Whilst it remains to be seen how close we really are to a collapse of the Euro one thing is for certain, predicting how the fallout would affect financial markets is not an easy task even for seasoned financial experts.
In pure mortgage terms one set of products appear to be particularly risky in the current climate – any product which tracks a variable rate as opposed to the Bank of England base rate. These include discounted rates, variable rates and Libor linked or Libor rate deals.
All of these products could be subject to large rises in this potential scenario even if the monetary policy committee of the Bank of England decides to keep interest rates low. As we saw when the BOE base rate was reduced heavily in 2008 many lenders did not pass these cuts into their variable rates for some time as doing so would have seriously jeopardised their ability to remain afloat.
Similarly in the scenario of the collapse of the Euro and or the default of a nation such as Greece, Spain or Italy this would undoubtedly cause a similar crisis in the banks leading to a drying up of money markets and an upward pressure on banks variable rates.
Most discount rate mortgages are offered by smaller building societies who in general have a much lower risk exposure and would be better insulated against having to raise their variables rates significantly if this happened and this was mirrored by the rate reductions in 2008. However they are not immune to this risk, rates which are more concerning though are Libor linked deals as these are effectively priced against the going rate of lending between UK banks and as such could rise a lot if we saw more market turmoil.
Even so tracker deals could still be a risk, who knows how the different repercussions of this kind of event could ultimately play out? So when looking at current products comparing the difference between fixed and variable rates in general is well worth doing and I would take a pragmatic approach where the difference is minimal as it seems likely that the last string of bailouts may yet prove to be the tip of the iceberg.
The Woolwich have responded to criticism around their stepped tracker rate which with a current headline rate of 1.98% is one of the lowest rates available in the market. I commented on the fact that the product was restricted to mortgages between 200K and 500K severely limiting its market when I announced the new rate here a couple of weeks ago, theses restrictions have now been removed and the rate is available for loans between 5K and 1 Million now from today.
They have not chosen to address however the lengthy tie in for five years with a 2% early repayment charge which could make the product very costly in the long term.
Instead they have released a new lifetime tracker at bank base rate +2.29% with a £999 application fee available up to 70% loan to value or at +2.69% with no fee again to 70% loan to value. The new products have early repayment charges of 1% for 2 Years making them much more favourable but crucially both allow you to switch to a later fix without penalty too.
Both products would have a valuation fee of £295 for a purchase at 70% loan to value with a mortgage of 100K and lender Conveyancing fee of £126 giving an APR of 2.9% and 3.3% respectively.
As usual always read the separate Key Facts Illustration prior to making a decision on a mortgage product and to speak to a mortgage advisor call 0845 4594490.
Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it. We do not usually charge a fee for mortgage advice although you do have the option to pay up to 1.5% of the loan amount. Some buy to let and commercial loans are not regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
I wrote recently about the tough decision some people are having to take about whether to fix their mortgage now or wait on their standard variable rate rises and with today’s announcement that base rate will stay unchanged at 0.5% the decision hasn’t got any easier.
There is however a nifty product currently being offered by Nationwide Building Society (one of the few lenders still touting for new business) which allows you to take one of their current tracker products now and switch it to a fixed rate whenever you choose without incurring early repayment charges.
Other providers have similar offerings however there is a difference which sets them apart. The Nationwide will allow you to switch to a fixed rate based on the Loan to Value of the valuation taken when you arrange your tracker, which means that if value’s continue to fall you will not be locked out of new deals.
You will have to pay a second arrangement fee however and you will be restricted to the fixed rates available when you decide to change which could be higher than those available now but if you aren’t sure which way to turn at least this offers a get out clause which normal tracker products will not.