Homeowners Lowest Mortgage Rate Dilemma

The Lowest Mortgage Rate in Decades

Homeowners are today missing out on some the lowest fixed mortgage rate deals available in the last twenty four years. On the 9th March 2009 the Bank of England first reduced the base rate to 0.5% where it has remained for the last 31 months and homeowners have become complacent about changing their mortgage arrangements as the mortgage rate has remained static.

Lowest Mortgage Rate Dilemma Faced By Homeowners

Homeowners have preferred to remain on the standard variable rate (SVR) rather than change to any other type of mortgage deal around. In the past the standard variable rate was known as the worst mortgage rate a borrower could be acquire as it was always more costly than any of the other mortgage rates available.

Many homeowners have chosen not to review their mortgages in the last 31 months and one in six homeowners with mortgages does not believe they needed to review their mortgages until the base rate starts to rise. Waiting until the base rate starts to rise is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. We have never seen interest rates this low and it is now that homeowners should be seeking the best mortgage deal for their personal circumstances.

Many homeowners have seen their monthly mortgage payments reduce considerably as they have come off previous mortgage deals. The extra money they are saving by remaining on the standard variable rate (SVR) has lessened the effects of the recession on their household income and expenditure. All householders have seen an increase in fuel and food costs and many employees have not had a pay rise for the last three or four years and homeowners don’t want to pay more for a new mortgage arrangement

Mortgage Rate Dilemma Facing Homeowners

Currently the Best 5-year fixed mortgage rate for first-time buyer and remortgages is 4.39% from the Nationwide for a 70% loan-to-value or a 30% deposit plus lenders arrangement fees of £999, you can make over payments of £500 per month and early repayment penalties do apply. Furthermore if you are remortgaging then this great 5-year fixed mortgage rate deal comes with free valuation fees and legal fees which will save you thousands.

Surely every serious homeowner who is worried about the future of their mortgage payments would want to tie themselves into a great mortgage deal that would provide them with 5 years of stability and the knowledge that they had a fixed affordable monthly mortgage payment? But unfortunately that is not the case when you have the cheapest mortgage deal from HSBC – a 2-year discount mortgage rate deal that is linked to their Standard Variable rate (SVR) which currently stands at 3.94% plus a 1% product fee. Please note that you will need a perfect credit history and be able to meet their strict lending criteria to obtain this mortgage

The Mortgage Rate Will Rise

Homeowners are out of touch with the current mortgage market conditions and they have a belief that the Bank of England base rate will remain low for ever. It’s similar to the belief that everybody had that property prices would just keep going up and then the boom time went bust in August 2007.

The mortgage rates we currently have are unprecedented and there are winners and losers. The winners at the moment are the mortgage borrowers who were reported to have saved fifty one billion pounds whilst the savers had lost some forty three billion pounds. This discrepancy will need readjusting at sometime in the very near future without doubt. As inflation rises higher then the bank of England will want the mechanism of being able to increase interest rates to control the inflation.

However homeowners still have the lowest mortgage rate dilemma and they will need to be sure that they are able to move quickly and secure another great rate before the rates increase.

3 Details That Affect the Mortgage Rate Offered

Everyone is aware of the rates that are offered by lenders, however, these are basically the lowest advertised interest rates available to borrowers. Very often, borrowers may feel that they have been lied to when they do not receive the rate that they are hearing or reading about. However, there is definitely a reason for this because there are 3 details that affect the mortgage rate that is offered to a borrower.

1. Debt to income – The debt to income ratio (DTI) is a calculation of the total debt held by a borrower in comparison to the total income. Mortgage products have maximum debt to income ratios that are acceptable. In addition, lenders may add their own restrictions which may further reduce the debt to income that is necessary for a particular mortgage program. Since debt to income measures the total amount of debt that a borrower has and will have with the new mortgage, it is important that as much debt as possible is reduced prior to applying for a mortgage. The higher the DTI, the mortgage rate offered to a borrower will also be higher.

2. Credit Scores – While DTI is an important measurement of debt and income held by a borrower, credit scores are a reflection of that debt and how it is managed. While both scores and credit history are considered when processing a mortgage, the actual middle score will be used when determining the mortgage rate to be offered. Borrowers who have higher credit scores, are offered the lowest rates.

3. Loan to Value – The loan to value (LTV) of a mortgage is the measurement of the loan against the value of the property that is either being purchased or refinanced. It is the final appraisal that determines the loan to value for the lender. While different mortgage programs have varying loan to value rules, such as FHA and VA, conventional mortgages require the lowest loan to value. This means that borrowers must have a larger down payment for this type of mortgage. Any LTV above 80% will require that the borrower pay private mortgage insurance. In addition, with higher loan to values, the mortgage rate will also be higher.

Lenders use rate sheets when quoting a mortgage rate to a borrower. These rate sheets have adjustments for each of these separate occurrences listed above. Each adjustment adds a certain percentage to the initial mortgage rate. For this reason, the final mortgage rate that a borrower is offered and accepts is seldom the same as the advertised rate.

Mortgage Rates Comparison Sites – Do They Give You the Whole Story?

If you are contemplating your first mortgage as a first time buyer, or a remortgage of your existing loan, you would probably think that researching the best mortgage rates would be as simple as going to the nearest price comparison site, answering a few straightforward questions and applying a few filters to suit your mortgage rate requirements.

Now for price comparison sites that make millions from online financial arrangements, that view is one that they try to foster, indeed actively promote. Why wouldn’t they? It makes them millions. Giving advice requires expertise, time effort, adherence to strict Financial Services Association rules, and above all a desire to really make sure the most appropriate advice is provided, even if the advice means no income is generated for the adviser.

Oh, but that doesn’t make money. Far easier to place the decision with the client, and allow them to make the decision. Now I’m all for people power, and people taking responsibility for their own actions, but does it make sense for the largest financial commitment most of us ever consider to come without even the smallest amount of mortgage advice.

Having spent more than ten years providing mortgage advice online talking to people from all walks of life, I am of the firm believe that advice should be made compulsory. All too often I have seen the consequences of an ill considered decision causing problems later on. Mortgage rates believed to be fixed only to turn out to be a discounted rate, where the mortgagee misunderstood that the discount rate was fixed, not the actual pay rate. Those with extended redemption penalties that they had just not realized were present because they hadn’t read the documentation correctly. They were only really concerned about the monthly payment.

Well if you are considering a mortgage, and what mortgage rates will be suitable, my advice would be that you talk to an Independent Financial Adviser. Fee or no fee, seeking advice will always save you money in the long run.

For those that don’t feel professional advice is for them, perhaps just consider the following points when mulling over which mortgage rates are best for you.

Attitude

Do you have a real understanding of the differences between the different types of mortgage rates? Has media hype, adverse publicity or the advice of friends lead you to discount a particular type of mortgage that may be suitable for your needs.

Changes in Circumstances

Do you know what you will be doing in two, three, five or more year’s time? Do you plan to start a family? Is there any expectation that your income may go down? Do you expect a promotion, relocation, and if you did, would you retain the property and let it out lender permitting, or sell it? Might you move abroad, and would that impact on the mortgage repayment type considered?

Early Repayment Charges

Does the mortgage have one, and if so is it just during any product period such a three year fixed rate, or does the penalty extend beyond the benefit period leaving you with the prospect of paying the generally higher lender standard variable rate, or the payment of a penalty which is often equivalent to six months interest?

Can the mortgage be transferred to a new property without incurring the redemption penalty?

Portability

Whilst most mortgage rates are portable to a new property some are not. For those that are you should be aware that portability is not a ‘Right’, but rather just a feature of the mortgage product. To transfer a mortgage to a new property you will still need to meet the lenders underwriting criteria again, and the property will still have to be a suitable security. Also consider the repayment method you select. If you expect to move frequently, is a repayment mortgage advisable? Or would you be better of with an interest only loan and a savings plan that is independent of the mortgage?

Overall APR / Cost for Comparison

Which mortgage is the cheapest, and how do you assess it? Is the cheapest mortgage the best mortgage, after you take all the other factors into consideration? Total cost comparison is a good place to start however. Beware though, as this is the one calculation that many online mortgage sourcing systems do not provide. Comparing the total cost over a given period which includes all the relevant fees and charges will provide a list of products in total cost order. Whether the one at the top is the most appropriate mortgage is a different question.

Affordability

The monthly payment is always a major consideration. Typically a two year discount or tracker mortgage rate will provide the lowest overall cost over that period. Fixed rate security often comes at a premium. Would it be cheaper if interest rates were to rise? How much could they rise before the fixed rate mortgage becomes a better option? And more importantly if they were to rise at what point would the loan become unaffordable?

Flexibility

Does the mortgage allow for overpayments or underpayments where an overpayment has been made? Will it allow for the offset of mortgage interest against a linked savings account? Can you switch from repayment to interest only in the event of financial difficulty? Can you select if overpayments will reduce the term or the monthly payment?

The above are just a few considerations, and can often leave you more confused than before you started, and this is often when the lowest monthly payment becomes the main factor for mortgage rates selection.

The reality is that most mortgage rates are unable to satisfy all your needs, and seeking advice ensures you know which mortgage rate is the most appropriate for your needs having considered all the important factors.