Gross mortgage lending recovers lost ground in May

Gross mortgage lending totalled an estimated £11.3 billion in May, according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This represented a 12% increase from the £10.1 billion lent in April and was 1% higher than in May 2010.

Gross mortgage lending includes lending for both house purchase and remortgage. Despite a modest pick-up in overall lending activity during May, lending for house purchase is running below year earlier levels – as April Bank of England approvals data indicate.

Looking ahead, interest in remortgaging is now also likely to be less pronounced, as expectations of higher interest rates this year recede. The MPC once again kept rates unchanged at its June meeting – for the 27th successive month.

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Number of first-time buyer mortgages on the up

The number of mortgages available for first-time buyers has nearly trebled during the past two years, figures showed today.

There are 183 different products aimed at people taking their first step on to the property ladder, up from 62 in June 2009, according to financial information group

First-time buyers have been hit hard by the credit crunch as lenders have become more risk-averse and pulled deals that required little or no deposit.

But there are signs that banks and building societies are tentatively re-entering the market for people with only a small amount to put down, and there are now 31 different loans available for people with a 5% deposit.

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NatWest launches two mortgage deals and cuts rates

The lender is introducing a two-year fixed rate buy-to-let mortgage to its core range, which is available up to 60% LTV at 5.39% with a £999 fee.

It is also launching a fee-free two-year tracker purchase mortgage within its corporate range, which is available up to 60% LTV at a rate of 2.95%.

Furthermore, NatWest has reduced rates on a number of its core range purchase and remortgage products, including its 18-month tracker at 75% LTV, which has been cut from 3.55% to 3.25%.

The lender has also lowered its two-year fix at 75% LTV from 3.94% to 3.65%.

And in its corporate range, NatWest has reduced its two-year fix at 60% LTV from 3.55% to 3.25%, as well as lowering its five-year fix from 4.79% to 4.49%, but the fee on this product has increased from £699 to £999.

Mark Bullard, head of sales at NatWest Intermediary Solutions, says: “The buy-to-let market continues to offer intermediaries opportunities to grow their business, so the new buy-to-let product and lower rates on existing products should provide advisers with more choice.

“We won’t charge brokers’ clients basic legal and valuation fees for a standard remortgage on the new 60% LTV buy-to-let product that we have introduced into our core range.”

Source: Mortgage Strategy

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Co-operative lowers mortgage rates

Lower rates and fees have been introduced across the Co-operative’s mortgage range.

The organisation has announced buy-to-let mortgage rates are being cut by up to 20 basis points (BPS), while its mainstream products will see maximum reductions of 60 BPS.

Business Development Director at Platform – the Co-operative Bank’s dedicated intermediary mortgage lender – Lee Gladwell said: “Platform is committed to providing brokers with a competitive range of products for them to offer to clients and the reduction in rates across the range, alongside decreased fees demonstrates this.”

He added the decision was prompted by feedback given by brokers at the company’s Platform Live events.

Consumers will now be able to choose from mortgages including a buy-to-let full-term tracker at 4.99 per cent at 60, 65 or 70 per cent loan-to-value and a mainstream two-year tracker offering a 2.69 per cent rate.

Both are subject to administration fees of £89, with the former being subject to an arrangement fee of £2,450 and the latter £950.

Source: My Finances

For more information from Build Zone about Structural Warranties, 10 Year Structural Warranties, contact the Build-Zone team on (0)845 230 9873 or email

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How housing associations could make land available for self build

Earlier this month, housing minister Grant Shapps revealed the Government’s ambitions to turn self-build into a mainstream housing option.

At this year’s Grand Designs Live event he called on housing associations and councils to offer up land to self-build communities to drive the ambition forward.

He said a working group he commissioned in February to look at the existing barriers to self-build will report back in the Summer.

Here, Raymond Connor, CEO, BuildStore Financial Services, part of the working group, analyses how housing associations and councils could support the housing minister’s vision.

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