Paula John: Market news

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The Independent Online

GOING UP...

An Englishman's home is his château. The number of English people buying homes abroad has leapt by over 60 per cent in the past seven years, from 129,000 in 2000 to 211,000 last year, according to figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government. But can we trust the numbers from the department responsible for Home Information Packs? Property agency Olive Tree International points out that in 2005 another government source, the Office for National Statistics, claimed the number of overseas buyers was already 257,000. Market research company Mintel puts the figure at 800,000.

GOING DOWN...

More than half of Britons are unsure about which type of mortgage deal they should go for. Fixed-rate mortgages are surging in popularity, despite the fact that interest rates have already fallen this year. Research from Abbey reveals that 31 per cent of homeowners would opt for a fixed rate if they were choosing a mortgage now, and only 7 per cent would choose a tracker deal. Is this caution or confusion at play? While Abbey says that both 10- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are now as popular as the previous favourite, the two-year fixed rate, 58 per cent of borrowers said they were unsure which type they would go for.



GO FIGURE... 58%

Sub-prime mortgages accounted for a smaller proportion of the UK market in 2007 than in 2006. The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) calculates that these homeloans, given to people with less than perfect credit records, accounted for just 6 per cent of mortgages agreed in the UK last year. Given the stink surrounding the term sub-prime, you could be forgiven for thinking that half the population was sinking beneath the weight of a mortgage they should never have been allowed to take out. The reality in Britain is much less dramatic than in the US, where sub-prime counts for 20 per cent of all loans.

Paula John is editor-in-chief of Your Mortgage

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