News Column

Mortgage borrowers to face tougher checks on ability to pay

June 27, 2014

ellen thomas; ellen thomas

HOMEBUYERS will be capped from October on the amount of money they can borrow for mortgages, with tougher checks on whether they can afford repayments.

The Bank of England'sFinancial Policy Committee (FPC) said that loans of 4.5 times a borrower's income or higher should account for no more than 15 per cent of new mortgages.

Announcing the new restrictions, the Bank of England also said that lenders should apply a new "stress test" to ensure that borrowers can keep up their mortgage repayments in the event of a rise of up to 3 per cent in interest rates over the first five years of the loan.

Philip Hogg, chief executive of industry body Homes for Scotland, said: "We are pleased that the Bank of England has listened to calls for a targeted response addressing areas where house prices are at significantly higher multiples to income, and support the principle of sustainable, responsible lending.

"As all commentators have recognised, there are no signs of a housing bubble in Scotland, where market rec-overy is still very fragile."

Lloyd Cochrane, head of mortgages at NatWest and RBS, said: "We recognise the need to manage any signs of pressure in the housing market and welcome the changes."

Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that nationally, 9 per cent of new home loans are for 4.5 times income or more, while this figure is 19 per cent in London.

Matthew Pointon, a property economist at Capital Economics, said that as there are no regional restrictions, the share of such loans in the capital could rise further without the national limit being breached.

He said: "Essentially, the FPC has designed these measures so they have no impact if the housing market evolves as they forecast, but will kick in if it accelerates faster than anticipated."

Mortgage offers made before the plans come into effect on October 1 will count towards the new limits, meaning lenders will be taking them into account.


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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)


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