An estimated third of employees spend at least some of their week working from home with high speed broadband rising up the criteria list for new house buyers. Evidence suggests that broadband speeds could affect the price that buyers end up paying for their next move.
An analysis of average house prices and broadband download speeds by local authority reveals that buyers spend, on average, 17% more for properties in areas with superfast broadband compared to areas where average speeds are less than 25 Mbps.
Some of this will be related to where broadband providers have historically focused their investment, ie, in more affluent areas, but with the major providers increasing their coverage, this effect will become more diluted. Indeed, the Government has committed to provide superfast broadband (at least 24Mbps) to at least 95% of UK premises.
There are a myriad of factors that affect local property prices but the influence of broadband speeds should not be underestimated with its importance to buyers set to continue to increase.
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Halifax, one of Britain’s biggest lenders, has recently relaxed the criteria borrowers are required to meet if they want an interest-only mortgage.
With this type of mortgage, as the name suggests, you only repay the interest on the amount you’ve borrowed each month. The capital must be repaid when the mortgage term ends.
Homeowners used to need a minimum £1million pension pot to be eligible for an interest-only mortgage with Halifax.
Now they only need to prove they have a pension which will reach £400,000 by the time they retire.
They can also sell their home as a means of paying back what they owe. To be eligible, however, homeowners must have an income of £100,000 or more, or £150,000 if applying as a couple. They must also have at least £200,000 equity in the property.
Interest-only deals were very popular prior to the credit crunch, but lenders have since made it harder to qualify for this type of loan.
Most lenders do still offer interest-only mortgages, but may impose eligibility requirements. For example, Virgin Money will lend on an interest-only basis to borrowers with a joint income of £50,000, while NatWest requires a minimum income of £100,000.
Changes such as those made by Halifax show that lenders are re-assessing their approach to interest-only, although borrowers will still need to demonstrate a repayment plan to ensure it’s appropriate.
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