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‘Hidden’ Service Charges trigger rise in housing costs, says Barclays

Typical consumer spending on mortgages and rents increased 3.6% in April – the first increase in the rate of growth since December.

The data comes from Barclays, which has based its figures on information gleaned from millions of bank accounts.

A parallel survey of its customers also shows that service charges and ground rent increases have become a burden for many affected homeowners, with only 37% of those affected regarding these costs as affordable. 


Meanwhile, on top of the high price tag, most leaseholders feel blindsided by the charges, as just 33% recall being made aware of the costs before purchasing their property, and only 23% saying they understood the rate at which the costs would increase.

On top of affordability, level of service is a growing issue as leaseholders claim to see few improvements to their properties despite the premium – only 13% feel they get good value for money, and even fewer (10%) believe the money from their fees is spent effectively. Nearly a fifth (17%) of those paying service/ground rent fees are also concerned they won’t be able to sell their homes because of the charges.

Mark Arnold, Head of Savings and Mortgages at Barclays, says: “Consumers and lenders alike are anticipating a drop in interest rates this year, but optimism is understandably tentative as the market is still feeling the effects of last year’s volatility. Our data shows that Brits are still facing higher rent and mortgage payments, although costs are still slowing down over the longer term.

“Many homeowners have additionally been hit by high service charges in the wake of increased inflation. Prospective buyers considering a leasehold property, especially in managed flats, should ask about these costs early in the process – not just for peace of mind, but also because lenders will want to know about any financial obligations to make sure mortgage payments will be affordable alongside other outgoings.”


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