The return of the FTB?

I am snowed in at home again today, but at least another rate cut means my mortgage, like many others out there, has gone down by another £185 per month. This is nice, but how long can this continue?

I think we now need to take stock of the situation and give the rate cuts time to filter through, leaving at least some room for further manoeuvre if really needed. In the short-term I do not see too much benefit in cutting rates further as this does not actually solve the real issues.

In fact I think it is soon time to fix in to a longer term product and as I have one of Cheltenham & Gloucester’s fine “all weather” mortgages meaning I can switch to a fixed rate when I want I find myself wondering whether to take the plunge sooner rather than later.

Actually I reckon the low point in fixes will be in the next 6 months so I have a bit of time yet, although I believe if I did fix now I would not miss out by much and win in the long term.

Anyway, it was good to see reports from the National Association of Estate Agents backing up our own enquiry experience. That is that first-time buyers made up 22.5% of those registering to look for properties in January, up 10% in December.

Peter Bolton-King, chief executive officer of the NAEA stated, “”During the boom years we saw the number of first-time buyers as a proportion of buyers rise as high as 37 per cent, and I believe that an average of 25% is indicative of a healthy and confident market.”

This is a good sign, but obviously they are limited by a lack of suitable mortgage products at the moment.

In other news I was pleased to see that the Financial Services Authority are looking at regulating the shady sale-and-rent-back sector. This is where struggling homeowners sell their home at a discount to a landlord who allows them to rent it back.

While we have tried to self-regulate this sector there is still not much protection for homeowners and no real guarantees that they are getting a fair price, paying a fair rent, or have proper security that the tenancy will last long enough. It may well not be the best option and to all those thinking about it speak to some independent advisors or solicitors as well as your current mortgage lender before you jump into it.

I have just found out that football is cancelled this weekend which I must admit I am quite happy about. The prospect of standing in the snow with temperatures of -5 degrees did not really appeal. So, have a nice snowy weekend and keep safe and warm.