Mortgage rates falling and set to head even lower

We were never advocates or in agreement with the ‘make government force mortgage rates down’ campaign (albeit on very friendly terms with the campaign promoters). The reason was that rates needed to come down in a natural way or banks would curtail credit or charge more elsewhere, this was a balancing act between sorting out operational costs and back book issues.

The belief we had, and one that does seem to be bearing fruit, was a slower (ie: less popular) road to lower rates, brought about by competition.

This has been happening, it doesn’t make headlines because it’s a slower burn but the trend is under way and it goes like this: more competition equals lower rates, the higher rates spur competition as it attracts new entrants and in time, when matched with a low yield curve, rates will fall.

The introduction of Pepper into the market, along with general competition has meant that the rate reduction cycle has begun. The hallmarks are that firstly, rates are high after a financial crash, that always happens, those high rates bring in …

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KBC launch a ‘quick approval’ process

For a while we have seen competition starting to heat up a little in the mortgage market. Several moves recently have started to demonstrate this further, Bank of Ireland have their ‘pay you to borrow from us’ campaign, KBC had a ‘pay you to switch’ along with rates that beat everybody else.

Now they (KBC) have launched a quick approval process which aims to cut down the time it takes to get approved which at it’s worst was taking up to four weeks with some banks. This is only for an approval in principle, which isn’t worth much (not like a loan offer is) but it is the first step in the mortgage process in terms of getting meaningful feedback from a lender.

They have a first time buyer 1yr fixed rate of 3.5%, short term fixed rates are where banks tend to go to attract business as the first year costs are what many buyers are fixated on rightly or wrongly.

There is one bank rumoured to be considering a return to brokerage, another who shut operations considering re-opening …

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