 2022. The stamp duty holiday is due to end in March 2021 and this should see a big slowdown in property purchases.

Another factor that could come into play is whether the UK will go into lockdown restrictions again that put house sales on hold. Wales announced their 2-week lockdown starting on 23 October 2020, which includes estate agents closures. England has not yet announced a similar approach, choosing local lockdown restrictions without impact to house sales at this point.

Is Now a Good Time to Apply for a Residential Mortgage?

For many people, the stamp duty holiday and low interest rates make this a really good time to buy a house. However, house prices are very high but have been falling since July. First Time Buyers looking for properties at the lower end of the house price range should be able to buy a property without the value being too inflated. They should calculate the amount they can save through the stamp duty holiday and the lower monthly mortgage payments that they can now apply for, to see whether it is worth waiting for house prices to drop again.

Working with a leading whole-of-market Residential Mortgage Broker such as UK Mortgage Broker, we are able to cut through the minefield of lender offers, limitations, max LTV’s and special requirements to find the best residential mortgage offers for not only First Time Buyers, but also experienced Residential Mortgage owners

Another consideration is the extension to the Help to Buy Scheme which gives home buyers the opportunity to benefit from financial support for buying new build properties.

How to get the Best Residential Mortgage Deals

If you are looking to take advantage of the current stamp duty holiday and buy a property, you may find that the high street lenders have much stricter lending criteria right now and you might benefit from using a Residential Mortgage Broker instead who can provide you with truly independent and impartial Residential Mortgage Advice.

A mortgage broker can help you to find the best deal to suit your specific circumstances, such as your income, any outstanding debt, adverse credit history or any other detail that can make it harder to get a mortgage such as being self-employed.

A whole-of-market Residential Mortgage Advisor has access to mortgage deals that you would not be able to find directly, often with exclusive rates to save you money over the term of the mortgage. They also take the hassle out of searching through tons of different mortgage deals and can help you to prepare your documents and other requirements to make sure the mortgage goes through without unnecessary delay. With the stamp duty holiday ending on 31 March 2021, it is important to get the process going as quickly as possible, so Contact Us today to speak with one of our Specialist Residential Mortgage Advisors and get started on finding your perfect mortgage deal.

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Kensington returns to 85% LTV on residential lending

Kensington Mortgages has reintroduced lending at 85 per cent LTV across all residential products.

Its return to the LTV tier comes alongside cuts to rates and relaunches across its residential and buy-to-let ranges.

The specialist lender has cut rates up to 0.4 percentage points across its residential product range, with an additional reduction of 0.2 percentage points on its residential ‘Hero’ range.

The ‘Hero’ range is targeted towards borrowers such as paramedics, nurses and teachers, with rates starting at 3.09 per cent for a two-year fix at 75 per cent LTV.

Meanwhile, the residential ‘Select’ range, which the lender describes is for borrowers who “don’t quite fit the high street”, starts at 1.99 per cent for a two-year fix at 70 per cent LTV and 3.84 per cent for a two-year fixed rate at 85 per cent LTV.

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The maximum loan amount on the residential Select range has also increased from £750,000 to £850,000. For buy-to-let applicants, meanwhile, the maximum loan amount has risen from £500,000 to £750,000.

Rates across buy-to-let have reduced by up to 0.3 percentage points, starting at 3.59 and 3.94 per cent for a two- and five-year fix respectively at 75 per cent LTV.

The lender has also relaunched its ‘eKo’ residential mortgage, offering £1,000 cashback to borrowers who increase the energy efficiency of their home.

Craig McKinlay, new business director at Kensington Mortgages, said: “We’re committed to helping borrowers at every life stage. This means providing tailored products and our latest re-launches open up new opportunities for our intermediaries and their clients.

“Our rate cuts reinforce our commitment to helping borrowers who are underserved and undervalued by high-street lenders and we’re confident these latest offerings will be welcomed.”

Ayodele Johnson, principal at Johnson Adviser, commented: “This is welcomed news to the mortgage broking industry both for advisers and clients. It comes at a time when it is needed the most.

“Kensington Mortgages have always been known to champion niche areas such as contractors, sole traders, adverse credit history and limited company portfolio landlords. Reducing their rates brings them back in line with some of their competitors.”

By Chloe Cheung

Source: FT Adviser

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Foundation Home Loans enhances residential range

Foundation Home Loans has introduced enhancements, including rate cuts, across its residential product range.

The lender has simplified its range by having rates with a maximum loan-to-value (LTV) of 65%, 75% and 80%.

Previously, the lowest rate of 2.79% was for a maximum LTV of 60% – now the maximum LTV is 65%.

Foundation has also increased its maximum loan size at the lower LTV level from £1.5m to £2m.

At 75% LTV, Foundation has cut all initial residential rates for both F1 and F2 borrowers, reducing its fixed rates by up to 20 basis points and discount rates by 10 basis points.

Products available include:

F1 borrowers: 3.39% 2-year fixed rate – reduced from 3.59%; 3.29% 2-year variable rate – reduced from 3.59%; 3.79% 5-year fixed rate – reduced from 3.99%.

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F2 borrowers: 3.59% 2-year fixed rate – reduced from 3.79%; 3.49% 2-year variable rate – reduced from 3.59%; 3.99% 5-year fixed rate – reduced from 4.19%.

All products have had their initial rates extended by three months – to 31 January 2023 for 2-year deals and 31 January 2026 for 5-year.

The changes follow on from last month’s introduction of 80% LTV versions of Foundation’s 2 and 5-year fixed-rates for both existing borrowers and first-time buyers, plus a new 80% two-year variable discount with no early repayment charges (ERCs).

Jeff Knight (pictured), director of marketing at Foundation Home Loans, said: “The specialist residential market is undoubtedly changing and the likelihood is advisers will be seeing a significant growth in clients who, for many reasons, miss out on the mainstream or will have accumulated credit blips, perhaps as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Our products are for those with extra-ordinary circumstances, such as multiple income sources through to credit blips.

“These changes simplify our residential range, whilst building on our residential criteria improvements to include a far wider range of complex income types and sources, and we calculate interest-only affordability on an interest-only basis.

“These changes and pricing upgrades mean that Foundation has many competitive options for specialist residential borrowers and we would urge advisers to contact their regional account managers to discuss our offering with them.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Lender raises £400m mortgage funding

Specialist lender Kensington Mortgages has raised £400m of funding through the wholesale financial markets.

The deal, which was announced to the market last week (June 17), was one of the first residential mortgage-backed securitisations (RMBS) to be sold to investors since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, according to the lender.

RMBS consist of bundles of mortgage loans, which are sold on as bonds to investors. The securities were purchased by global institutional investors.

Kensington said it will use the funds to support complex and underserved borrowers get on the property ladder.

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Alex Maddox, capital markets director at Kensington Mortgages, said: “The global financial markets are a hugely important source of funds for the UK housing market.

“While everyone assumes that the flow of money supporting British housing is all about the big banks, that’s not been true for many years.

“About 20 per cent of the cash underpinning UK house purchases is coming from pension funds and debt investors around the world.

“At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bank of England was quick to ensure that funding was made available to banks and building societies so they could keep lending – which was welcome. With wholesale markets reopening, non-bank lenders such as ourselves can play a more active role in the market again, and help more people towards a house purchase.”

Kensington Mortgages is a specialist lender that offers mortgages to those who find it difficult to borrow from high street lenders.

By Chloe Cheung

Source: FT Adviser

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Skipton reintroduces 85% LTV products

The Skipton Building Society is reintroducing lending at 85% LTV for its standard residential, new build and shared ownership range and also reducing rates on a range of mortgage products.

A series of new products has been introduced to Skipton’s repriced mortgage range as it resumes lending standard residential lending at 80/85% LTV, with rate decreases across the HTB range, and has reduced rates on its interest-only product range; however, Skipton’s new residential range is not available on interest-only.

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Highlights of Skipton’s new mortgage range include:

  • For purchase and remortgage, 2-year fixes at 1.37% to 60% LTV (fee free) and 1.59% to 85% LTV (£995 fee); 5-year fixes at 1.35% to 60% LTV (£1,995 fee) and 1.76% to 75% LTV (fee free);
  • For Help to Buy, (purchase and remortgage) a fee free 2-year fix at 1.89% to 75% LTV;
  • 2-year fee free shared ownership fix at 2.69% to 85% LTV;
  • Buy-to-let (purchase and remortgage) fee free 2-year fixes at 1.99% to 60% LTV and 2.34% to 75% LTV, and 5-year fixes at 1.79% to 60% LTV (£1,995 fee) and 2.19% to 70% LTV (£995 fee).

Skipton recently announced that under a revised affordability approach, it will accept cases from applicants who have been furloughed. However, affordability will be assessed on the new, furloughed income, including any top up contributions made by the employer. The maximum LTV where any applicant is relying on furloughed income is 60%. Product transfers are excluded from these restrictions, unless the applicant is also seeking additional funds.

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Alex Beavis (pictured), Skipton’s head of mortgages, said: “We’re delighted to reintroduce lending at 85% loan to value and reduce rates on many products giving borrowers more choice and better value. As a mutual, we strive to help people buy their own homes and through this difficult time we have maintained high levels of service to ensure our customers get the best experience when buying or remortgaging.

“Our reintroduction of 85% LTV deals for new build, shared ownership and residential purchases and support for furloughed workers demonstrates this commitment.

“In order to help us continue to support our customers, I encourage anyone who needs to speak to us to make use of our online FAQ pages, webchat and email services in order to avoid longer telephone wait times in our contact centre.”

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By Kevin Rose

Source: Best Advice

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Kensington Mortgages launches 80% LTV residential rates

Kensington Mortgages has resumed 80% loan-to-value (LTV) lending across its residential Select, Core, Young Professional and Heroes ranges, as well as relaunching Help To Buy and buy-to-let (BTL) purchase applications across England.

On Kensington’s Select, Heroes and Young Professional range, rates start from 4.49% for a 2-year fix at 80% LTV and 4.64% for a 5-year fix rate.

There is a maximum loan amount of £750,000 on the Select range, and £500,000 for Core, Right to Buy and BTL products.

Kensington Mortgages has also relaunched its Help to Buy offering and reinstated new-build applications.

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Rates start from 4.54% for a 2-year fix at 75% LTV.

In England, now that physical valuations can take place, BTL purchase applications have been resumed.

Last month, Kensington relaunched BTL remortgage cases; the same rates apply for new purchase applications.

Rates start from 4.49% for a 2-year fix at 75% LTV and 4.69% for a 5-year fix.

Craig McKinlay (pictured), new business director at Kensington Mortgages, said: “We’re excited to introduce 80% LTV across some of our most well-known product ranges and relaunch Help to Buy in the hope that we can try to provide options for those wishing to step onto the property ladder.

“Over the last few months we have experienced an industry-wide unprecedented challenge, and lenders have been working hard to reintroduce product ranges to try and help boost the market.

“We hope these new updates provide our brokers and customers with accessible funding options and greater choice and for those that can restart their housing plans again, we are here to help.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer