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Here at Placing Faces we’re always looking to be up-to-date with the latest news and advancements in the Property and Mortgage Sectors, and we think you should too! You’ll find our picks of the most relevant, interesting and informative articles below.


Latest Mortgage and Property Headlines

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Mortgage loan sizes increase by £20,000 during pandemic

The average mortgage size increased by £20,000 between August 2019 and August 2021, according to new research from Trussle.

Overall the average amount that homeowners looked to borrow increased from just above £170,000 in August 2019 to approximately £190,000 in August 2021.

Trussle’s data shows that when the stamp duty holiday was announced there was a huge uptick in the loan amounts homebuyers were seeking. In just two months between June 2020 (£179,755) and August 2020 (£200,104) the average amount borrowed soared by over £20,000.


What mortgage

Mortgages of the future: How technology is set to transform home buying

From online valuations and e-signatures to mortgage passports and ‘one-click’ home loans, Pete Mugleston predicts how technology is set to transform the process of buying a home

The past 16 months or so have proven not only that the housing market can change at the drop of the hat but also that it is – unexpectedly – quite resilient. Indeed, house prices have continued to rise, despite the economic uncertainty of the pandemic.

Along with this, conferences, roadshows, and other important industry events have been able to continue by moving online, helping to sustain relationships with prospective buyers.


small business

NI and dividend tax hike may hit small business owners hard

A small business investor has warned with small to medium businesses (SMEs) employing 61 per cent of workers, the 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance for employees and employers will both hit small firms hard and hamper economic recovery.

There are currently over six million SMEs in the UK employing 16.8m people, many of whose founders and directors are paid primarily in dividends. These individuals will be hit twice by this rise, with increased NI contributions also reducing the profits from which dividends are paid, said Luke Davis, CEO of IW Capital.


mortgage finance gazette logo

Rents excluding London accelerate at fastest rate since 2008

Average rents outside London have increased by 5% over the year to August to reach £790 per month, marking the highest annual jump since Zoopla began recording the data 13 years ago.

Including London, average rents increased by 2.1% across the UK in the year to August, reaching £943 a month. London rents dragged down the UK average, falling by 3.8% over the year to £1,593, but the pace of annual decline has slowed from February when rents were down 9.8% year on year.

However, when London is taken out of the equation, UK rents grew at their fastest rate since 2008.


Mortgage Strategy
new product

New product offers ‘flexible borrowing’ against home

Selina Advance has launched a new product, which allows home owners to borrow flexibly against the equity built up in their property.

The plan is called a home equity line of credit or Heloc, and the lender says it is the first of its kind to launch in the UK, but that such loans are common in the US, Canada and Australia.

Borrowers can take out a credit line of between £25,000 and £1m, only paying interest on the amount that they actually draw down.


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advisor due diligence

Malcolm Kerr: Proper due diligence is missing from adviser M&A

Mergers and acquisitions in the advice space can suffer from poor due diligence and culture clashes.

I’ve always had a soft spot for M&G, not least because they invented unit trusts back in 1931, but also because when working for KPMG and EY, I was involved with a number of very enjoyable projects within their business.

The environment seemed very collegiate, the people very high quality and, unlike some clients, they were very open-minded. Back in the 1970s, M&G were very adept in generating direct to consumer new business via “money off the page” – a strategy involving an advertisement in a publication like the Saturday Telegraph, for example, that promoted a fund.


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key workers

Reliance Bank refreshes range and reduces rates for key workers

Reliance Bank has made a series of amendments to its range of products for both the intermediary and direct mortgage market.

Notable changes include the introduction of an improved £850 cashback incentive for all shared ownership mortgage applications where the customer is looking to borrow £50,000 or more.

It has also reduced the headline rates across its shared ownership mortgage product range, as well as extended the end date to 30 November.


Mortgage Strategy
money hub logo

Moneyhub launches rent payments feature to boost credit scores

Moneyhub has launched a new feature that allows rent payments to show up on credit scores, helping renters who want to buy a home.

The payments app says its ‘rent recognition’ software allows renters to “demonstrate they can be trusted to meet financial commitments on time and can help to improve the credit score of young people or anyone with a patchy or non-existent credit history”.

The fintech says its tool lets users send anonymized details of rent payments to credit reference agencies such as Experian, offering alternative credit data which can build credit scores.


nationwide logo

UK house price rises accelerate, says Nationwide

UK house prices accelerated in August, the Nationwide has said, with values now 13% higher than before the pandemic.

The building society said that annual house price growth sped up, to 11%, with the average home costing £248,857. It said property prices recorded their second largest month-on-month rise in 15 years, up by 2.1%.

The Nationwide said the increase was “surprising”, given that the benefit from stamp duty holidays was reduced.


What mortgage

A broker’s view: How to make the most of the record low mortgage rates

Some landmark rates have emerged in the mortgage market recently, creating a competitive market which is ripe for borrowers keen to make savings.

Greg Cunnington of Alexander Hall explains how you can take advantage of the buoyant market and tap into the best deals.

The full stamp duty holiday may have come to an end but the property market remains busy. A combination of the improving economic outlook, an abundance of mortgages, attractive rates and improving criteria (conditions borrowers must meet to be approved for a mortgage) means things are still looking good out there.


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cut mortgages rates

Fleet Mortgages cuts rates across all ranges

Fleet Mortgages has made a series of cuts to rates on its 2 and 5-year fixed-rate products across all three of its ranges – standard, limited company/LLP and house in multiple occupation (HMO)/multi-unit block (MUB).

Notable cuts within the limited company/LLP range include the 65% loan-to-value (LTV) 2-year fix from 2.99% from 2.89%, and the 75% LTV 2-year fix from 3.24% to 3.10%. Both products have a rental calculation of 125% at 5.5% and a 1.5% fee.

Within its HMO/MUB range, the lender has reduced the 65% LTV 5-year fix from 3.53% to 3.43%, and the 75% LTV 5-year fix from 3.73% to 3.63% – both include a 1.5% fee.


Property Wire
house burglar

Five Mistakes that Make your Home More Vulnerable to Burglaries

You may do all of the usual checks before leaving the house – like shutting all the windows, locking the door, setting an alarm – and think that’s job done. Even though your house may be locked while you’re out and about, it doesn’t necessarily mean all your contents will be safe.

Although you might not even realise it, there are simple mistakes we make every day which can actually expose our homes, making them more vulnerable to burglaries.

That’s why a team of home security experts from have highlighted some of the more obscure mistakes we’re making that could be putting our homes at risk.


Mortgage Strategy
buying a house

Two-thirds of FTBs hold down second jobs to raise deposit: Ipswich Building Society

Almost two-thirds of first-time buyers hold down a second job to help them save for a deposit, according to a poll from Ipswich Building Society.

The mutual’s survey says 64% of FTBs turn to a second source of income while saving for a home, which it says plays against this group “being labelled as the ‘bank of mum and dad’ generation”.

Second job figures among this group jump to 85% in London.  The survey said 32% of those saving for a home have started their own business, half of which are related to their main job.


Property Wire
equity release

A Guide to Equity Release

Maxim Cohen, chief executive of The UK Adviser Group, talks about what exactly equity release is, why people might use it, why people should make use of it and why the use of it is increasing.

The most common form of equity release is a lifetime mortgage. A lifetime mortgage is a loan secured against your home, it’s typically repaid when you or the last surviving partner passes away or enters long-term care.

You retain full ownership of your property and there are typically no monthly repayments to make, as the loan, plus roll up interest, is repaid when the plan comes to an end.


What mortgage
house building

How building your own home could soon get easier

Building your own home could soon become easier after the government gave its approval to proposals to ‘scale up’ the self-build and custom-build markets.

There are thousands of people keen to design and build their own home from scratch but due to legislation, tax and other hurdles it has not been an easily accessible route to homeownership.

However, a review commissioned by the Prime Minister, aims to change this and has been examining how the self-build market can help to boost the overall housing supply in the country by creating more choice and affordable options for people.


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shared ownership

Dudley BS -Why you should be looking again at shared ownership

Dudley Building Society, the specialist lender, believes that shared ownership needs to be given fresh consideration by the intermediary community as frustrated first time buyers continue to see house prices outpace income growth.

Enhancements announced by the Government to shared ownership rules which came into force in April make this method of home ownership far more attractive, but probably due to the pandemic, the positive implications do not seem to have cut through.


Mortgage Strategy
old people

Landlords need help to cope with 44% jump in elderly renters: NRLA

The number of private rented households with someone aged 65 or over living in them has jumped by 44% over the last decade, according to government data.

Over one million, or 25%, of private rented households in England have someone living in them with a long-term illness or disability, driven by an ageing population.

But despite this, a quarter of all private rented households that require modifications for the elderly say their home does not meet their needs, according to the government’s latest English Housing Survey 2019 to 2020 report.


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Budgets being stretched as brokers search for maximum LTV

New analysis from criteria search specialist, Knowledge Bank shows a significant number of people are stretching their financial limits as a result of sky-rocketing property prices.

The research from Knowledge Bank’s industry leading mortgage criteria tracker found brokers are searching for ‘maximum loan to value (LTV)’ in their droves. The interest is coming from various sectors, with ‘maximum LTV’ either the most, or second most-searched across the second charge, equity release, self-build, bridging and commercial mortgage markets.

The range of sectors clearly illustrates the growing need for people to borrow the maximum they can, no matter how old or young.


Property Wire

Top Rental Tips

Many landlords will let you paint walls in your home, and this is a great way of really making the property feel yours, all you need to do is ask them first.

You don’t always have to buy new furniture to help make a rented property feel like home. If your flat is furnished, there are many non-permanent changes you can make to update the furniture to your style. 

And if you’re moving into a rented property or looking to make changes, remember these four important top tips: do an inventory, take photos, get permission before making any adjustments, flag any signs of damage with your landlord.


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mortgage and property news

Affordability contracts again for the self-employed

The MBT Affordability Index has revealed that mortgage affordability options for the self-employed contracted again in July.

Analysis of real cases processed through Mortgage Broker Tools (MBT) shows that in July, the average maximum loan size available to a self-employed applicant was £221,000 – a fall of more than 5% on June and the lowest level since February. Similarly, the lowest average loan size available to a self-employed applicant fell to just £90,452 in July – a decrease of nearly 17% on June and the lowest level since November last year.

The data also showed that fewer self-employed cases are considered to be affordable by lenders. 


money marketing logo

How to rebrand the right way

Even more important than the new name is the story that goes with it, bringing personality to the fore.

There are many valid reasons for wanting to rebrand an advice firm: a change of ownership, a shift towards a different market or just fancying a fresh image.

However, advisers left wondering ‘Who pinched all the vowels?’ after the recent Abrdn unveiling will know that rebrands can be tricky territory. How can advisers go about it the right way?


Mortgage Strategy
property news

Brokers see flexible lending jump in importance since pandemic: Masthaven

Eight out of ten brokers say flexible lending criteria is now a bigger priority for customers since the pandemic, according to a survey from Masthaven.

The lender’s report found that 79% of advisors say this feature has jumped in importance for borrowers since the start of the health crisis last March.

Other factors that have “significantly increased” among borrower’s considerations over this period are speed at 56%, flexible product features, 54%, and customer service, 52%. Only 26% of brokers said low rates were more important now than before the pandemic.


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The three things trainee financial planners fear most

I regularly ask aspiring financial planners what they fear most, and three responses dominate.

One is that they will lack the technical knowledge needed when in front of a client and won’t be able to answer a question. Another is that they will find it difficult to discuss their fees.

I will cover both of these at a later date as the third is something all aspiring planners can begin to address before they even sit their first exam.


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energy ratings

CSS: 71% of property professionals think EPC ratings should be reflected in value

More than two-thirds (71%) of property professionals believe valuers should reflect Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings, according to a webinar poll carried out by Countrywide Surveying Services (CSS).

Almost 200 people actively engaged with the session, with the audience consisting of lenders, brokers, surveyors and other property professionals.

When asked whether lenders should reflect EPC ratings in mortgage rates, 56% said yes, with 44% saying no.


What mortgage
piggy 2

Remortgage rate war: How some borrowers could save £350 a month

Borrowers who switch to a new mortgage deal could make monthly savings of as much as £350 thanks to the introduction of new below-1% deals which have hit the market recently.

With rumours of a ‘mortgage rate war’ on the cards, experts are advising anyone coming to the end of their deal to remortgage while competition is hot.

Data from revealed how the average standard variable rate (SVR) – which is the rate borrowers revert to when their deal ends and they don’t switch – is currently 4.40%.


What mortgage
mortgage news

Green mortgages launched for borrowers with energy efficient homes

Leeds Building Society has become the latest lender to offer mortgages with perks for customers who have energy efficient homes.

It is set to launch two new cashback mortgages which are for borrowers whose homes are classified in the top three tiers – A to C – on the energy performance scale.

The new mortgages, which offer customers £500 cashback on completion and have rates starting at 2.33% for a borrowers with a 10% deposit, are only available through intermediaries or brokers. However, they are part of an expanding group of deals hitting the market which are offering customers with incentives to boost their home’s energy efficiency.


Property Wire
property news

Huge demand but a lack of supplies – what is driving rising house prices?

2020 saw a huge rise in demand for the housing market. The after effects of the first UK lockdown, coupled with the government’s Stamp Duty holiday, had thousands of buyers clamouring for new homes in desirable locations.

Many new homeowners are turning their attention to renovating their new properties.

But with demand high and imports affected by Brexit, building supplies shortages are threatening to raise prices and hamper the renovation dreams of many. We take a look at some of the key supplies that are in high demand right now and why they’re essential for building work.


Property Wire
property news

Will a Housing Market Slowdown Be Good for Long-Term Stability?

Long-term stability in the housing market could be on the cards thanks to a gradual slowdown in house price growth and easing of Government support says independent estate agent Robert Burdett, MD at James Leigh Property Management.

In the first-time buyer market, access to a broader range of mortgage products, the return of 95% LTV products, and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme means that access to finance is easing and this segment of the market is picking up pace again.

Homebuyers continue to search for homes that offer more space, including home offices, rural areas with access to the cities.


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Owl Financial sees growth in protection sales due to Covid

Protection advice specialist Owl Financial has reported a rise in protection sales due to the Covid pandemic. The firm says around 25,000 households across the UK have benefited from its advice service in the first half of the year.

Owl Financial also report that more than 165 advisers, a large percentage of them female advisers, have joined the firm recently.

Around 45% of its advisers now are female with many joining from a non-financial services background attracted by the opportunities for career progression and flexible working.


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mortgage and property news

BMO expands adviser training programme

In an effort to expand its adviser edge platform, BMO Global Asset Management (BMO GAM) is launching Accelerator Pathways.

This new tool is designed to help advisers to develop soft skills necessary to grow and maintain their business. It is split across three stages: finding, winning and managing clients.

They focus on financial planning, investment and practice management. It also aimed to understand how advisers currently attract new clients.

– 12th 

Property Wire
mortgage and property news

House Price Begin to Dip, but Remain High Year-on-Year

The average price of a UK home dipped 0.5 per cent in June, according to the latest House Price Index from Halifax.

The statistics, released yesterday, showed that the average house price was now £260,358 across the UK, having risen 2.9 per cent in the last quarter. Annually, however, house prices have increased by 8.8 per cent.

Indeed, the average price of a detached home has risen faster than any other property type over the past 12 months, up by more than 10 per cent or almost £47,000 in cash terms. 


Mortgage Strategy
mortgage and property news

Day In The Life Of... Jade Kelly, underwriter, Accord Mortgages

A perk of the job is… helping people to improve their financial situation, assisting them in their day-to-day life and helping them to buy their home.

I wanted to become an underwriter because… as a mortgage broker previously, I was very analytical and always preferred the background work that came with helping people to buy a home.

A common misconception about my job is… that the requirements to get a mortgage can be difficult to meet, strict and very black and white, which I often came across as a broker. However, as underwriters we do all we can to help customers to get their mortgage offers.

– 1st July 2021

What mortgage
mortgage and property news

How to reduce outgoings by saving money on your mortgage

Feeling the financial sting of the pandemic? Miles Robinson takes you through some options to help you save on your mortgage repayments and examines the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme

Many people have struggled financially since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the UK, we saw a record high in redundancies in 2020 and an unemployment rate of 4.8% this year.

Here, we explore two ways homeowners can look to save on their mortgage: Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) or Remortgage.

– 30th 

What mortgage
mortgage and property news

Looking for a mortgage? Make sure you look beyond the headline rate

A low rate might be a good starting point when checking out the best mortgage deals, but Kevin Roberts explains why it’s essential you investigate some other vital factors too.

There are well over 700,000 homeowners in the UK who have fixed-rate mortgages coming to an end in 2021, which means many will need to find a new mortgage product to keep their monthly repayment costs down.

Unless they can refinance onto a new deal, these people risk automatically switching onto their lender’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) – which normally means paying a much higher rate.

– 29th 

mortgage and property news

House prices rise at fastest pace in 17 years

UK house prices rose 13.4% in the year to June, the fastest pace since November 2004, the Nationwide has said.

The building society said the average house price increased to £245,432 from £216,403 in June 2020.

Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner said prices were “close to a record high” in relation to average incomes, which he added “makes it even harder” for first-time buyers.

– 29th 

What mortgage
low mortgage rates

Are new sub-1% mortgage rates the real deal?

The advent of several mortgages with interest rates below 1% has caused a stir recently. We take a look at this small but tempting range of deals to find out whether they are really as good as they sound.

These deals – which those in the business have coined ‘sub-1%’ are coming in at 0.99% or even 0.95% and look particularly attractive at a time when, due to Covid-19, many households are looking to make savings.

But who can benefit from these deals and what – if anything – is the catch?


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