Make sure you have the best mortgage for you

For Sale sign displayed on London street in the UK

It’s been a strange 12 months for the Torbay property market. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mark Rainey, director of Mr Mortgages in Torbay, discusses what’s been happening in the Torbay housing market over the last 12 months and some of the challenges looking forward. 

It’s been a strange 12 months for the Torbay property market. 

In January 2020 activity was brisk, mortgage availability was plentiful and house sales and house prices were increasing. 

From March, things looked a little different, the country pretty much shut down for a period and the housing market closed.

As things started to ease, in July the Chancellor introduced a temporary holiday on stamp duty on the first £500,000 of residential property sales.

And, from that point on activity has been brisk.

However, the stamp duty holiday is due to end on March 31, 2021 and, for some people, mortgage availability is now much more challenging, so getting the correct advice from someone experienced and independent has never been more important.

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Many businesses have had to change their working practices and adapt to a ‘new normal’.

Mr Mortgages logo, the white words on a blue background with an outline of a house inset at the end

Mr Mortgages - Credit: Mr Mortgages

For mortgage lenders, dealing with ‘payment holidays’ alongside the changes to income for some borrowers or would-be borrowers as well as trying to forecast the future economy and house prices, has led to some different approaches to their assessment for some business.

Lenders are constantly changing rates and criteria, certainly the amount of deposit needed to purchase a property has fluctuated more than ever during the last 12 months.

These changes have increased the need for brokers to be up to speed on what’s happening in the market so that the right advice and guidance can be given to clients. 

There are often other ways to secure the funding required for that new home.

That might mean turning to the bank of mum and dad or asking for a guarantor for a period of time to support the loan required.

The changing working patterns over the last few months have also driven a shift in people’s view of their ideal ‘dream home’.

In Torbay and the South West, 45 per cent of homeowners say they’re looking for a garden or outdoor space larger than they currently have.

Recent research from Skipton Building Society shows five out of ten South West homeowners are thinking of moving this year.

We’ve seen an increase in inquiries from people looking to move for more space.

The last few months have given us all time to think about what we really want from our living arrangements and what our top priorities are if we were to move.

Skipton’s research says a fifth of South West respondents would want a state-of-the-art kitchen and two fifths require a garage. 

Our experience from enquiries over the last few months though also highlights the potential to make an existing home into a ‘dream home’. Improving your existing home might often be a more practical and cost-effective way to achieve all you want from your property.

Mortgage rates are at historically low levels and borrowing to fund the improvements you wish to make will often be another option.

The top ten property requirements for Torbay residents, based on Skipton’s research, are: 

  1. A garden/bigger garden

  2. A spare bedroom

  3. An ensuite  

  4. More natural light 

  5. A garage 

  6. A patio/decking 

  7. Space for a home office 

  8. A second toilet 

  9. Bigger living space 

  10. State-of-the-art kitchen.

Of course, many people will probably need a mortgage to assist with a new purchase or to pay for improvements to an existing home.

And, even if you’re not planning on moving or improving right now, making sure that you have the best mortgage for you, and your financial position is as well protected as it can be, is still a big priority.