The Financial Services Authority yesterday launched its independent online mortgage tables which will help consumers shop around and compare nearly 1,300 mortgages to find the best value deals.
Available at www.fsa.gov.uk/tables, they cover the core range of mortgage products that are most commonly bought by the majority of consumers.
Consumers will be able to log onto the watchdog's mortgage tables and find information from more than 100 mortgage providers. They will be able to compare:
Interest rates, including both the initial and standard rate as well as the APR, giving a sense of both the short and longer term value offered by an individual product;
Any restrictions, such as early repayment charges. Details can be found in the product summary that is provided for each mortgage;
Fees and incentives, including higher lending fees, valuation fees, set-up fees and cashback;
Flexibility, that is mortgages which allow you to pay less, more or take a payment holiday; and
Whether the mortgage can be linked to your current account so that you pay less interest on your mortgage which could result in you paying off your mortgage sooner.
Beverley Brewster of the FSA's comparative tables team says: “Unlike other websites, these tables are not trying to sell you a mortgage. They're intended to help you shop around and make a shortlist of the best value deals. Then you can explore the ones that interest you in greater detail directly with the provider or broker concerned.
“Don't go on first impressions – look beyond the initial rate and consider the whole package. For example, are there any restrictions or penalties for paying off your mortgage early, additional fees, incentives such as cashback, or flexibility allowing you to pay off more, less or take a payment holiday if you need to? All these features can make a difference to the overall value that you get on your mortgage.”
Launched just over a year ago in October 2001, the watchdog's ground-breaking tables enable consumers to compare the costs and features of a range of financial products, including Unit Trust & OEIC ISAs, personal and stakeholder pensions, investment bonds, mortgage and savings endowments. Annuities tables are planned for spring 2003.