A mortgage stress test designed to stop borrowers overstretching themselves will be scrapped, it was revealed this week. The mortgage industry has long bemoaned this supposedly unrealistic test that makes lenders check if borrowers can afford their repayments at a level higher than the fix or tracker deal they may be taking, their lender's standard variable rate plus 3%. Yet, isn't a bit of an odd time to finally get rid of this, just as interest rates are finally rising and the base rate has jumped from 0.1% to 1.25% in six months? What's more, it's forecast by some to keep rising and go as high as 3% by the end of the year: meaning almost that entire 3% rise which the stress test uses. Georgie Frost, Simon Lambert and Lee Boyce discuss why the Bank of England is doing this and whether it is the right move, or could lead to risky lending and even higher house prices? Also, the team discuss inflation and how to (at least) try to do something to combat it with your savings - and also, why investors are finding it so hard to buy the dip and be greedy when others are fearful in the inflation storm. The renewed fervour for offering bumper deals on current accounts also goes under the microscope, but is a bung to join, an interest rate on your balance, or the ability to categorise your spending the best readon to switch? And finally, you live in an end of terrace house, someone wants to build next door using your wall and making your home a mid-terrace: surely that couldn't be allowed? Or would it? Listen to the end to find out.
Life is tough for first-time buyers. House prices were already expensive before the coronavirus lockdowns and defying all logic a mini-boom has sent the average house price up £20,000 further over the past year. At the same time mortgage lenders have indulged in a flight to safety, canning the vast majority of 95% loan-to-value mortgages and bumping up the gap between rates on 90 per cent mortgages and those for borrowers with more equity. 'Once more into the breach' has stepped the Government, with taxpayer aid for banks and building societies to offer more 5% deposit mortgages. But is this a wise move? Should we stop meddling in the mortgage and property market, as short-term assistance ends up meaning long-term pain as more credit is extended and house prices climb ever higher? And could it be that while the 95% mortgage push is the wrong move at the national economic level, on a personal level taking one might prove a good move for some, who could end up paying less than they do in rent? Georgie Frost, Lee Boyce and Simon Lambert discuss the 95% mortgages, the rise in house prices and whether buy-to-let is still a good investment. Also this week, the lowdown on the Barclaycard customer service meltdown as long-standing customers see their credit limits slashed. And finally, you want a shed-office (aka a shoffice) to work in down the bottom of the garden, but can you power it with solar panels?
Britain is in the grip of a mysterious property mini-boom. Talk of a property market more buoyant than it’s been in years, of viewings and offers flooding in and family homes in hot demand, doesn’t seem to just be the usual estate agent puff. Evidence from mortgage reports, surveyors and data on estate agent activity, appears to bear this out. The stamp duty holiday and lockdown itchy feet have combine to make parts of the market a sellers’ one, so as a buyer what can you do to get a decent offer accepted and avoid overpaying? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Georgie Frost and Lee Boyce talk buying homes. They discuss what’s going on, whether all parts of the market are flying (not quite), why some homes go to above asking price offers but others linger, and how as a buyer you can get a good deal, while as a seller you can also try to go under offer swiftly at a decent price. Also, on this week’s show, the team discuss the rise of the lockdown trader and why more people – and younger ones at that – are buying shares. They look at inflation and how many savings account beat it. And finally, why has the Royal Mint said it probably won’t need to make anymore 2p pieces or £2 coins for a very long time?
Georgie Frost is joined by editor Simon Lambert to talk property: why now might be a good time to think about building your own home; whether pensioners should get a stamp duty break for downsizing; and can you sell your home for knockdown price to avoid care costs?Also: 'Time will prove me right' says Neil Woodford - Simon explains why he’s not deserted the beleaguered fund manager. And the SUV penalty: how much picking a 4x4 will really cost you at the pumps.
Child benefit and state pension - It’s not the most obvious link. But if you are a parent who is looking after a child instead of working, you need to register for child benefit in order to build up your entitlement in retirement age. Austerity swept away the universal child benefit and those households where one parent earns more than £50,000 have to start giving it back until it is removed altogether above £60,000. Unsurprisingly, many who fall into this bracket simply opt not to take it and see no point in registering. Unfortunately, mums and dads who stopped work to look after children are now finding they’ve missed building up their state pension. It should be easy to fix, but HMRC and the government have been stalling parents affected. That’s why This is Money has started a campaign to get this mess fixed, before it gets any worse.
On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost discuss how this all happened and why it matters to not just those affected. And finally, can you really have a weekend away in Europe, flights and a decent hotel for £57? Yes you can, thanks to a very clever new website we tracked down.
As banks went kaput a decade ago, the safety of our savings was thrust into the limelight. Most had never considered that cash in the bank was at risk and knew little about the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. When Icesave blew up a year after the Northern Rock collapse things changed dramatically. We should all be up to speed now, but how safe are your savings? On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Tanya Jefferies and Georgie Frost we look at savings protection but also how you could end up losing money by sticking with cash. Ironically, worries about banks a decade ago triggered a flight to safety and more people stashing money in savings accounts rather than investing. But had people invested as Lehman Brothers collapsed they would have more than doubled their money by now.
Taking the risk as the world appeared to be falling apart would have been the right move. Yet, at that point the stock market was already down 20% and fell by that again before it hit the bottom, so how many would have been brave enough? Also on this week’s show, we discuss how easy it might be to hit the £1million pension lifetime allowance sand whether your car might fail its next MOT.
Welcome to the This is Money and Share Radio podcast, brought to you in partnership with NS&I. This week we ask just how high the FTSE could go in 2017. With the New Year bull run still in full swing is now the time to invest or could the current record be too good to be true? Meanwhile the FTSE might be rising but the pound continues to slump to its lowest levels since the 2008 crisis. Good news for exporters at least whilst even Mark Carney’s admitting Brexit won’t be quite as bad for the country. So just where does all this leave the devaluing pound in your pocket? To find out Georgie Frost is joined by Editor Simon Lambert and Personal Finance Editor Rachel Rickard Straus. Also on this week’s agenda they look at the latest retail figures, Halifax’s statistics on first time buyers and the new powers allowing the tax man to spy on your online activity. This is Money is presented by Georgie Frost in partnership with NS&I.
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