All posts by

Navigating the festive season financially: A guide to refraining from debt and boosting your credit score

Navigating the festive season financially: A guide to refraining from debt and boosting your credit score

The holiday season – a time for joy, celebration ,and unfortunately, sometimes feeling pressured to overspend. It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of Christmas, but the financial hangover come January is far from enchanting. This alongside current financial challenges and price increases in relation to the cost of living crisis is far from ideal.

So this year, let’s embark on a journey to celebrate without breaking the bank. Here’s your guide to refraining from debt and even improving your credit score during the Christmas spending frenzy.


avoid Christmas debt by setting a budget alongside your Christmas shopping

1. Set a Realistic Budget to avoid Christmas debt

The magic word for a debt-free Christmas holiday is “budget.” Determine how much you can comfortably spend without jeopardising your financial stability. Allocate funds for gifts, decorations and festivities, and stick to your budget religiously.

This means that you will only spend money that you have accounted for and will have no surprises post festive spending.


receive financial pressure by choosing experiences over items this Christmas

2. Consider thoughtful gifts to keep your bank balance happy this Christmas

Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Instead of showering your loved ones with expensive presents, focus on meaningful and thoughtful gifts. Consider handmade items, personalised presents, or even the gift of your time through shared experiences.

Memories made through a shared experience can be enjoyed for several years and can be more precious in the long run. Its could be something as simple as a group meal.


take out your disposable income as cash to avoid overspending when funding Christmas


3. Cash is king when looking to avoid debt with your Christmas spending habits

Embrace the power of cash. When possible, use physical cash for your Christmas purchases. This helps you stay within your budget and minimises the temptation to overspend with credit cards. Avoid putting things on credit cards unless you intend or are in the habit of repaying this fully each month.

The most important thing being to always check your purchases against your set budget during the festive period.


try not to borrow Money to afford Christmas, a great piece of debt advice

4. Resist the Credit Card temptation to avoid racking up Christmas debt

While credit cards offer convenience, they also bring the danger of accumulating debt. If you must use credit, be strategic. Opt for cards with lower interest rates, and commit to paying off the balance as soon as possible.

This will also reflect greatly on your credit score as it will show your commitment to paying off debts in a timely and consistent fashion.


receive pressure in December by keeping track of your bills and budgeting for additional payments

5. Track your spending over the festive period to avoid hidden expenses

Keep a close eye on your expenditures. Create a spreadsheet or use a budgeting app to monitor where your money is going. This awareness can help you make informed decisions and avoid impulsive purchases.


don't avoid your debts to fund Christmas and other debt advice from the mortgage hub

6. Prioritise debt repayment to avoid struggling financially post festive period

If you already have existing debts, prioritise repayment of these as a priority. Allocating a portion of your holiday budget to settle outstanding debts demonstrates financial responsibility and contributes to improving your credit score.


avoid retail finance and repay options to avoid overdraft charges and debt this festive period

7. Avoid Retailer financing over the Christmas period to avoid running debts

Steer clear of store financing options. While “buy now, pay later” schemes may seem tempting, they can lead to increased debt and potentially impact your credit score negatively if you plan to apply for a mortgage in the near future.


calculate how much debt you have before you start to purchase gifts to celebrate Christmas

8. Check your Credit Score over the festive season

Take advantage of the time off during the Christmas holiday season to check your credit score. Knowledge is power, and understanding your credit standing allows you to make informed decisions about your finances.


get ahead of the cost of living Christmas and review your spending for next year

9. Plan for Next Year with smarter spending and budgeting

Consider opening a dedicated savings account for holiday expenses. Contribute a small amount regularly throughout the year, ensuring a stress-free and debt-free Christmas holiday season next year.


find top tips to improve your financial status by reading relevant literacy

10. Educate and empower yourself to improve your spending habits

And finally Familiarise yourself with financial literacy resources. Understanding the basics of budgeting, credit, and debt management empowers you to make wise financial decisions, not just during the Christmas holidays but throughout the year.

This Christmas, let’s celebrate the season without compromising our financial well-being. By embracing a mindful approach to spending, you can enjoy the festivities while laying the foundation for a financially healthy New Year.

Cheers to a joyous, debt-free holiday season! This financial awareness will put you in good stead for 2024 and will have your credit score looking great for 2024. Perfect if you are looking to purchase a new home in the new year.


Mortgage advice and the options available to you

If this does sound like you the get in touch with The Mortgage Hub team directly on 01698 200050 or e-mail

The Mortgage Charter: Your Lifeline in Tough Times

The Mortgage Charter: Your Lifeline in Tough Times

In the ever-evolving landscape of homeownership, financial uncertainties can sometimes cast shadows on our dreams. However, there’s a guiding light – the Mortgage Charter. It’s a beacon of hope, offering vital support and assistance to those facing mortgage-related challenges.


mortgage charter to assist when struggling with monthly mortgage repayments

What is the Mortgage Charter?

The Mortgage Charter is a commitment made by mortgage lenders, endorsed by government agencies and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to provide help and support for homeowners who may be facing financial difficulties. It’s a pledge to be understanding, compassionate, and proactive when borrowers are struggling to meet their mortgage payments.


your mortgage lender is required to help if struggling with monthly payments

Key Provisions of the Mortgage Charter

Created in response to the pressures on households with mortgages, due to rising inflation and increased cost of living, The Charter signifies a significant shift in the approach to mortgage lending.

Lenders are expected to now reach these new expectations which includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Payment Flexibility: Lenders who adopt the Mortgage Charter often offer flexible payment options, which can include temporary payment reductions or even payment holidays in times of financial crisis.
  • Communication and Support: It encourages open and honest communication between lenders and borrowers. If you’re facing difficulties, don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss your situation.
  • Sustainability: The Mortgage Charter emphasises sustainable homeownership. Lenders work with borrowers to find solutions that allow them to keep their homes while also meeting their financial obligations via their monthly payments.
  • Guidance and Advice: Lenders under the Mortgage Charter often provide guidance and financial advice to help borrowers regain their financial footing.


if rising interest rates are affecting your mortgage rates get in touch with your lender

The importance of seeking help if you’re struggling with monthly repayments

If you find yourself in a financial bind and are struggling with your mortgage payments, don’t hesitate to reach out to your lender. They can provide more detailed information about the specific assistance and programs available to you.

Remember, the Mortgage Charter is a lifeline – a commitment by lenders to help homeowners in challenging times. Your home is an important asset, and there are options available to help you protect it, even during difficult periods.

The service is there and available for you to use, so do not struggle with monthly repayments alone.


protect your mortgage deal with the mortgage charter

Conclusion regarding the mortgage charter

The Mortgage Charter is a safety net, a helping hand in times of need. It’s a testament to the commitment of lenders to support homeowners in their journey to financial stability. If you’re facing mortgage-related challenges, reach out to your lender and explore the assistance and options available to you. Your home is more than a structure; it’s a place where your dreams are nurtured, and the Mortgage Charter is here to ensure those dreams endure.

Your home is at risk if you don’t keep up repayments. If you are experiencing financial difficulty act quickly and get in touch with your lender who will explain the various options and support that is available.


discuss mortgage deals, fixed rate mortgage and variable rate mortgage with our mortgage experts

Get in touch with our experts to discuss the mortgage deals available to you

Whether you are looking to discuss any of the above, including your monthly mortgage repayments, or you are a first time buyer, our team are on hand to discuss mortgage deals and the offers that are available to you.

Our team can go over everything from interest rates to the types of mortgages you can choose and they will also advise how each choice could affect your mortgage and will encourage you to think carefully before securing a deal.

Get in touch on 01698 200050 or e-mail

A Deep Dive into 100% Mortgages: What You Need to Know

A Deep Dive into 100% Mortgages: What You Need to Know

The dream of homeownership is a significant goal for many, but for some, saving up for that all-important down payment can feel like an insurmountable hurdle. This is where 100% mortgages may work for some.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what 100% mortgages are, how they work, and the pros and cons associated with this type of home financing.


mortgages uk, what's on offer from a 100% mortgage

Understanding 100% Mortgages

A 100% mortgage is exactly what it sounds like: a loan that covers the cost of your home without requiring a deposit upfront.

Traditionally, homebuyers are required to make a deposit, typically around 5% – 15% of the home’s purchase price, to secure a mortgage. However, 100% mortgages are designed to eliminate this upfront financial burden.


How the mortgage deal works by comparison to other mortgage offers

  • Zero Down Payment: The most obvious feature of a 100% mortgage is that you don’t need to provide a deposit. This means that you can buy a home without having to save thousands of pounds in advance.
  • Higher Interest Rates: To compensate for the added risk associated with 100% mortgages, lenders often charge slightly higher interest rates compared to traditional mortgages. Some lenders may also charge an arrangement fee. This means that you can expect higher monthly mortgage repayments.
  • Credit Requirements: Lenders may have stricter credit score requirements for 100% mortgage applicants to mitigate the higher risk.
  • Income Verification: Expect more rigorous income verification to ensure you can meet your monthly mortgage obligations.


the benefits of a 100% mortgage application

The Pros of 100% Mortgages

However despite a more critical review ahead of being accepted for a 100% mortgage, there are many benefits to taking on one of these deals. These include:

  • No Down Payment: The most significant advantage is that you may be able to get into homeownership without a substantial upfront cash requirement.
  • Quicker Homeownership: You can become a homeowner sooner by comparison to other mortgage deals. Instead of waiting years to save for a deposit, the 100% mortgage will cover the cost of your house purchase with no savings required for the deposit. Any fees such as solicitors, or any arrangement fees will be required to be paid by you.
  • Investment Opportunity: If home prices are rising, you may benefit from the appreciation of your home’s value without needing an initial investment. This is subject to property market behaviour which can fluctuate over time.


the cons of taking out a 100% mortgage as your new deal

The Cons of 100% Mortgages

However it is also beneficial to be aware of some of the negative associations with 100% mortgages from a buyers perspective.

  • Higher Interest Rates: Over the life of the loan, the higher interest rates can result in a significantly larger total repayment amount. Mainly caused by higher repayments on your mortgage.
  • Risk of Negative Equity: On the flip side of what we mentioned above. In the early years of the mortgage, you might owe more than your home is worth, especially if property values decline.
  • Stricter Qualification: Meeting the credit and income requirements can be more challenging.


taking out a new mortgage as a 100% deal

Is a 100% Mortgage Right for You?

Given assessment of both the advantage and disadvantages of a 100% mortgage, the decision to pursue a 100% mortgage depends on your individual financial situation and goals. If you have a good credit score, stable income, and understand the long-term financial implications, it might be a viable option for you. However, carefully weigh the pros and cons and consider your ability to manage all the costs.

Before deciding if a 100% mortgage is for you, important to know all your options. Get in touch with us and we can provide personalised guidance based on your unique circumstances.

Remember that while a 100% mortgage can be a valuable tool for achieving homeownership, it’s crucial to make an informed decision that aligns with your long-term financial goals.


glasgow mortgage advisors open Monday to friday

Speak to one of our expert mortgage advisors today

Whether you’re a first time buyer or you have an existing mortgage deal in place, our team are on hand to answer any queries you may have and can put forward some of the best suited mortgage deals based on your circumstances and requirements.

Get in touch today on 01698 200050 or e-mail

Remortgaging vs Equity Release

Remortgaging vs Equity Release

Remortgaging and equity release are two ways of accessing the equity in your home.

Remortgaging involves taking out a new mortgage on your home and negotiating a deal with your current mortgage provider, which will be subject to additional fees and changes to your monthly repayments.

Meanwhile equity release involves taking out a loan on your home that is secured against the value of the property. The loan can be used to help finance home improvements, pay off debts, or make other investments.

The main difference between equity release vs remortgaging is that equity release has no monthly repayments while remortgaging does. Also it’s important to note that you can remortgage your property at almost any age, whilst equity release is typically only available to people over the age of 55.

Both remortgaging and equity release can be beneficial, but they both have their own pros and cons.

Read on to find out more.

discuss your deal with mortgage providers to find the best option for you

Remortgaging your current mortgage deal

Open to anyone at any time, remortgaging is a great way to save money and access equity in your home. It allows you to switch to a new lender and a new mortgage deal that could provide a better rate, lower monthly payments, or both.

You can remortgage to a new lender to get a better rate or to get a better deal with your current lender. Before you remortgage, you will want to consider your current mortgage loan balance, your current credit score, and your financial situation.

Additionally, you should compare different lenders and their mortgage rates to find the best deal. You can also use online comparison tools to help you compare lenders and find the right deal for you, however a mortgage broker such as ourselves is best placed to do this for you. We not only save you time but we have access to exclusive deals and insights not available to the public.

And, once you have found the best deal, you will need to apply for the remortgage with the new lender and provide proof of your income and assets. Thereafter your new lender will evaluate it and determine whether or not to approve your remortgage.

If approved, your new lender will arrange for the new mortgage to be taken out and your current mortgage will be paid off.

Remortgaging can be a great way to save money and it is usually easier to qualify for than other forms of borrowing, but it is important to make sure that you understand all of the costs associated with the remortgage before you move forward.

If you choose to remortgage to access a sum of money your monthly repayments will usually increase to cover the larger loan amount and it may extend the term of your mortgage. And it is for this reason that some lenders may require you to have a good credit score in order to qualify. Reason being, if you don’t keep up with repayments your home may be repossessed.

discuss your equity release plans with the mortgage hub in Hamilton, Glasgow

Releasing equity from your home

The other option available to you is equity release, if you meet the age criteria.

Equity release comes in the form of a lifetime mortgage or home reversion plan. Both options release equity that you’ve built up in your home, with the options to take either a take payments in installments or to take all the money at once. You will then agree with your personal loan provider to pay it back with interest.

To equate the amount of equity you have built up in your home, you take the current market value of your house and minus any outstanding secured debt you have. This is the total amount of equity you have available to you.

This money could then be used for home improvement, to pay off debts, to help finance a holiday or a car, or indeed to help with care costs for a loved one or to help your family.

A great way to access the equity in your home without having to make any major changes. You do not have to take out a new loan, and the interest rate on the loan may be lower than other types of borrowing. However, you will have to pay the loan back, and you may be subject to high interest rates and fees. Additionally, you may be putting your home at risk if you are unable to make the repayments.

It is for this reason that you should always seek financial advice and consider other options, such as downsizing your home or releasing funds through a retirement plan, before you decide to release equity from your home.



evaluate the deal you have with your current provider to get the best results

An evaluation of remortaging and releasing equity

Both remortgaging and equity release can be a great way to access the equity in your home, but it is important to consider the pros and cons of each option before making a decision. It is also important to speak to a financial advisor or a mortgage broker, such as The Mortgage Hub, to make sure you are getting the best deal for your circumstances.


discuss your current mortgage deal and see the options available from mortgage provider


Discuss your remortgaging options with one of our expert mortgage brokers

If you are looking for ways to release equity or negotiate a new mortgage deal, get in touch with one of our expert brokers to discuss the options available to you.

Our team are available Monday to Saturday on 01698 200050 or e-mail

What is the difference between contents, home and buildings insurance?

What is the difference between contents, home and buildings insurance?

Contents insurance, building insurance and home insurance are all types of insurance policies designed to protect homeowners. However, they each cover different aspects of your property.

Contents and buildings insurance policies can be take out separately, however home insurance cover is a combined package of both, which some find easier to keep on top of and manage.

This being said though, it is still beneficial to look around and explore what options are available and what best suits your budget.

Read on to find out more regarding each type of insurance cover.


contents insurance covers the cost of replacing items in your home

Contents insurance explained

Firstly, let’s discuss contents cover. Home contents insurance specifically covers the belongings inside your home, such as furniture, appliances, and personal possessions. It typically includes furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, jewellery, and other valuable items that you keep in your home.

This insurance also covers your personal belongings when they are away from the home, such as when you are on holiday. It is designed to protect you financially in the event of theft, damage, or loss of your belongings due to various factors, such as fire, water damage, or natural disasters.

If any of the above events were to take place and your home is damaged, the insurer may then pay out to cover the cost of repairing or replacing the items within your home. And as well as this, contents insurance may also cover any legal liability if someone is injured in your home, such as if a visitor slips on a wet floor in your kitchen or if a family pet causes damage to someone else’s property. This is provided you take legal cover as part of your policy which does increase the cost of cover.

However it’s important to note that contents insurance policies will vary between providers, so it’s vital that you read the terms and conditions carefully before signing up. Make sure you know what is included in the cover and what is excluded. And you can expect the cost of contents insurance to fluctuate depending on the type and amount of cover you need, the value of the items you want to insure, any previous claims you have made and the level of risk in your area.


buildings insurance covers damage and protects the structure of your home

Buildings insurance explained

On the other hand, buildings insurance focuses on the physical structure of your home, including the walls, roof, and foundation. It can cover your home or other residential buildings from damage caused by events such as fires, floods, storms, subsidence, theft, vandalism and more.

Buildings insurance can also cover the cost of repairs, or even rebuilding your home in the event of a total loss. As well as this the cost of clearing away debris and even the cost of alternative accommodation if you’re unable to stay in your home during the process of repairs may also be covered.

However buildings insurance can vary greatly, depending on the type of cover you’re looking for and the insurer you choose, so make sure you shop around for the best policy for you. It’s also important to remember that you’ll usually need to take out buildings insurance before you can get a mortgage and you may need to provide proof of cover to your lender.

You should also make sure to read the small print of your policy carefully, so you know what’s covered and what’s not.


get in touch with the mortgage hub to discuss types of home insurance

Home insurance explained

Finally, there is home insurance – a comprehensive policy that combines both contents and buildings insurance often referred to as buildings & contents insurance. .

It offers coverage for both your personal belongings and the physical structure of your home. As above, this can include damage caused by storms, flooding, fires, even theft. It can also provide liability coverage for people who are injured on your property, provided your policy includes this.

Home insurance policies can vary in terms of the amount of coverage they offer, the amount of money they cover for each event, and the types of events they cover. Generally speaking, home insurance policies provide coverage for the structure of your home, your personal belongings, and any additional buildings such as a guest house or shed. Whilst some home insurance policies may also provide additional coverage for things like landscaping or other structures on your property.

Home insurance policies usually have deductibles or an excess, which is the amount of money you must pay out of your own pocket before your home insurance coverage kicks in. The higher the excess /deductible, the lower your premiums will be.

Be sure to read all of the details of your policy from your provider and ask questions if something is unclear.


get in touch with mortgage hub to discuss your home insurance policy

Interested in discussing your insurance policy with an expert?

It is important to carefully review the terms and coverage of each type of insurance to ensure you have the appropriate level of protection for your home. If you’re feeling a little uncertain and would like some more guidance, get in touch with your local experts at The Mortgage Hub (Monday to Saturday), on 01698 200050 or e-mail

Our team are on hand to answer any queries you may have and can research the available insurance options available to you based on your requirements.

Or click here for information regarding the further types of insurance that we offer independent guidance on.

Banks offer help to mortgage holders

Banks offer help to mortgage holders

Following the latest rate rise that saw interest rates hit 5% on June 22 2023, bank bosses met with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Rates went up last month to try and tackle inflation which remains unchanged from the previous month at 8.7%

As a result of the meeting, banks have agreed to offer more flexibility to those struggling with their repayments in the wake of the latest rise in rates. Borrowers can temporarily change their mortgage term to allow them to make lower, interest-only repayments for a short time before reverting back to the original terms.

Moreover, those who opt for this change won’t adversely affect their credit score, which it may have done previously.

Anyone who misses mortgage payments or takes a mortgage holiday that pauses their repayments altogether (something commonplace during the pandemic) will still affect a borrower’s ability to secure lending in the future.

Along with agreeing to let borrowers switch to interest-only to help manage their finances, lenders will delay any repossession proceedings for 12 months.

Cost of living crisis explained

The result of high inflation is that we are still in a cost-of-living crisis; not only are mortgages rising for those on a variable rate or coming to the end of their fixed rate period, but energy prices and the cost of goods and services are stubbornly high.

Those who are renting, they may find that their rent goes up as Landlords’ mortgages rise. Some organisations, such as the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), lobby for government action. They are calling for the reintroduction of mortgage interest relief and the unfreezing of housing benefit rates and believe that the current interest rate of 5% will result in landlords selling off as many as 735,000 rental properties which will fuel the ongoing supply and demand crisis across the private rented sector, pushing up prices further.

What is the government doing to assist?

Currently, the government won’t step in to support borrowers as this could undermine the battle against inflation. The government instead aims to stick to the current plan and ‘hold its nerve’.

One of the reasons that interest rates have gone up is to reduce people’s disposable income. So offering more support for mortgage holders could be counterproductive and work against the Bank of England’s policy. Rising interest rates can also reduce economic spending by boosting the incentive to save money. However, this provides little comfort to those unable to make ends meet.

What does this mean for my mortgage?

The average two-year fixed-rate mortgage is currently at 6.19%. According to financial data firm Moneyfacts, the five-year rate is about to hit 6%.

Following the latest rate rise, the average two-year tracker mortgage rate rose to 5.66% from 5.49%. Compare this to June 2022, and rates were half that.

Recently MPs have criticised banks for failing to pass rate rises on in full to savers with easy-access accounts – something that we hope will change shortly.

These latest changes will make a big difference to those at risk of losing their homes because they fall behind in their mortgage payments.

In addition, it will help those who have to change their mortgage because their fixed rate ends, and they’re worried about the impact on their family finances.

Get in touch with Mortgage Hub to discuss your requirements

If you would like to find out about these latest changes and how they could affect you, contact our mortgage specialists at The Mortgage Hub. Our team are available Monday to Saturday on 01698 200050 or e-mail

Interest Rates and Your Finances – what does the rise mean for you?

Interest Rates and Your Finances

Following the May rise in interest rates to 4.5%, many people are now wondering what that means for their mortgages.

Lenders regularly review the interest rates of their mortgage products, adjusting the deals available to those looking to buy their first home or remortgage their existing property.

The Bank of England (BoE) meets every six weeks to decide whether the Base Rate should go up or down or stay the same. Last month, the interest rate went up 0.25% percentage points, from 4.25% to 4.5%.

What does the interest rate increase mean for your mortgage payments?

This rate rise is unwelcome news for those with a mortgage on a variable rate – this could be a base rate tracker, discounted-rate deal, or a lender’s standard variable rate (SVR).

For those on a tracker mortgage, their deal directly follows the base rate, and at 5.25%, their repayments will rise by £21 per month if they have a £150k repayment mortgage with a 20-year term. Compare this to last year; that same homeowner will have been paying £776 a month, indicating a rise in the previous 12 months.

A Standard Variable Rate mortgage goes up at the lender’s discretion. However, these are likely to go up even if not by the total 0.25% percentage points.

For those on a fixed-rate mortgage, this news will not impact their mortgage repayments each month. This accounts for around six million households in the UK – but if their current deal is about to end, they will feel the impact of the increase in their monthly payments. If they are coming to the end of a 2-year fixed rate, they could be used to paying around 1.5 to 2% and will experience a big jump.

US investment group Goldman Sachs anticipates rates will rise to 5% this summer.

Mortgage rates are increasing by an average of 0.39% across all LTVs, and these latest interest rate changes hardest hit those with a 10 or 15% deposit. However, some lenders are trying to remain as competitive as they can.

What does the increased interest rate mean for savings rates?

 The Bank began raising interest rates at the end of 2021, and at this time, the best easy-access savings rate was 0.67%. Following the rate rises, the rates for savers have improved, and the highest easy access savings rate is now 3.71% – this is significantly below the inflation rate of around 10%. Following the recent rate rise, several savings providers have raised rates to be competitive and attract new customers.

For those who don’t need an easy access account, rates of 4.91% are available – but this means tying up funds for two to five years.

The Commons Treasury select committee has recently campaigned to encourage high street banks to increase the savings rates offered to loyal customers. While the online accounts above pay relatively attractive interest rates, easy-access accounts at many big banks still provide meagre returns.

How does the increased interest rate affect credit card and loans?

When interest rates go up, so do the rates on borrowing via credit cards and loans. If you already have a loan, it’s likely to be on a fixed rate, so your repayment won’t change. If you have a credit card, it may be worth moving it to an interest-free offer. However, you will need to pay a transfer fee.

Are house prices falling as a result of the increased interest rate?

According to the latest House Price Index from Zoopla, buyers and sellers are pressing ahead with their plans despite the rate rise. Recent inflation figures might still put a brake on market activity however.

The Index shows that:

  • UK house prices have dropped 1.3% over the last two quarters but this is now a slow reduction.
  • Lower mortgage rates in the first half of this year supported an increase in housing market activity.
  • Confidence is improving.
  • Housing market conditions vary across the country with weaker demand in areas where house prices have risen the most.
  • The likelihood of further interest rate rises may weaken demand and market activity at the end of 2023.

House prices are currently falling slower than they did at the end of last year, indicating some improved confidence from both buyers and sellers. In fact, the number of property sales in the UK has increased due to lower mortgage rates over recent months. The strong labour market has also prevented prices from falling further.

The annual rate of house price growth is 1.9% for the UK – down from 9.6% last year – ranging from -0.2% in London to 3.6% in Wales. House prices are expected to remain broadly the same for the rest of the year despite inflation data currently being higher than predicted. Mortgage rates could rise in the coming months which will impact house prices.

Looking for more information/ mortgage advice?

If you want to know how the recent interest rate rise might affect you, talk to the team at The Mortgage Hub. We can help you with your new mortgage or find a deal if you are coming to the end of your existing deal.

How Does Conveyancing Work?

How Does Conveyancing Work?

If you’re looking to buy or sell a property, it’s important to understand that the conveyancing process in Scotland has some unique elements that differ from the process in other parts of the UK. Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one person to another. It is typically carried out by a conveyancing solicitor or chartered conveyancer.

One of the key differences in Scotland is that estate agents often handle the conveyancing process, which means that conveyancers are more involved in the selling process than they are in other parts of the UK. The responsibility for providing the Home Report lies with the seller, not the buyer.

The documentation involved during conveyancing in Scotland

Instead of exchanging contracts, as is done in the rest of the UK, the process in Scotland involves a series of letters known as “missives” between the solicitors representing the relevant parties.

In Scotland, there is also a “Note of Interest”. This document notifies the selling agent of the buyer’s interest in the property, as well as the fact that Stamp Duty Land Tax has been replaced with Land Buildings and Transaction Tax.

Gazumping is when a seller accepts a higher offer for their property from a different buyer after already accepting an offer from another buyer. Essentially, it means that the original buyer has been “outbid” by a new buyer, even though their offer had already been accepted. This practice can be frustrating for the original buyer, as they may have already invested time and money in the conveyancing process, only to have the sale fall through due to the seller accepting a higher offer from someone else. In Scotland, guidelines from the Law Society aim to reduce the risk of gazumping, as once a conveyancer accepts an offer on behalf of the seller, they are not permitted to accept subsequent offers from other buyers. If another offer is made, and the seller wishes to accept it, their solicitor must withdraw from acting on their behalf, and they must find another conveyancing solicitor to complete the sale.

This can prolong the time it takes to buy or sell a house and potentially increase the cost of selling the property.

How do you begin the conveyancing process?

When find a home you would like to buy in Scotland, you must engage a solicitor to formally note your interest with the selling agent. This action does not obligate you to make a purchase, but it will enable you to remain informed about developments such as when an offer should be made. You will be notified of the closing date, which is the date when the seller stops accepting offers on the property. The seller will subsequently decide which offer to accept.

The seller needs to supply a Home Report when a potential buyer shows interest. This report is a legal requirement and provides crucial information about the property. Sellers must take the cost of producing a Home Report into account when preparing to sell their property. It’s important to note that the process is different in Scotland than in England, so individuals moving from England to Scotland should be aware of this.

What’s included in a home report?

The Home Report comprises two main parts: the Property Questionnaire and the Energy Report. The Property Questionnaire contains information about the property, including the council tax band, while the Energy Report rates the property’s energy efficiency and environmental impact. It also provides an estimated cost for heating, lighting, and hot water in the property. The Energy Report also includes details for seeking advice on how to make the property more energy-efficient and reduce fuel costs.

While the Home Report is available to potential buyers, they may still opt to arrange an individual survey at an additional cost. Missives, a series of letters exchanged between the buyer’s and seller’s solicitors, are used to negotiate and agree on the final terms of the sale. These letters include terms and conditions, and the seller formally accepts the buyer’s offer. The process is equivalent to the exchange of contracts in England and Wales.

The letters go back and forth between parties until a qualified acceptance is reached, known as “the conclusion of missives.” It’s essential to note that if a buyer wishes to pull out of the sale, it must be done before the conclusion of missives. Once missives are concluded, neither the buyer nor the seller can withdraw from the transaction.

While there is no exact time frame for conveyancing, the process in Scotland is generally quicker than in the rest of the UK.

How does Stamp Duty work in Scotland?

LBTT is the equivalent of Stamp Duty in Scotland, having replaced the previous Stamp Duty Land Tax in April 2015. Administered by Revenue Scotland with support from Registers of Scotland (RoS), LBTT is typically paid by the solicitor on behalf of the buyer. Like Stamp Duty and the Land Transaction Tax in Wales, LBTT applies to both residential and commercial land and building transactions above a certain value, with tax payable at varying rates for each portion of the purchase price within specific tax bands.

  • 0% on properties up to £145,000
  • 2% on properties between £145,001 and £250,000
  • 5% on properties between £250,001 and £325,000
  • 10% on properties between £325,001 and £750,000
  • 12% on properties over £750,000

For commercial properties, the LBTT rates are as follows:

  • 0% on properties up to £150,000
  • 1% on properties between £150,001 and £250,000
  • 5% on properties over £250,000

It’s important to note that these rates and bands can change over time with government budget announcements. Your solicitor will be able to provide you with up-to-date information on LBTT rates and how much you will be required to pay.

For more advice on the home buying process, talk to us at The Mortgage Hub.

Confidence Returns to the Property Market

Confidence Returns to the Property Market

The high property prices and the sharp rise in prices from 2021 to 2022 weren’t sustainable. With rising mortgage rates over the last 18 months, we expect a natural tip towards a more stable and realistic property market. We hope that as the market stabilises, many buyers will be encouraged to implement their moving plans. Although there may be a slight house price fall in some localised areas, it’s important to remember that many homeowners have seen a sharp rise in the value of their homes since the pandemic.

Despite the recent rise in the Bank of England base rate to 4.25%, mortgage rates are steadying. In addition, Zoopla has reported that there are currently 65% more homes for sale than in March 2022 – and this lack of demand was driving house prices to record high levels. With many more buyers and sellers active in the property market, 11% more sales are being agreed across the UK than in 2019.

Increased sales volumes

The mini-budget in October 2022 caused panic in the UK markets, and in the days following the budget, many lenders pulled their mortgage products, making buyers and sellers nervous to proceed with their plans. However, after the autumn statement, the market stabilised; since then, we have seen cautious improvements.

Sales volumes are increasing slowly in recent weeks at the same as in October. At present, agreed sales are 11% higher than in 2019, and demand from buyers is 16% higher. Homes are now selling faster in all regions of the UK.

This means that we are seeing more normal pre-pandemic market conditions after the post-pandemic property boom between 2020 and 2022.

Preferred property types

Those looking to move to a larger family home are in an ideal position because there is currently a high level of demand at the lower end of the property market. In addition, there’s more choice at the upper end, with many sellers pricing their properties much more realistically and a 4% drop in the asking price, which equates to £14,000. Homes at the bottom of the market are seeing 5% more sales than the upper end.

Those who are upsizing need to carefully consider the higher mortgage costs that will be inucrred. Until the economic outlook becomes more apparent and mortgage rates start to fall, there may be a slight fall in agreed sales this year.

On average, each estate agent lists 25 properties for sale – this is currently nine higher than last year.

Rental rates

There has been a spike in rental rates over the last year, with an 11% rise, continuing to support demand from first-time buyers. This group accounted for 1 in 3 sales last year.

Rental inflation further pushes first-time buyers to move to property ownership, despite the challenges of depositing and the higher mortgage rates.

This year, we expect rental growth to continue, with mortgage rates below rental costs in most regions of the UK, even with the recent rise in rates.

High property demand in Scotland

When looking at the property market in the UK, Scotland is one of the most affordable areas to buy a home. If you are considering moving and want to ensure you get the best deal, talk to our friendly team.