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Clock ticking for low interest rate time bomb

UK Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) say repossessions have shrunk by 25% year on year. However mortgage largue that mass repossessions are a disaster waiting to happen.

According to statistics released from the CML today, the number of repossessions was 9,800, down from 10,600 in the previous quarter and 13,200 in the first quarter of 2009. Also there was a reported reduction in the overall arrears numbers.

However, mortgage experts fear that low interest rates may be masking a future problem and artificially making mortgages more affordable for beleaguered borrowers.

During the boom times many mortgages were granted from specialist lenders with cheap fixed rates for a limited period to borrowers with a poor credit history or were self employed. The rates after the fixed period were very high, although recently they have been forced down by low interest rates.

Experts argue that these kinds of mortgages are now a ticking time bomb as when normal market conditions resume these mortgages will double in interest rate overnight, in many cases to over 10% interest rates.

Mortgage Expert, Chris Gardner, of UK mortgage and property website Obligo.co.uk said “these types of deals are at rates today that are much lower than they would be under normal market conditions. Borrowers have found themselves with mortgages that are artificially affordable. When rates begin to raise the effect will be disastrous”

Obligo.co.uk calculates that the average £150,000 interest only mortgage for these types of mortgage will increase £625 per month to over £1250 per month.

Gardner went on “Clearly when rates rise back to pre-recession levels these borrowers will struggle to pay and many will get into arrears, and sadly then on to repossession. The problem is compounded by the fact that these self same borrowers cannot remortgage to cheaper deals with other lenders – the lending rules are now so tight for these kinds of borrowers that they now effectively mortgage prisoners – trapped in high rate loans they cannot afford”

Consumers who find themselves in trouble with a mortgage are urged to try renegotiate the terms with their existing lender if possible. In some instances lenders may reduce penalties and exit charges and in some cases have reportedly even paid borrowers to go elsewhere. If direct action with your mortgage lender fails find a reputatable broker and see what can be done. According to Obligo, even in the current market there are lenders who will listen if the loan to value and circumstances are right.

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May 17, 2010 - Posted by | Finance, Mortgage | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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