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Remortgages funded Xmas

Consumers releasing equity from their homes via remortgaging may have been the biggest source of funds for record-breaking spending over Christmas and the new year.

Research from Hamptons Mortgages reveals that average UK property values grew by 12% on a year-on-year basis in December last year.

At the same time, the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show a 7.09% year-on-year rise in remortgage values.

This indicates that the remortgage market is growing along with the residential mortgage market, and consumers are releasing equity from their homes.

Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s are two of the big names to reveal strong trading figures in the run-up to Christmas and market expectations are that this trend will continue into 2007.

Jonathan Cornell, technical director at Hamptons, says: “Consumers are cashing in on the continued strong growth in property prices and taking equity out of their homes to spend on the high street, on home improvements or on buying more property.

“For most consumers, remortgaging is better value than other forms of finance such as credit, store cards or bank loans.”

Mike Fry, director of Halton Insurance Services, says: “I would always dissuade people from using a remortgage as a means of paying off debts gathered from spending.

“Remortgaging is a long-term option that you could be paying off for 20 years. It’s not the perfect way to pay off small debts.”

Mortgage Minds is looking to increase its broker force by more than 140%, hiring 100 people.

To allow it to do this the brokerage will be moving up to the fourth floor in the offices of its parent company The Mortgage Times Group, situated above the Dominion theatre on London’s Tottenham Court Road.

The space, previously occupied by Mortgage Times’ packaging department, has been vacant for just over a month. The packaging department recently moved to offices nearby.

Mark Bowler, director of Mortgage Minds, says: “We have seen fantastic growth over the past two years and have become a major player in the broking market. We also have aggressive expansion plans for this year and aim to become the largest brokerage by the end of 2007.

“We’d like intermediaries who aren’t satisfied with their present set-up to come and see how attractive our proposition is in comparison with the rest of the market. We are always looking for quality brokers to join Mortgage Minds.”

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