Would a Conservative Victory Improve the UK Mortgage Market?

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A survey carried out by Savills Private Finance, the UK's leading mortage broker, shows that consumers believe a change of government would not result in an improvement to the UK mortgage market.

Even though the main political parties have been busy setting out their stalls regarding their plans for the housing market, homeowners feel that it will make little difference which party wins the general election.

A survey carried out by Savills Private Finance, the UK's leading mortage broker, shows that consumers believe a change of government would not result in an improvement to the UK mortgage market.

  • 53 per cent of homeowners believe a change of government would have no impact on the housing market.
  • 54 per cent of homeowners say that an increase in product choice or eligibility, rather than interest rates, would be a key factor in persuading them to re-mortgage.
  • Lenders need to improve loan-to-values and relax underwriting criteria.

Homeowners believe that a change of government will have no impact on the housing market, according to the latest Housing Market survey from Savills Private Finance (SPF), one of the UK’s leading independent mortgage brokers.

Some 53 per cent* of SPF’s clients believe that even if the Conservative Party is successful at the polls it will not make any difference to house prices and mortgage availability. A further 35 per cent of clients who responded thought a change in government would be a positive influence while 10 per cent thought the impact of a Conservative Government would be negative.

The survey also reveals that the lack of mortgage products is the main reason why so many homeowners are not remortgaging. Many homeowners are stuck on their lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) as a result of tough lending criteria and limited equity in their homes.

Melanie Bien, director of Savills Private Finance, a leading UK mortgage broker, comments: ‘Even though the main political parties have been busy setting out their stalls regarding their plans for the housing market, homeowners feel that it will make little difference which party wins the general election. The majority of our clients believe that last year’s rise in house prices is unsustainable and that a change in government will not result in more choice of mortgage products.

‘The big problem facing borrowers is lenders’ stingy approach to maximum loan-to-values (LTVs). Many lenders say they will lend to those with a 10 per cent deposit but the actual average LTV is often less than 60 per cent. Underwriting standards are also extremely strict – too much for many borrowers. It would be fair to say that the state-owned banks in particular are not standing by their lending promises although they blame lack of consumer demand.

‘Many borrowers are sat on their lender’s SVR simply because they have nowhere to go. Many have very little equity in their homes so can’t remortgage to a new fixed or discounted deal. And with lenders starting to raise their SVRs, even though there has been no movement in interest rates, many are finding themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.’

Notes to editors
*Survey of Savills Private Finance clients conducted from 15th to 25th February 2010. The survey was carried out online.

For further information please contact:
Melanie Bien, director, Savills Private Finance, 07968 553353

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