The latest market indicators (FCA; UK Finance) show that mortgage arrears and defaults remain below pre-pandemic levels, which were themselves extremely low. The FCA reported 0.86% of total residential mortgage balances in arrears in the first quarter of 2023 which is significantly lower than the 3.32% rate in 2009.
The proportion of disposable income spent on mortgage payments is currently at 5.4%, compared to around 10% in the 1990s and prior to the financial crisis.
The average homeowner re-mortgaging over the last twelve months had around a 50% loan-to-value ratio. This indicates homeowners have considerable equity in their homes, which makes it easier to manage repayments. Lenders have less than 10% ‘owner-occupier mortgages’ on their books with loan-to-value rates greater than 75%, compared to around 25% before the 2008 financial crisis. Taken together, this puts the market in a significantly stronger position than before.
The lenders – which cover over 75% of the market – agreed to a new mortgage charter providing support residential mortgage customers. These are:
- Anyone worried about their mortgage repayments can call their lender for information and support, without any impact on their credit score and we would encourage you to contact your bank who are there to help.
- Customers won’t be forced to have their homes repossessed within 12 months from their first missed payment.
- Customers approaching the end of a fixed rate deal will be offered the chance to lock in a deal up to six months ahead. They will also be able to apply for a better deal right up until their new term starts, if one is available.
- A new agreement between lenders, the FCA and the government permitting customers to switch to an interest-only mortgage for six months, or extend their mortgage term to reduce their monthly payments and switch back to their original term within the first six months, if they choose to. Both options can be taken without a new affordability check or affecting their credit score.
- Support for customers who are up-to-date with payments to switch to a new mortgage deal at the end of their existing fixed rate deal without another affordability check.
- Providing well-timed information to help customers plan ahead should their current rate be due to end.
- Offer tailored support for anyone struggling and deploy highly trained staff to help customers. This could mean extending their term to reduce their payments, offering a switch to interest only payments, but also a range of other options like a temporary payment deferral or part interest-part repayment. The right option will depend on the customer’s circumstances.