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How To Access Affordable Rate Mortgages?

How To Access Affordable Rate Mortgages?

When the housing market re-opened in the middle of May 2020, property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla listed a considerable increase in buyer demand on their sites. However, these platforms aren’t the only ones which experienced a considerable increase in demand, with MoneySuperMarket indicating a spike in mortgage searches.

The well-known price comparison website announced an 18% increase in week-on-week visitors looking for mortgage deals the day after the market opened.

Emma Harvey is the Mortgage Expert at MoneySuperMarket, said; “The prospect of the housing market starting to open up again will be welcome news for many would-be homeowners and movers, however, like many aspects of life in the COVID-19 era, it will be a far from straightforward recovery. Underwriting and approving mortgages is still a hugely manual process which requires workers from across the industry being able to work together. Not just the lenders themselves, but also brokers, valuers, estate agents, councils and solicitors.”

Speak to your lender or broker if you are in the middle of an application

With many moves in the housing market put on hold due to the lockdown, there will likely be many people in the middle of their mortgage application. While everyone should continue to evaluate their options, people who are underway with the mortgage application are encouraged to continue with the process. At the very least, these prospective buyers should engage their lender or broker to decide if it is best to continue with their application.

While there have been many changes to the way we live, and the housing market, it is vital to remember the fundamentals when it comes to assessing affordable rate mortgages. Your credit score and ability to pay remain crucial factors in arranging the best mortgage for your needs.

Emma Harvey discussed the challenges faced by applicants dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Emma said; “Banks will always ask for the last three months of earnings, with some lenders offering more flexibility around exceptional circumstances than others. However, those people who are currently furloughed should not suffer any adverse credit or change in risk profile. Consumers just need to be honest about the situation and if in doubt talk to their lenders or broker for support. “

The deposit remains a crucial component of the mortgage application

Your circumstances will dictate what steps you can take to bolster your application, but at the heart of every mortgage application is the deposit you can offer when looking to buy a home. Emma said; “As always, the larger the deposit you are able to put towards your property, the better. It will bring down your LTV and give you access to the lower interest rates with lenders. If you’ve been able to save any additional funds during the lockdown, this will certainly be beneficial."

Applying for a mortgage is the last thing many people are considering, but for some individuals and households, now is the right time. Mortgage lenders are still active, so anyone interested in arranging a mortgage, should prepare themselves for the process, and speak with industry experts.

What Is The Real Cost Of A Mortgage Holiday?

What Is The Real Cost Of A Mortgage Holiday?

While there is no denying mortgage holidays have provided confidence and peace of mind to many homeowners, it is crucial to know that mortgage holidays do not represent free money. There is a cost associated with mortgage holidays, and as people start to consider the longer-term impact of COVID-19, the real cost of a mortgage holiday comes to the fore.

According to UK Finance, one in six mortgage holders have arranged a mortgage payment holiday. The cost of a mortgage holiday depends on many factors, including:

  • The size of the mortgage
  • The interest rate of the mortgage
  • The length of time left on the mortgage before it is paid off
A small mortgage payment can quickly add up to a large amount

While each mortgage holder needs to consider their circumstances, Money.co.uk believes that taking a three-month mortgage holiday could increase your overall mortgage payment by £1,331.95. While mortgage holders will likely see a manageable additional payment added to their mortgage each month, over time, this amount can make the cost of buying a home more expensive.

With the mortgage payment holiday option extended to six-months, it is vital people don’t just take the holiday break because they are comfortable with it. As with all major financial decisions, it is crucial people evaluate their options and find an option which is best for their needs.

Salman Haqqi is a Personal Finance expert at money.co.uk, and he said: “Mortgage holidays have proved to be a lifeline for millions of homeowners, who would have otherwise struggled to meet their payments and may have faced losing their homes. However, our findings show that payment holidays should be a short-term fix. It’s important to remember that you will still owe the money and interest will continue to accrue while the deferred payments remain unpaid. And in most cases when a customer takes a three-month payment holiday in a 21-year or 252-month mortgage, the end date of the mortgage doesn’t get automatically extended, so the customer now needs to pay back the mortgage in 249 months.”

Another thing to consider about a mortgage payment holiday is whether it will have an impact on your credit score. Initially, assurances were made that taking a mortgage holiday wouldn’t negatively affect your credit score. However, with mortgage payment holidays being extended, there is a chance that the holiday will be considered in credit scores. There is also the issue as to whether lenders will view holiday payments in a negative light.

Xpress Mortgages director Rachel Lummis says: “I do believe that taking a mortgage payment holiday will have an impact when making an application in the future. I expect the lender will want to know why the borrower took one, what their current situation is and ensure that there are no affordability issues going forward. Questions will most certainly be asked.”

Rachel continued by saying; “We have already seen that some buy-to-let applicants who have taken a payment holiday with a lender and either been in the process or then applied for a new mortgage with the same lender are being told their application cannot continue. The mortgage payment holiday scheme is a lifeline to many and the right thing to do. But others who took a payment break without absolutely needing to may regret doing so further down the line.”

Applying for a mortgage is the last thing many people are considering, but for some individuals and households, now is the right time. Mortgage lenders are still active, so anyone interested in arranging a mortgage, should prepare themselves for the process, and speak with industry experts.

 

New Help For First Time Buyers But Barriers Remain

New Help For First Time Buyers But Barriers Remain

One of the key indicators that the mortgage market is beginning to stabilise can be seen in the range of products being launched to the market. One example of this comes from the Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank re-introducing its 90% LTV mortgage for first-time buyers.

This is a three-year fixed-rate mortgage that comes with an initial rate of 2.39% which reverts to 4.55%. Some of the critical features of this mortgage are that there is no product fee, there are free valuations, and there is a £250 cashback offer.

This product is just one of the options which are being offered to first-time buyers. There is a considerable level of uncertainty in the property market. However, in uncertainty, there are opportunities. For some first-time buyers, the market is not welcoming at this time, but for other would-be buyers, there is a genuine opportunity.

Therefore, first-time buyers should feel optimistic that there are options to consider, but equally, those looking for the best products might have a longer wait.

Physical valuations face lengthy delays

This is because there is likely to be a lengthy wait for mortgages with a 5% deposit, and this is directly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mortgage lenders need to consider their risk when offering mortgage products, and it seems as though lenders are not willing to offer their most appealing mortgages without a physical valuation.

Research carried out by Moneyfacts indicates HSBC is the only company offering a 90% LTV mortgage through the use of automated valuations right now.

It is easy for people, and the industry, to focus on the financial challenges associated with COVID-19, but there are logistical and physical barriers to overcome in the market as well. While the housing market re-opened in May 2019, there is still a hesitancy to carry out physical valuations. Government guidance on social distancing advises against this, which creates a natural barrier in the mortgage market.

Backlog in the market will delay property deals

With lockdown restrictions loosening in June, there might be some movement in the market, but it should be remembered there is a backlog in the market. Figures provided by Zoopla suggest a total of 370,000 houses have been delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown. Since the market re-opened, some of these deals have concluded, but there are still deals in limbo because of the need to arrange a physical valuation.

There is an estimate that there is a backlog of 60,000 properties requiring a physical valuation, and this isn’t going to be cleared overnight.

An interesting aspect in the industry is that the average age of surveyors in the United Kingdom is 55, according to The Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS). When you consider the proportion of employees in this age who have been furloughed or who are self-isolating to protect themselves, there might be a noticeable delay in real property valuations for some time to come in the UK.

Applying for a mortgage is the last thing many people are considering, but for some individuals and households, now is the right time. Mortgage lenders are still active, so anyone interested in arranging a mortgage, should prepare themselves for the process, and speak with industry experts.

Mortgage Products To Support Young Buyers

Mortgage Products To Support Young Buyers

It is fair to say many people have been evaluating their finances in relating to how we deal with COVID-19. Some people have experienced challenges or changes in their job or personal circumstances. For many people, the thought of moving home or buying a house is far from their minds.

However, there will be many people who are in a position to step on the property ladder. With affordable interest rates and an increase in mortgage products from lenders being placed on the market, there will be prospective buyers who have a genuine opportunity to find a solution which helps them buy a home.

Young buyers benefit from structured financial support

Of course, even when there are opportunities to arrange a mortgage and buy a home, young buyers benefit from additional assistance. With many lenders looking to introduce or reintroduce suitable options for all buyers, a product aimed at young borrowers is sure to be of interest to many would-be buyers.

The Principality Building Society has reintroduced its Joint Borrower Sole Proprietor mortgage product. The lender states this mortgage product allows buyers to receive help from relatives in arranging a mortgage. While “the Bank of mum and dad” is often said as an insult, anyone who is in a position to receive support from family members should consider this as a suitable option.

The product allows parents, step-parents, guardians or grandparents to include their income in the affordability assessment of the applicant. Up to four applicants can be placed on the mortgage application, and there is no minimum income level required for the application.

Another critical feature of the product is relatives do not need to be listed on the title deeds. Also, there is no need for the relatives to be classed as joint-owners of the property.

Family members benefit from structure in offering support

While this product will not be suitable for everyone, it will be of significant benefit to some buyers. While some households have family members who are willing to support their loved ones, there is often a need to formalise the support. This style of product provides a structure for financial assistance in buying a home, and products like this can help more people step on the property ladder.

Helen Lewis is the National Account Manager at Principality Building Society and she said: “It’s a challenging time for first-time buyers not only with rising house prices but current uncertainty in the housing market due to coronavirus. We’re pleased to respond to this by reintroducing the Joint Borrower Sole Proprietor offering, which will assist young borrowers wishing to get on the property ladder and support our valued brokers. This product offers additional support for new borrowers to overcome affordability issues and ensure they can get on the ladder as soon as possible.”

Applying for a mortgage is the last thing many people are considering, but for some individuals and households, now is the right time. Mortgage lenders are still active, so anyone interested in arranging a mortgage, should prepare themselves for the process, and speak with industry experts.

Coronavirus, Mortgage Payments And Credit Score

Coronavirus, Mortgage Payments And Credit Score

If you are reviewing your finances in light of the coronavirus, you will be considering your mortgage payments and your credit score. Please review the following information which will help you make an informed decision.

How does a mortgage holiday work?

If you decide to take a mortgage holiday, you must know how this will impact your payments in the future. There are generally two options to make up for the mortgage holiday, which are:

  1. Spreading the missed payments over your remaining monthly mortgage payments
  2. Increasing the length of your mortgage term by the length of your mortgage holiday

In the last example, if you have 12 years left on your mortgage, and you take a three-month mortgage holiday, you will have 12 years and three months left when your mortgage resumes.
Your lender will likely decide which option is most suitable for you. At the moment, it appears as though spreading the cost of missed mortgage payments and the additional interest over the remaining mortgage payments is the default option preferred by lenders. However, be sure to discuss this with your lender to ensure you know what option has been selected.

Other payment holidays on offer

While mortgage holidays are the most commonly discussed form of payment holiday, it is possible to arrange a payment holiday for loans and credit card payments if required. If you are struggling financially, and need additional assistance, you can request a payment holiday.
As with mortgage payment holidays, you must agree on a holiday with your lender or credit card provider. If you fail to notify your lender and stop paying, you run the risk of damaging your credit score and creating significant problems for yourself.

It is unlikely you will need to prove you are struggling. At this time, most lenders aren’t asking for proof that people have been negatively affected by coronavirus for them to provide a payment loan.

However, people should be aware that a payment holiday is not free money. It must be repaid, and there will be additional interest to pay. Taking a payment holiday will cost more in the long-term, even though the short-term relief will be of significant benefit to many.

If you already have significant debt problems, your lender might decide against offering you a payment holiday. Similarly, if the lender believes your job is at risk and will not recover when people return to work, they might decide against offering you a payment holiday.

Will my credit score be affected?

If you agree on a payment holiday with your lender, you should see any adverse impact on your credit report. New credit-reporting guidance allows for an “emergency payment freeze”, crafted concerning the coronavirus. It is always a good idea to arrange confirmation with your lender, but for the majority of people, a payment holiday will not be recorded on their credit score.

Applying for a mortgage is the last thing many people are considering, but for some individuals and households, now is the right time. Mortgage lenders are still active, so anyone interested in arranging a mortgage, should prepare themselves for the process, and speak with industry experts.

Can I Get A Mortgage After Being Furloughed?

Can I Get A Mortgage After Being Furloughed?

It is understandable many people and households have a lot of questions about their finances right now. Your circumstances might need you to review both the short and long-term impact of dealing with COVID-19. Housing and mortgage matters are amongst the most frequently asked questions right now, and the impact of being furloughed is a crucial issue for a lot of people.

Is it possible to get a mortgage after I have been furloughed?

If you are currently furloughed, you likely have a few short-term issues you want answering. You might also have some long-term matters to review, and if you plan on buying a home soon, this is likely to be in your thoughts.

Therefore, it is positive to know there is no reason why being furloughed from your place of work will impact your ability to obtain a mortgage. If you meet the general eligibility criteria imposed by a lender, you are classed as being in employment, so you should be unaffected.

Of course, each lender will have their views on this matter. There is a chance some mortgage lenders will approach applicants who have recently returned from furlough leave with caution. If a lender believes the applicant’s job is at risk, they will scrutinise the application in greater detail.

Not every person who is on furlough has a job which is at risk. However, given the cautious nature of lenders, this is likely to be considered. It might mean a lender offers a less appealing mortgage rate than they would have. Each application is reviewed on its own merits, and being furloughed+

If I am still on furlough, can I apply for a mortgage?

With the furlough scheme being extended to October 2020, there is a chance people will be on the scheme for a longer period. If you are still on furlough when you apply for a mortgage, there is a chance that lenders will scrutinise your application more closely.

There is so much uncertainty in the market right now that no one can say for certain what will happen. After all, each lender has their criteria, and makes their own decisions. However, if there are question marks over your job, or the current financial situation has led you to miss payments which affect your credit score, your mortgage application might not be as robust as you would like it to be.

Can I remortgage after a furlough?

There is no reason why you cannot. With interest rates being favourable, it is easy to see why many homeowners are looking for ways to consolidate their financial matters, and a remortgage is a sensible idea for many homeowners.

If you are currently on furlough, or you have just returned from furlough, this may hamper your chances of arranging a suitable mortgage. However, it shouldn’t be viewed as a barrier to remortgaging and improving your finances. The biggest concern would be if you missed mortgage or other financial payments without having an agreed holiday in place. If you don’t have that issue to contend with, there is no immediate reason you cannot arrange a mortgage.

Applying for a mortgage is the last thing many people are considering, but for some individuals and households, now is the right time. Mortgage lenders are still active, so anyone interested in arranging a mortgage, should prepare themselves for the process, and speak with industry experts.


Reasons For Optimism In Housing Market

Reasons For Optimism In Housing Market

With so much uncertainty right now, it is easy to see why people are choosing to adopt a cautious approach to most things in life. This is the case with the housing market. Even though the UK Government has re-opened the market, there is a wide range of opinions on whether this is the right time to do so.

Some people are looking to move as soon as possible. There are many reasons and circumstances which necessitate a move. Therefore, if people need to move, it is good they can do so, as long as social distancing measures are followed. People who don’t want to move right now are under no obligation to do so.

Of course, in these challenging times, it is vital to look for positive news and causes for optimism. Housing market behaviour in the short-term is difficult to predict, but some leading housing market and mortgage specialists are optimistic about the longer-term future.

Nick Sheratt, from Mojo Mortgages is one of the many experts who has spoken about the mortgage market during the lockdown. He has said; “From a purchase perspective, I am not expecting any significant movements in the short term. We are seeing purchase transactions going ahead. From a re-mortgage perspective we have not seen a great downturn in those transactions, so there is no kick start to the market required. There are some challenges from a conveyancing perspective, naturally. Brokers require support from legal companies and lawyers to ensure we can keep transactions moving.”

Not every comparison rings true

It is natural people look back to previous turbulent times, and try to draw a comparison between then and now. However, those looking at the market crash of 2008 need to realise that these are different circumstances. Yes, both of these eras were extremely problematic, but there is no suggestion the same long-term problems will arise now.

Nick Sheratt continued by saying; "I am calm about house prices. I think we are likely to see some turbulent swings, but in my opinion these will be minimal. Naturally, there will be some trending downwards, but I’m not envisaging anything like what we saw a decade ago. I think once lockdown ends, we will naturally see a spike in transactions, where people have been waiting to try and get their homes in place."

With Rightmove issuing positive figures for the tentative first days of the housing market re-opening, there is a suggestion that buyers are keen to move sooner rather than later.
One reason to be positive about the market is the fact mortgage products are increasing, and mortgage lenders are offering more support. When lockdown started, the priority of most lenders was to focus on people requesting a mortgage holiday. After this, current customers looking to re-mortgage was a priority.

Given many mortgage lenders were operating with a smaller workforce, this was understandable. However, as we move forward, it is heartening to see a broader range of mortgage products available to choose from. Also, with interest rates being at a historically low level in the UK, there is an opportunity for many people to find an affordable mortgage.

Applying for a mortgage is the last thing many people are considering, but for some individuals and households, now is the right time. Mortgage lenders are still active, so anyone interested in arranging a mortgage, should prepare themselves for the process, and speak with industry experts.


[1] https://www.express.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/1275399/mortgages-property-market-housing-coronavirus-crisis
Rise In Mortgage Products Positive Sign

Rise In Mortgage Products Positive Sign

While news that the Government has re-opened the housing market has received mixed opinions, there is no denying that it is a positive sign for the long-term future of the market. While people must follow social distancing guidelines, and stay safe, the sooner firms and people move forward, the better for many reasons.

There has been a demand for the housing market, and initial figures provided by Rightmove suggest many people were waiting to move.

  • For the day the property market re-opened, there was a 111% week-on-week increase in new sales listings
  • The number of unique enquiry demand from the day before the market to the day the market opened doubled, and was just 10% less than the same day in 2019

Rightmove property expert, Miles Shipside, said; "Unique enquiries on property for sale doubled from the day before, though we expect consistent momentum to rebuild over several months rather than weeks. With no new seller asking price data it’s too early to comment on price movements, though high demand is needed to support a stable market."

Many factors influence people’s ability to buy, and the number of mortgage products available in the market is a crucial element. Miles Shipside also spoke about mortgage options supporting the marketing, saying; "If there are attractive lower deposit mortgages available it would help sustain the recovery in activity. The industry has been caught by surprise, as we were all expecting the housing market to stay closed until at least June."

The housing market is evolving all the time, and there will likely be changes to what buyers want in a home. There is a strong chance that gardens and home-office space will become crucial factors for people looking for their next house. Also, if more people can work remotely, there is a chance that city or town-centre living becomes less appealing for many households.

All these factors will influence buyer behaviour, but as Rightmove suggested, mortgage products shape the market. A recent review of the market undertaken by Mortgage Brain indicates the number of mortgage products available is rising throughout the lockdown.

For the last week of April, there was an increase of 5.9% for mortgage products available on the market. At this point, there were 8,044 mortgage products available, which was a rise of 488 on the previous week. Crucially, this was also the second consecutive rise, indicating the mortgage market is moving in the right direction.

Kevin Dunn is a Director at Furnley House, and he said; "Last week we thankfully saw the return to the market of some higher loan to value deals from some of the bigger lenders. Hopefully this will have a ripple effect to give other lenders the confidence to return more products to the market too. There are definitely some green shoots to suggest the market is slowly coming back."

Applying for a mortgage is the last thing many people are considering, but for some individuals and households, now is the right time. Mortgage lenders are still active, so anyone interested in arranging a mortgage, should prepare themselves for the process, and speak with industry experts.
[1] https://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/news/product-numbers-rise-by-5-9-mortgage-brain/
[2] https://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/property-news/housing-market-reopens-in-england
FCA Guidance For Mortgages During Coronavirus Crisis

FCA Guidance For Mortgages During Coronavirus Crisis

In dealing with the Coronavirus crisis, it is imperative to follow guidelines and rules from specialists and experts. This applies to health matters, social distancing recommendations, and on how individual sectors are responding to the Coronavirus crisis.

Understandably, many people are looking for assurance regarding finance and mortgage payments during the Coronavirus crisis. This is why it is vital to heed advice and recommendations from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

What is the FCA, and what do they do?

The FCA is the conduct regulator for 59,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the United Kingdom. The FCA is also the prudential regulator for more than 18,000 of these companies. The FCA was established on 1 April 2013, taking over from the Financial Services Authority.

The Financial Conduct Authority is the conduct regulator for 59,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK and the prudential regulator for over 18,000 of those firms.

The FCA has issued a broad range of guidance on how they expect mortgage lenders and administrators to support clients and customers in the current situation. Therefore, it is imperative mortgage holders, brokers, lenders and anyone with interest in the market follow the guidelines.

Applying for a payment holiday

Anyone who is experiencing, or who expects to experience, difficulties in paying their mortgage due to the Coronavirus should contact their lender. Mortgage holders shouldn’t cancel their direct debit without speaking with their lender.

Any mortgage holder who cancels their payment without authorisation will be deemed to have missed their payment. This may be reflected on the mortgage holder’s credit file, which could hamper their ability to re-mortgage or arrange credit in the future.

Unless the lender has stated otherwise, interest will be charged during the mortgage payment holiday. It is up the lender and mortgage holder to agree upon a manageable way to cover the missed payments.

No one knows how long the current circumstances will run for. Therefore, a lender who experiences a more extended period of being unable to pay their mortgage should contact the lender. The lender may be able to offer an extended holiday period or may offer alternative arrangements.

If you are still not able to make your full mortgage payments due to circumstances relating to Coronavirus, then the lender may offer you a further payment holiday, or other arrangements, if these are appropriate to your circumstances.

Anyone who isn’t experiencing difficulties in paying their mortgage should not apply for a mortgage holiday.

Anyone who was struggling with mortgage payments before the Coronavirus crisis or whose struggles to pay their mortgage don’t relate to the Coronavirus, should contact their lender. A lender may be able to offer other solutions or guidance for people in this position.

No matter the reason, it is best for a mortgage holder to engage their lender with concerns as quickly as possible.

As circumstances change, guidance might be updated, so mortgage holders should stay up to date with information. However, it is clear the FCA recommends lenders and mortgage holders communicate quickly and clearly.

[1] https://www.fca.org.uk/about/the-fca
Mortgage Rates Falling For Those Looking To Buy

Mortgage Rates Falling For Those Looking To Buy

While we must all do what we can in the current climate, it is essential to remember not everyone is facing the same struggle or challenges. Therefore, while many people are looking for help in the form of mortgage payment holidays, there will be other people who are actively looking to arrange a mortgage.

The property market and mortgage sector are still operating. Firms are following social distancing regulations, caring for customers and team members, while still running as close to “normal” as they can. Therefore, anyone looking to arrange a mortgage in the current climate, can do so.

However, it is vital to recognise these are not normal circumstances. The market is performing differently at the moment, which may hamper some people’s efforts to arrange a mortgage. Conversely, some people may find the current situation aligned with their personal circumstances creates an opportunity to arrange a suitable mortgage.

Anyone considering their mortgage options should speak with an expert to assess their situation.

Mortgage rates have fallen

The Bank of England base rate impacts on many mortgages, and two cuts in March 2020 have affected the mortgage market. On 11th March 2020, the base rate was lowered to 0.25% from 0.75%. On 19th March, the base rate was further lowered to 0.1%

Research undertaken at the end of March by Moneyfacts.co.uk suggest that from 11th March, the average fixed five-year mortgage rate fell by 0.05% and the average two-year fixed mortgage rate decreased by 0.06%. For the same time-frame, the average Standard Variable Rate (SVR) dropped to 0.14%.

A finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, Eleanor Williams, said; “The recent withdrawal of many higher LTV mortgage products and home purchase products is hopefully a temporary measure while lenders reassess risk in this area of the market and work out what it will be possible for them to offer while the current restrictions are in place. With so much uncertainty at the moment, providers seem to initially be focusing on the support that their existing customers may need in the coming weeks.”

The market is offering fewer mortgage options

People looking for a mortgage can take comfort from these reductions. However, it should also be noted many lenders have withdrawn mortgage products in the current climate. According to figures provided by Moneyfacts, between 11th March 2020 and the end of March, a total of 1,585 mortgage products have been withdrawn from the market.

Nationwide removed all their high loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages to focus on meeting the needs of existing customers.

This hampers the ability of potential property buyers looking to arrange a mortgage, but it will also likely affect current mortgage holders looking to remortgage their property. It is expected many people are keen to review their finances in the current climate. It is easy to see why lenders are offering fewer products, but this may harm some of their customers.

It makes sense for people to assess their circumstances. Current mortgage holders should speak with their lender if they have any concerns. Anyone looking to arrange a mortgage should speak with an experienced professional from the industry.

[1] https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/boeapps/iadb/Repo.asp
[2] https://moneyfacts.co.uk/news/mortgages/mortgage-rates-fall-but-mortgage-lenders-withdraw-products/#
Pros and Cons of Mortgage Holidays

Pros and Cons of Mortgage Holidays

For homeowners, mortgage payments are usually their biggest outgoing. Given the importance of having a roof over our heads, it is also the most significant outgoing people have. In challenging financial times, mortgage holders should prioritise their mortgage payment.

Therefore, it is natural that during the current Coronavirus crisis, many people are concerned about managing mortgage payments. This is why the Government was swift to announce support for homeowners. It was announced that mortgage payment holidays of up to three months would be made available to those who required it.

Statement from the Building Societies Association

Usually, a lender would review a client’s finances before deciding which form of support is most pertinent for them. However, this process is being waived in the current climate. Firms have greater flexibility to place mortgage holders into an appropriate system.

Robin Fieth, Chief Executive of the Building Societies Association (BSA), said: “Lenders and borrowers face an unprecedented set of circumstances.  People who would have been preparing and expecting to move house in the coming weeks now face a wait until COVID-19 restrictions can be lifted.  Our hearts go out to them, and our heads are clear that it would be unfair for these people to have to start their mortgage application all over again once life returns to a more normal state.  A three-month extension of existing mortgage offers seems a fair and reasonable step to take.

Fieth continued by saying; “It is possible that some borrowers financial circumstances may change during the three months.  If this happens, or the terms of the purchase change, we will work closely with the borrower to achieve a sensible outcome.

The Pros and Cons of arranging a mortgage holiday

While knowing there is support on offer for people who need it is helpful, not everyone should take a mortgage holiday. There are Pros and Cons of a mortgage holiday, and each mortgage holder should consider their circumstances.

Pros of a mortgage holiday
  • Not having to pay money now, which is vital if you are struggling because of the Coronavirus crisis
  • You will give yourself breathing space, reducing stress and giving yourself time and space to consider your options
  • The BSA says lenders will take steps to ensure clients don’t jeopardise their credit score by taking a mortgage holiday
Cons of a mortgage holiday
  • A mortgage holiday is not free money, and it will need to be paid later
  • Interest accrued at this time will be added to the payment, leading to higher monthly payments for borrowers

Mortgage holders must determine what impact, if any, a mortgage payment holiday will have on their payments, the length of their mortgage term, and whether it will appear on their credit file.

It is vital mortgage holders don’t stop making payments without arranging a holiday with their lender. Taking a mortgage holiday without agreement from a lender will cause the account to go into arrears, and this will hamper their credit file.

It is comforting to know there is support for homeowners during the Coronavirus crisis. However, just because a mortgage payment holiday is on offer doesn’t mean mortgage holders must take it. Review your options, and if you must, speak with a mortgage specialist to determine your position.

[¹] https://www.bsa.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/lenders-to-give-three-month-mortgage-offer-extensi
You Can Still Apply For A Mortgage

You Can Still Apply For A Mortgage

Understandably, many people are not focusing on matters as they usually would, but equally, there is a need for people to maintain as “normal” a life as possible. A lot of industries are trying to operate as best as they can, adhering to social distancing recommendations while making themselves available for their clients.

The Government has issued recommendations to the housing market, but the market is still operating. The same can be said for the mortgage sector. It is vital people stay up to date with what is happening in the market, and make themselves aware mortgage lenders are still offering mortgages.

Some lenders are offering a limited range, and some companies have tightened their criteria, but mortgages are still on offer. It pays to be diligent and present a robust application at the best of times. Nevertheless, in the current climate, all potential applicants should review their options and ensure they make a compelling argument with their application.

Agents are still offering valuations

One of the most integral aspects of applying for a mortgage is having a property valuation. Lenders will review the home applicants wish to buy, and will decide if the mortgage offer is acceptable for the property. Also, homeowners who are looking to sell their current home when purchasing another benefit from having their current home valued.

While there are limitations as to what agents can do in valuing a home, it is still possible to conduct a virtual viewing. Even with Government guidance requesting agents don’t visit homes, video technology and understanding of a local market ensures a value can be placed on a property.

Therefore, lenders can still receive information enabling them to determine whether they should offer a mortgage or not.

Lenders are keen to offer mortgages

While lenders are imposing stricter criteria on loans, they are still looking to provide this service. There are attractive mortgage rates on offer to candidates who meet criteria, which means this may be an ideal time for some buyers to be active in the market.

Technology will drive the market forward

Video connectivity will help in valuing property during the mortgage process, but this isn’t the only way technology will drive the mortgage industry forward. Interviews can be conducted live over a video connection. There is a wide range of social and business apps which allow for real-time engagement, and many lenders will look to engage clients in this manner.

Also, document signing apps and technology will ensure safe and secure transferring of documents. While these are unprecedented times, lenders cannot afford to compromise on security or anti-fraud checks. This will mean many lenders will place more considerable significance on technology in reviewing documents and sharing information.

Some lenders have already embraced new ways of working, but the current challenges will see many more companies utilise advanced communication methods.

Applying for a mortgage is the last thing many people are considering, but for some individuals and households, now is the right time. Mortgage lenders are still active, so anyone interested in arranging a mortgage, should prepare themselves for the process, and speak with industry experts.

Mistakes You Must Avoid When Arranging A Mortgagee

Mistakes You Must Avoid When Arranging A Mortgage

Applying for a mortgage is one of the most significant steps you will take in life. It is important to follow guidance and tips based on the experience of applying for mortgages. However, while it is vital to follow advice and guidance from successful applications, it is also useful to be aware of the mistakes that people make when arranging a mortgage.

If you are aware of the mistakes which hamper people’s applications, you can avoid these problems. Doing so enhances the chances of appealing to lenders and receiving the mortgage backing you require.

Switching jobs before applying for a mortgage is often a mistake

Getting a new job is usually a happy occasion, but if you change jobs and then apply for a mortgage, you may increase your chances of experiencing bad news. Mortgage lenders are looking for consistency and a steady source of income.

If your application indicates that you change job regularly, or that you don’t have a reliable source of income, lenders will look upon your application less favourably than they would if you had a consistent CV.

This isn’t to say that you cannot change jobs and apply for a mortgage, but if you have several features which stack up against you, you diminish your chances.

Not researching your options is a mistake when applying for a mortgage

There are many mortgages to choose from. You may not have a lot of time, but if you fail to review a wide range of options, you may limit your chances of successfully arranging a mortgage. You want to give yourself as much chance of success as you can, so speak to professionals and make sure you research as many mortgage options as you can.

Not doing your sums correctly is a mistake for mortgage applicants

Your finances and knowing what you can afford is essential when applying for a mortgage. If you make inaccurate calculations in your application, you will likely hamper your chances of arranging a mortgage. Lenders will assess your application thoroughly, and if they find any errors or problems, they will have no hesitation in rejecting your application.

Not knowing and understanding your credit score

Your credit score is essential in your application. If you don’t review your credit score before making an application, you may be wasting your time. It is always worthwhile checking your credit report to ensure there are no mistakes. If there is an error, contact the relevant authorities to ensure this is rectified.

Also, consider your score and research if this is likely to provide you with a suitable mortgage offer. If not, it is best to take steps to improve your credit rating before you make an application. Quick tips for improving your credit score include:

  • Ensuring your current address is on the electoral register
  • Pay down your debts as much as you can
  • Don’t make other credit applications in the build-up to applying for a mortgage

If you can avoid these mistakes when applying for a mortgage, you enhance your chances of receiving a suitable mortgage offer.

Self-Employed Professionals – You Can Get A Mortgage

Self-Employed Professionals – You Can Get A Mortgage

With self-employment figures in the UK reaching 4.8 million people in 2017, this is an important part of the workforce. By those figures, people in self-employment accounted for 15.1% of the labour force, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that this number has grown since. Therefore, self-employment is an integral part of the economy, and there is a need for these people to receive the support that people in traditional roles receive.

This is the case when it comes to mortgages. Traditionally, people who are self-employed struggle have struggled to arrange a mortgage. Some lenders have not welcomed their application while others have subjected the claims to rigorous testing. It is right that lenders apply strict criteria to mortgage applications. Still, the difficulties faced by many self-employed professionals have made many shy away from the thought of owning their home.

Nowadays, the market or economy cannot afford to overlook this group of potential buyers. With more than 15% of the labour force classed as self-employed, removing this group would significantly damage the number of potential buyers. Therefore, lenders have been tasked with finding ways to offer more options that are suitable for this group.

A growing number of lenders are offering mortgages which are tailored to the needs of people in self-employment. It is likely the process is slightly more arduous than the traditional mortgage application, but equally, it should be manageable. With people in self-employment more likely to be comfortable or experienced in tax-returns and financial matters, there is a grounding in these matters.

Be prepared for the mortgage application process

If you are self-employed and you want to apply for a mortgage, you must prepare yourself. There are many documents you will need to provide to the mortgage lender, so it makes sense to have these ready in advance of the application.

If you have a contract for any work you carry out, this will be useful to have. Also, if you can provide any contract history of the past three years, this will strengthen your application. It would be best if you were willing to provide two years’ accounts and at least three months of personal and business banking statements. You may also find it useful to offer a CV and breakdown of the work you undertake.

It would help if you made as compelling an argument as you can about your suitability for a mortgage. The more relevant information you provide to a lender, the more likely it will be that they will approve your application, or provide you with an acceptable offer.

It would help if you also spoke with experts

Applying for a mortgage is a stressful and challenging activity, but help is available. As a self-employed professional, you will understand the importance of calling on an expert to do the job they are trained in. This is likely how you receive job offers, and it makes sense for you to follow this approach when applying for a mortgage.

[¹] https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/.../trendsinselfemploymentintheuk/2018-02-07
2020 Buyers: Mortgage Tips To Start Your Search?

2020 Buyers: Mortgage Tips To Start Your Search

The start of 2020 has provided us all with a reminder of how quickly things can change in a short period of time. It is understandable that many people will put home buying on the back burner for now, but at the start of 2020, there was a spike of house hunters looking for a property.

No one knows what is going to happen over the upcoming weeks and months, but hopefully, there will be a return to the buyer behaviour experienced at the start of the year. Industry experts believe the increase in buyer activity at the start of 2020 relates to a release in the pent-up demand for property, and this may be repeated.

The year started with confidence and optimism in the housing market

Mark Hayward is the Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark, and he said: “It’s positive to see the New Year has brought some much-needed confidence to the market, with a significant increase in demand from house hunters following the general election result. A clear strategy is needed to tackle key issues such as stamp duty costs, which needs to be addressed in its entirety to encourage more frequent moves, improve affordability and relax punitive financial tax on home movers.

We appreciate you may not want to buy a home or arrange a mortgage today, but if you have more time, you may find it is useful to consider your options and prepare yourself to apply for a mortgage later on this year.

Leading tips to consider when preparing for a mortgage include:

  • Review your credit score and take steps to improve this
  • Do the sums and make sure you know what you can afford to pay each month
  • Try to minimise your debt as much as you can
  • Collect information that offers proof of income and your finances
  • Start to save as much of a deposit as you can
  • Review your mortgage options and consider what is best for you
  • Get advice from experts and experienced professionals
Common sense is a crucial component when considering a mortgage

Most of the advice for first-time buyers is based on common sense. Saving for a deposit and ensuring your credit score is as attractive as possible makes sense, as these are the elements which influence the decision made by mortgage lenders. If you make yourself more appealing to mortgage lenders, you will find that you improve your chances of obtaining an affordable mortgage.

You should also be turning to experts for assistance and guidance. There are so many areas of life where you should turn to experts for help rather than rushing ahead yourself, and arranging a mortgage is one of these things. The importance of owning property, and the implications of not paying a mortgage, are not to be taken lightly.

It is imperative you consider the ramifications of arranging a mortgage, but thankfully, there is more than enough support and guidance to choose from. If you are hopeful of owning a property in the next few years, this time may be the ideal opportunity to plan for this.

How An ISA Helps You Step On Property Ladder?

How An ISA Helps You Step On Property Ladder?

Buying a home is an expensive time, but it is also a challenging prospect. Many first-time buyers struggle to step on to the property ladder. Saving as much money as you can for a deposit is sensible, and you should be looking for assistance in this activity.

A Lifetime ISA is a smart option to boost your funds. With a recent study by UK Finance suggesting that the typical first-time buyer needs a deposit of around £50,000 to buy their first home, any help buyers can get is more than welcome. This sum of money is based on saving for a deposit equivalent to 23% of the average property value.

It makes sense to save as much of a deposit as you can

However, even if you are fortunate enough to arrange a mortgage that only requires a 5% or 10% deposit, you still need to save a lot of money. A 10% deposit for the average priced property in the UK is around £23,000, and anyone buying in London would need around £45,000.

Therefore, a 25% boost on top of your savings would be very welcome, and this is what is available with a Lifetime ISA. This offer is available for people aged between 18 and 40 who are keen to step on the property ladder. With savers able to save £4,000 each year, there is a chance to boost your savings by £1,000 on an annual basis.

While you must open this account before you reach 40 years old, if you do, you can continue to make payments after this time. The Government bonus is applicable until you hit 50, so there is an opportunity for people approaching 40 to receive a significant benefit in their savings.

Couples can enhance their saving by working separately

Any potential buyer who was in a position to save £4,000 a year could save a £50,000 deposit in 12 and a half years. Also, if you are saving as a couple and have the funds to do so, you can open individual accounts. In doing so, and by saving £4,000 each per year, it would be possible to save a £50,000 deposit in five years.

While many potential buyers will feel saving this amount of money each year is beyond them, it is an excellent option for other buyers to consider. If you are focused on saving for a deposit and buying your first home, it makes sense to utilise every advantage that is open to you.

With the Help To Buy ISA scheme closed to new customers, this option is likely to be an attractive one. While the interest rates on the Lifetime ISA scheme isn’t as appealing as the rates were for Help To Buy customers, there is no point in looking back and wondering what might have been. If you are only starting your property buying adventure now, you should focus on what is available to you.

Saving for a home is a challenging process, and the cost of the deposit is a massive hurdle. First-time buyers should look for assistance, and a Lifetime ISA may be a great option.

Improve Your Chances Of Getting A Mortgage In 2020

Improve Your Chances Of Getting A Mortgage In 2020

With an increased level of optimism regarding the UK housing market, it is inevitable many people will look into buying a home this year. With estate agents and online property portals saying they witnessed an increase in house-hunter registrations¹ after the General Election of December 2019, this year may be the ideal time to step on the property ladder.

Miles Shipside is Rightmove’s director and their housing market analyst, and he spoke about the increase of buyers, saying; “The housing market dislikes uncertainty, and the unsettled political outlook over the last three and a half years since the EU referendum caused some potential home-movers to hesitate. There now seems to be a release of this pent-up demand.”

If you wish to join the influx of people stepping onto the property ladder this year, it makes sense to improve your chances of getting a mortgage in 2020.

Save for a deposit

One of the most significant barriers to homeownership is saving enough money to pay for the deposit. This should be one of the areas you focus on to ensure you achieve your property ambitions.

A sensible starting point is knowing how much you need to save. As a minimum, you need to save at least 5% of the property price.However, the more money you can save to use as a deposit, the better. Lenders offer more attractive mortgage rates when the buyer is able to provide a sizable deposit. If you want to significantly enhance your chances of being accepted for a mortgage, and getting the best possible rate, you need to save a suitable deposit.

Tips to consider include:

  • Open a savings account or ISA aimed at raising a deposit
  • Review your expenditure and look for ways to lower your spending
  • Look for schemes which provide you with cash back when you shop
  • Consider ways you can improve your income
  • If permissible, consider asking family members for assistance
Improve your credit score

Another important aspect of arranging a mortgage is to have a reputable credit score. Lenders review applicants credit score, and the better the score, the more likely it is the applicant will be accepted and receive an appealing offer.

You should check your credit score with one of the leading agencies which hold files (Experian and Equifax). Both agencies contain different information, so there is no harm in reviewing all three records.

It is helpful to know your score because this makes it easier to assess if you should apply right now. Also, if there are any errors or omissions on your file, have these rectified before you apply for a mortgage.

Other tips to consider in improving your credit score:

  • Ensure your correct address is on the Electoral roll
  • Pay bills by direct debit
  • Ensure your credit cards aren’t close to their limit
  • Don’t apply for credit too often

If you follow these tips, you will be in a better place to apply for a mortgage. You should then contact a mortgage broker, and review your options with them. Working with a dependable broker will ensure you see what options you have, and you will receive guidance on what to do next in your application.

Xpress Mortgages has a team of mortgage experts who are happy to help, so please get in touch.

[¹] https://www.mansionglobal.com /articles/u-k-house-hunters-flood-britains-leading-listing-site-211326
Improve Your Chances Of Getting A Mortgage In 2020

Would Lifetime Mortgages Help People Buy A Home?

Given the challenges many people face in arranging a mortgage and buying a home, it is natural people are looking for assistance.One solution for many potential homeowners is a lifetime mortgage. Therefore, a growing number of prospective buyers are asking would lifetime mortgages help people buy a home.

What is a lifetime mortgage?

With a conventional mortgage, interest is charged on a sum that decreases over time. However, with a lifetime mortgage, interest is charged on an increasing quantity. The interest on the mortgage is added to the outstanding amount each year. You will find most lifetime mortgages carry a fixed rate of interest.

With a lifetime mortgage, you will not repay more than the property value.

How do I arrange a lifetime mortgage?

You should enquire if a lifetime mortgage is available to you because not all lenders offer this style of mortgage. For some lenders, there is a strict lending criterion in place. For a lifetime mortgage, there isa minimum age, which is usually around 55 or 60 years old, depending on the lender.

With this style of mortgage, the amount you can borrow increases as you get older. Usually, people aged 65 are allowed to borrow a maximum of between 25% and 30%. However, older people can often borrow up to50% of the value of their property.

Many lenders require properties to hold a minimum value, and there are minimum loan amounts in place.

What are the different types of lifetime mortgage?

There is more than one option to consider with lifetime mortgages, so make sure you know what your options are. The leading forms of lifetime mortgage are:

  • A lump sum
  • Flexible lifetime mortgage
  • Enhanced lifetime mortgages

With a lump sum, you receive all the money at once, while the interest payable is “rolled up” over the full term. The borrower doesn’t pay anything for the rest of their life, but the interest is compounded annually until the mortgage holder dies or moves into a residential care home. The interest rate is usually fixed from the start with a lump sum mortgage.

With a flexible lifetime mortgage, you can draw a smaller amount of money at the start, and they draw additional amounts as and when required. Interest is only payable on the money which has been withdrawn, which means this style of lifetime mortgage is more affordable.

Enhanced lifetime mortgages are available for mortgage holders with a lower than average life expectancy. These funds can be used to arrange care for later life.

With many homeowners looking to draw on the value of their home, this style of mortgage can bring a range of benefits. Some people wish to support their loved ones before they pass away, and this style of re-mortgage can help them do so. There is also the fact that many people want to see out their golden years in great style and comfort, and this option helps them with the process.

With an ageing population in Great Britain, the mortgage market is evolving to meet the needs of buyers and homeowners. Xpress Mortgages has a team of mortgage experts who are happy to help, so please get in touch.

Should Mortgage Applications Be Simpler?

Should Mortgage Applications Be Simpler?

As buying a home is the most substantial commitment you will make in your life, it is no surprise that many people face challenges in arranging a mortgage and then buying the property. Saving for a deposit is a challenge, and you must also ensure you have a credit score which appeals to mortgage lenders. Given the size of commitment people make when buying a home, it shouldn’t be simple to purchase a property, but some applicants are surprised at how challenging the process.

In a study undertaken by Experian in 2018[¹], a fifth of first-time buyers stated saving money is a challenge for them. However, more than a quarter of applicants said it was the mortgage application process which was the most challenging element.

Amir Goshtai of Experian said; “Getting a mortgage is one of the biggest financial commitments many consumers will make in their lifetime, and our research shows it can be overwhelming.”

Homebuyers face additional costs when arranging a mortgage

Experian also said it is the additional costs of arranging a mortgage that is most challenging to buyers. Their report says close to one-third of buyers underestimated the cost of moving home, after they had saved a deposit of 10% of the property price.

28% of mortgage applicants said they didn’t know how much they would have to pay in legal fees, 24% were unaware of what they would pay in survey costs, 19% didn’t know how much they would pay in estate agent fees, and 15% were left in the dark over the cost of stamp duty. Of course, since then, the regulations regarding stamp duty charges for first-time buyers[²] are no longer applicable, or at least more affordable.

For buyers aged between 25 and 34 years old, a lot of these fees were surprising. 44% admitted they were unaware of these charges, which is more substantial than other age groups. One-third of respondents aged between 35 and 44 were unaware of the charges, 29% of people aged between 45 and 54 didn’t know about these charges, and 22 of people aged 55 or older were unaware of these charges.

Will mortgage applications become easier to manage?

However, with improvements in digital applications, some people in the mortgage industry believe the application process will become more straightforward in years to come. Pete Mugleston is the Managing Director of Online Mortgage Advisor[³], and he said; “I can see, in another 10 years, the mortgage application process being as simple as car insurance for many borrowers. Today, getting an appointment with the bank is tough, and brokers are handling the majority of applications. The Mortgage Market Review (MMR) has tightened regulation, and further ensured borrowers are creditworthy and able to afford their loans.” 

Mortgage applications are taken seriously, and this will always be the case. However, if technological advances make the process easier, many applicants will appreciate the changes. Xpress Mortgages has a team of mortgage experts who are happy to help, so please get in touch.


[¹] https://www.experianplc.com /media/ news/2018/mortgage-application-process-is-the-biggest-hurdle-when-buying-a-house/
[²] https://www.zoopla.co.uk/ moving/buyers-guide/conveyancing/what-do-the-recent-stamp-duty-changes-mean-for-first-time-buyers/
[³] https://www.introducertoday. co.uk/breaking-news/2020/1/mortgage-applications-to-be-as-simple-as-car-insurance-in-the-next-10-years--claim?source=trending
Older Mortgages Are On The Rise

Older Mortgages Are On The Rise

With people living longer in the United Kingdom, it is no surprise there is a rising demand for mortgages which suit people's lives. In data provide by Money facts, it appears homeowners who are looking to borrow money into their 80s want greater choice, and the market is responding.

In 2015, there wasn't a mortgage which allowed borrowers to repay their debt between the ages of 80 and 84 years old. However, with the growing demand for this service, and lenders reacting to commercial pressure, there are now more than 1,000 options for borrowers to choose from.

Lenders needed to limit their mortgage offerings

It is easy to see why lenders limited mortgage options and the availability of borrowing. It wasn't just people looking to borrow at an older age who were limited, and it was people from all backgrounds. In response to strict criteria imposed to restrict risky lending, many banks and mortgage lenders reduced the number of mortgages which were available to people who were aged 65 or older.

Even people who had pensionable income struggled to convince banks to offer them a loan into their 70s. However, this is no longer the case, and in the present day, there are only 18 mortgage offers which have a maximum age restriction between 65 and 69 years old. In 2014, there were more than 900mortgage deals with this criterion.

Darren Cook, a finance expert at Moneyfacts[¹], says: “Over the past five years, mortgage providers have become far more accommodating to borrowers who wish, or may have no alternative but to extend their mortgage term well past the official pension age."

Darren continued by saying; "The scaling back of strict criteria around the maximum age at the end of a mortgage must be a welcome relief for those borrowers who may have reached the end of their mortgage at 65 on an interest-only mortgage and have had few options available to turn to."

People want more mortgage options

While banks remain conservative, it appears the change in outlook is being driven by building societies. Eight building societies are willing to provide mortgages to lenders who will be 85 years old after the mortgage term. Some societies don't have an upper age limit, and who instead impose a maximum term on their mortgage offers. As an example, the Ipswich Building Society provides a 40-year term mortgage.

Taking this to its natural conclusion, a mortgage applicant at the age of 60 years old could receive a mortgage they wouldn't pay off until they were 100 years old.

With more people enjoying a good standard of living for longer, it is natural mortgage products will evolve to meet the needs of these clients. The pension age is under review[²], and people may be expected to work to an older age before they can enjoy their retirement. 

Xpress Mortgages has a team of mortgage experts who are happy to help, so please get in touch.

[¹] https://moneyfacts.co.uk/news/ mortgages/lenders-relax-maximum-mortgage-age/
[²] https://www.gov.uk/ government/news/proposed-new-timetable-for-state-pension-age-increases
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