Legal and General Announce 50% More Borrowers Taking Variable Rates

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Legal and General announce there third report in the 'Mortgage Purchase Index' which highlights a number of trends which have appeared from the 19,000 mortgage applications made in the last quarter of the year.

Legal & General's third report in the 'Mortgage Purchase Index' series analyses trends from over 19,000 mortgage applications made in the last quarter.

Q3 Key Findings:

  •     35% of residential borrowers took variable rate mortgages over the past three months, up from 24% last quarter
  •     However, residential borrowers still prefer fixed rates overall - 63% took fixed rates, down from 75% last quarter
  •     Buy-to-let borrowers prefer variable rates - 55% took this type of mortgage vs. 43% on fixed rates
  •     The average residential mortgage was just 60% loan-to-value over the past quarter
  •     Two year fixed rates have become cheaper, but three, five and ten year products more expensive.

Stephen Smith, Director of Housing at Legal & General said: "As suspected, the popularity of fixed rate mortgages peaked last quarter when we found that three-quarters of borrowers were taking this type of mortgage, compared to 63% in Q3. Trackers will have attracted greater attention as forecasts of base rate cuts become more prominent. The popularity of variable rates has also perhaps been boosted by the number of borrowers sticking with their lender's standard variable rate when they came to the end of a deal rather than remortgaging straight away. This approach of sitting on the fence is a sign of the times and would have been unheard of a year or so ago. Fixed rates over the past three months have been 'expensive' compared to the beginning of the year, although two-year deals have dropped somewhat recently.

"The average residential borrower has been able to put up a 40% deposit, which indicates that whilst there are many people with healthy levels of debt, there are now far fewer mortgages being offered with high LTVs. This has lead to the average LTV for residential borrowers falling throughout the year. On the other hand, the average LTV for buy-to-let borrowers has risen from 67% to 73%, showing that cash-rich landlords are taking advantage of the increasing demand for rental accommodation."

Please see attached pdf file for the full report.

Notes to Editors:

About Legal and General

  •     The Legal & General Group, established in 1836, is one of the UK's leading financial services companies.
  •     We are one of the UK's top 50 companies in the FTSE 100 Index.
  •     Over 5.75 million people rely on us for life assurance, pensions, investments, and general insurance plans.
  •     The Legal & General Group is responsible for investing over £301 billion worldwide (as at 31 December 2007) on behalf of investors, policyholders and institutions.
  •     Legal & General is one of the biggest providers of index-tracking investments in the UK, managing over £214 billion as at 31 December 2007.
  •     We have operations in the USA, France, the Netherlands and Germany, as well as the UK.

Data based on 19,140 mortgage applications through the Legal & General Mortgage Club from June to August 2008.

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Joe Wiggins
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