Money Insider: Beware...don't cut out middle man as you look for a mortgage

 

The number of new mortgages being taken out may be well short of the volumes seen in the heady days before the banking crisis, but that doesn't mean the job of finding the best mortgage gets any easier.

The number of home loans on offer is mind-boggling and even if you've already worked out whether it's a variable rate or fixed rate product that you're going to plump for you still need to fathom out which is the cheapest option for you.

Unlike personal loans or credit cards the answer isn't as straightforward as referring to a best buy table on a comparison website , although many lenders still market attention-grabbing interest rates, hoping it will be sufficient to win custom from those who don't take the time to shop around or use an independent mortgage broker.

Unfortunately some lenders carry on bypassing the broker community and sell their products directly via branch networks or increasingly online, a situation which has hit the intermediary market hard.

Banks and building societies continue to develop products with profit margins based on a wide range of rate and fee combinations, and for the man in the street it can be a big headache.

One of the biggest problems for consumers is working out which is the most appropriate mortgage based on the total cost, not just the interest rate but also the associated fees which can vary enormously.

Selecting the most appropriate mortgage product isn't a two-minute job because it's not a case of one mortgage fits all. The factors to consider include the length of the term and the amount you're looking to borrow.

It doesn't help matters when you read headlines such as those that surfaced this week saying mortgage fees are at their highest ever. But what about the impact of lower interest rates which have fallen sharply over the last few months?

That sort of ill-judged scaremongering is more down to a craving for column inches rather than a desire to help the consumer.

When you consider your mortgage is likely to be the biggest financial transaction you'll ever undertake, it makes sense to seek advice to ensure you don't make what could be a potentially expensive mistake.

We need to see more lenders supporting the declining intermediary market, as without it increasing numbers of consumers could end up paying over the odds for their home loan.

Savers lose out again in the hunt for an ISA

We're just a few days into the new tax year and already savers are facing an uphill struggle to find an ISA paying a half-decent return.

An increased cash ISA allowance of £5,760 for 2013/14, up £120 on last year, has done little to offset the low interest rates on offer compared with 12 months ago.

The appetite for new funds from banks and building societies is almost non-existent with Funding for Lending providing all the cheap money they require.

Savers have seen best-buy ISAs disappear before their eyes. Last Friday many were looking at 2.55 per cent from Leeds Building Society and 2.50 per cent from Santander as two of the best instant access accounts, and the two-year fixed ISA from Santander at 2.80 per cent was also a stand-out.

By Monday all three had been pulled, a sign that providers simply don't have the desire for customer deposits as in previous years, and for some the ISA offering has been little more than a token marketing gesture.

The Government is constantly reminding us that it wants us all to save more for our retirement, but if it can't create an economic environment to stimulate the short-term savings culture the long-term savings aspirations that George Osborne may have for this country haven't got a hope in hell.

For well over four years now customers have had to put up with a toxic cocktail of paltry savings interest rates and stubborn inflation.

Funding for Lending may be helping mortgage customers and the construction industry, but when will the Government wake up and realise the savings culture in the UK is dying a slow and painful death? Time for a big rethink and maybe a Funding for Saving initiative.

Andrew Hagger is an independent personal finance analyst from www.moneycomms.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

    £13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...

    Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

    £25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Assistant - Financial Services Sector - London

    £20400 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and highly reputable organisat...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future