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Encourage clients to review regularly

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Don’t let your clients make too much hay while the sun shines – they should monitor their needs at regular intervals

It has been seven years since the Bank of England slashed interest rates to the current historic low of 0.5 per cent. During this period, savers have had to endure some tough times.

On the flip side, however, increased competition between lenders has given rise to some much needed positivity among borrowers. This period of interest rate and general market stability has been defined by the steady growth in gross fixed-rate mortgage lending. According to the latest

Mortgage Lenders and Administrators Return statistics, this increased from 81 per cent in the third quarter of 2015 to 84 per cent in Q4 2015.

The data shows average interest rates on gross advances decreased by 5bps in Q4 2015 to 2.7 per cent: the lowest rate since the series began in 2007.

The interest rates on total amounts outstanding dropped by 4bps to 3.1 per cent in Q4 2015, again reflecting a new low.

The proportion of lending to first-time buyers was also found to have increased in the quarter, by 0.5 percentage points to 20.9 per cent. The total value of those loans rose by £2bn annually to £13.2bn.

Meanwhile, the proportion of remortgages also increased, from 24.1 per cent in Q3 2015 to 25 per cent in Q4.

These positive statistics highlight the available opportunities for borrowers in the current lending environment.

However, despite this long period of solidity, there is little room for complacency. Borrowers need to be enlightened about the importance of constantly assessing their needs: both fiscal and holistic.

Tony Fullbrook is head of mortgage purchases at Barclays Mortgages



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