The FCA has confirmed the support mortgage borrowers will receive if they continue to face payment difficulties due to coronavirus. The guidance covers those who still face financial difficulties, as well as those whose financial situation may be newly affected by coronavirus after the current guidance ends.
Difficulty accessing mortgages are preventing prospective homebuyers from taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday, according to new research. It found that 52% of current homeowners want to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, but are concerned about their ability to get a mortgage. Following the introduction of the holiday on 8th July 2020, 32% of prospective homebuyers said they have been denied a mortgage and further 43% have been gazumped.
The government has announced a further four-week extension to the eviction ban for tenants affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. This means that landlords in England and Wales will be banned from evicting tenants until at least 20 September 2020. This takes the total ban to 6 months. The government has also announced plans to give tenants greater protection from eviction over the winter by requiring landlords to provide tenants with a new 6 months’ notice period (extended from 3 months’) in all bar those cases raising other serious issues such as those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators, until at least 31 March 2021. The Scottish government has also introduced a ban on evictions until March 2021 and there is currently an extended 12-week notice period in Northern Ireland.
House prices have recovered from the recent dip during the Covid-19 pandemic to reach an all-time high in August, according to the latest Nationwide house price index. The figures show that UK house prices rose by 2.0% in August, after taking account of seasonal effects, following a 1.8% rise in July. This is the highest monthly rise since February 2004 (2.7%). As a result, annual house price growth accelerated from 1.5% last month to 3.7%. House prices have now reversed the losses recorded in May and June and are at a new all-time high.
The mortgage market showed more signs of recovery in July, but remained weak in comparison to pre-Covid, according to the latest Money and Credit statistics from the Bank of England. Mortgage approvals increased to 66,300, up from 39,900 in June. Approvals are now 10% below the February level of 73,700, but more than seven times higher than the trough of 9,300 in May. Approvals for remortgaging with a different lender are little changed compared to June, at 36,000. They remain 30% lower than in February. Net mortgage borrowing was £2.7 billion in July, higher than the £2.4 billion in June but below the average of £4.2 billion in the six months to February 2020. The increase on the month reflected a slight increase in gross borrowing to £17.4 billion in July, below the pre-Covid February level of £23.7 billion.