Money: So how are you fixed for a mortgage?

MONEY TALK

Are mortgage rates going up? Yes and no. Headline rates have already risen by one percentage point or more this year to close to 8.5 per cent, reflecting increases in the base rate, and there's probably another 0.5 points or more to come. These hikes are hitting discounted mortgages as well as standard-rate ones. But new fixed-rate mortgages are at their cheapest for a long time, with a whole range of lenders offering five- year fixes at below 7 per cent.

To the layman this might seem a bit odd - common sense says borrowers should be charged more, not less, for the certainties of a fixed-rate deal. Underlying this admittedly unusual situation is the prospect of European monetary union, which has resulted in a marked recent fall in longer-term UK interest rates. On the downside, and for much the same reason, people coming up to retirement will find that many pension plans will buy much lower pensions than previously, and many of the best fixed- rate savings deals are being withdrawn.

For a free copy of the Independent on Sunday's "Guide to Mortgages", sponsored by Barclays Mortgages, fill in the coupon (right) or call 0800 585691.

This week it was an Australian insurer, AMP, giving a reminder of just how much money might still be forthcoming from windfalls. The Aussie insurer is giving those eligible - which include 200,000 AMP and London Life policyholders - free shares worth an average of pounds 3,000, double previous estimates. Some policyholders can expect shares worth pounds 8,000. Qualifying policyholders should receive details any day now of the vote to join the stock market. If all goes to plan, the shares will be handed out next summer.

Nor may this be the last of the good news from down under for carpetbaggers. This year AMP has already tried to take over one of Britain's dwindling band of mutual insurers, Scottish Amicable. The Aussies lost out to the men from the Pru, but are still looking at expanding over here, and it is not hard to see AMP buying either a building society for the high- street presence or another insurer. Potential targets include the usual suspects - probably the bigger rather than smaller societies, such as Nationwide and any number of insurers, including Scottish Provident and NPI. Britannia building society, which also has its own established insurer, Britannia Life, might satisfy both ambitions.

Meantime, I have yet to hear a whisper from a single "no windfalls" building society boss after my challenge last week to pledge themselves to resign if they ever sold out. I even put the challenge direct to Nationwide, the biggest remaining society, which claims it is hatching new plans to prove the benefits of mutuality. But I understand my challenge is in the in-tray of chief exec Brian Davis...

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Payroll & Accounts Assistant

£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week