24 May 2022


If you are doing up a derelict or uninhabitable property, you may need a renovation mortgage from a specialist lender, which will cost more than a standard mortgage. Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients said: ‘As loan-to-values creep up, so do the rates. Not only that but application or product fees are also typically higher, ranging from 1 to 2 per cent. There may also be additional survey costs as lenders require pre- and post-work valuations.’ Ideal Home, 1 April 2022

Families face losing £4,600 a year to the worst cost of living crisis in a generation as a raft of price and tax rises takes effect this month. Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients said: ‘Mortgages are more expensive than they were six months ago. As the Bank Rate and the cost of borrowing on the money markets have increased, lenders have swiftly passed these higher costs on to borrowers. But while sub-1 per cent fixed-rate mortgages have disappeared, you can still fix for two or five years for less than 2 per cent, depending on the size of your deposit. Ten years ago, two-year fixes were at about 3 per cent and five-year fixes at 3.5 per cent, so today’s mortgages are still comparatively cheap.’ The Daily Telegraph, 2 April 2022

Does home insurance cover the cost of fallen trees? Delia Fernandez of SPF Private Clients said: ‘Whether you can claim for the cost of removing fallen trees or not depends on the type of insurance policy you have. Generally, most insurers cover loss or damage to your home and other permanent structures, such as walls, swimming pools and garages, caused by falling trees, including the cost of tree removal. They tend not to cover loss or damage to fences, gates, bridges, wharfs, piers or decks caused by wind or storm – this is a general exclusion for most household insurers.’ The Sunday Times, 3 April 2022

UK house prices have increased by more than £43,000 since the pandemic started, according to the Halifax. Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients said that ‘lenders are still keen to lend and have plenty of cash available to do so, enabling borrowers who are maybe sitting on considerable savings accrued during lockdown to stretch themselves to afford a bigger property’. The Financial Times, 7 April 2022

A reader wants to know if now is a good time to sell, or should she wait in case house prices rise higher. Elena Todorova of SPF Private Clients said: ‘[She] has to make a fairly quick decision about her home. If she does nothing her mortgage will move on to a variable rate in July, which will be significantly higher… From a mortgage perspective it makes sense to sell and buy a new home after her current mortgage expires in July as she is still employed and receives earned income, which may help cover void periods on [her rental properties]. She has only two years remaining on her term, leaving her in a disadvantaged position if the market slumps when she comes to sell. My advice would be to act now.’ The Daily Telegraph, 11 April 2022

While five-year fixes are nearly always more expensive than two-year ones because they offer better security, that has changed. Two-year swap rates are currently 2.14 per cent, while five-year rates are at 2.06 per cent, according to Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients. He said: ‘While mortgage rates have gone up across the board in recent weeks, the biggest price increase has been on two-year fixes.’ The Daily Telegraph, 12 April 2022

Halifax has dropped the rates on its five and 10-year fixed-rate mortgage deals, making them cheaper than two-year fixes, which traditionally are the cheapest of all fixed-rate mortgages. Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients said: ‘At the start of February, five-year fixes started appearing which were cheaper than their two-year equivalents, and this trend has continued ever since. Much of the pricing is based on Swap rates, with two-year Swaps circa 2.14 per cent, five-year Swaps at 2.06 per cent and ten-year Swaps at 1.82 per cent.’ The i, 12 April 2022