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Graham Awards


Housing market still in doldrums despite mortgage rate cuts

Mortgage lenders are at last cutting their rates on some deals, confident that the Bank of England’s base rate may rise little more or perhaps not at all.

Yet this is not enough to improve fortunes for many buyers according to a new warning from the Mortgage Advice Bureau.

Deputy chief executive Ben Thompson says: “The last few weeks have seen lenders cutting their mortgage rates, with some doing so more than once. Compared to where rates were last year, the drops are far from substantial, but the cuts are a move in the right direction after months of increasing rates.


“The cuts are very largely a consequence of last month's inflation drop, giving markets confidence that rates might not need to stay as high for as long. Those who are due to renew, however, shouldn’t wait around for rates to fall further.”

Thompson’s call comes in the wake of new research from MAB.

It shows that first time buyers planning to purchase a home in the next 24 months are aiming to save over £11,500 more for their deposit.

While the challenge of saving for a deposit isn’t a new one, the size of prospective buyers’ deposits is having to increase. This is due to economic factors limiting how much people can borrow.  

On average, prospective buyers said they thought they would need to save £36,118 for their deposit. However, MAB says that for 62 per cent of them, this has increased, with future homeowners expecting to need an additional £11,500 in light of recent economic uncertainty.  

This is putting plans on ice for some, with 15 per cent of prospective buyers delaying their plans to buy altogether. Saving for a deposit remains one of the biggest barriers to homeownership for almost a third of prospective homebuyers.  

For a quarter the higher cost of borrowing means they will have to save more, while one in 10 say the amount they are needing to save has increased due to them wanting a lower loan to value. Meanwhile, eight per cent will now turn to the Bank of Mum and Dad for help.  

Thompson continues: “There are many challenges for prospective buyers to overcome before they get the keys in their hands, and right now, they’re coming from all sides.  

“Economic volatility has seen prospective buyers battle high inflation, pushing prices up and limiting the amount they can save. Meanwhile, higher interest rates have lowered the amount they can borrow, meaning bigger deposits are needed. This has led to many prospective buyers having to put more away than they had initially planned. 

“Nevertheless, there are some positives that can be taken from this. For those saving for a mortgage, it’s time to take advantage of higher interest rates on savings, with fixed rate accounts in particular offering good rates. Government initiatives, like the Lifetime ISA and Help to Buy ISA (for those who had an account before the scheme closed) can also help. Whatever stage you are at, it’s worth talking to a broker who can help you get mortgage ready.” 

The research from Mortgage Advice Bureau also found that prospective buyers are making significant cutbacks to try and be able to afford their dream home, with a quarter having cut back on socialising, and a similar proportion on luxuries. 


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