Mortgage market changing in the UK as owners look for longer deals

The mortgage market in Britain is experiencing a significant change as the reasons why people remortgage evolve, a new analysis has found. Home owners

The mortgage market in Britain is experiencing a significant change as the reasons why people remortgage evolve, a new analysis has found.

Home owners are moving away from short term deals and variable rates and onto five year fixes at low rates in moves to guarantee certainty and financial security, according to the report from conveyancing service provider LMS.

Just 15% of home owners remortgaged to lower their monthly repayments in July compared to 21% in June and only 15% of home owners remortgaged to increase the size of their overall loan in July, a fall from 19% in June.

The analysis suggests that instead of remortgaging to lower monthly repayments or borrow extra money, home owners appear to be nervous about interest rates increasing and remortgaged onto long term deals at attractively low rates for certainty and financial security.
Just 2% of remortgagors predict interest rates to fall in the next year, with the remaining 98% expecting rates to either stay the same or rise.

Over a third, some 37% fixed onto a five year deal in July, the greatest since numbers were first tracked, and a large increase from 7% who previously had a fixed five year product.

The research also shows that the average mortgage rate in July was 2.07%, significantly lower than the average rate of 2.41% in July 2016.

‘We are seeing a significant change in consumer behaviour when remortgaging. Typically, over the last year, people were remortgaging to save on their monthly repayments or borrow additional funds. Instead, with rates low and expectations of a rate rise high, people are fixing for longer for added financial security,’ said Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS.

‘Borrowers are taking shelter from future rate rises and preparing for potentially turbulent times to come. The way people borrow is changing, there is a significant decline in interest-only and variable rate deals, and fixing for longer appears to be the top priority. It’s a flight to financial security,’ he explained.

The number of people remortgaging their home in July increased by 12% from 34,300 in June to 38,348. In addition, the value of remortgage transactions increased by 3% between June and July from £6 billion to £6.2 billion.

The increase in remortgaging activity was driven by improved affordability in the previous month. The average annual repayment fell from £8,197 in May to £8,080 in June. Meanwhile, the percentage of total income that the average annual mortgage repayment accounted for dropped to its lowest level this year, from 17.5% in May to 17.1% in June.

‘Remortgagors benefitted from a bumper month in July as affordability improved to a yearlong high. This propelled overall activity. With interest rates still low and lenders competing with one another to offer customers the best possible deal there has never been a better time to remortgage in 2017,’ Knee added.

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