Loans

Our guide to mortgages

by Madaline Dunn

Deciding to get a mortgage can be an extremely exciting move. That said, it’s not without its complications, and people can feel a little bit bewildered by the process. A recent study by Paymentshield found that over half of adults (52%) aged 18-34 have a poor understanding of the mortgage process. The study also found that 32% of 35 to 44-year olds have a similar lack of understanding.

That said, it’s important to make sure that you’re all clued up when it comes to mortgages so that you get the best deal possible.

It has been widely reported that there’s currently an ongoing price war in the mortgage market, with some lenders offering super-low rates. For example, HSBC and TSB recently unveiled mortgage rates below 1%, with an interest rate of just 0.94%. However, when being drawn in by low rates, it’s important to make sure you’re not caught out by other fees.

At The Salary Calculator, we’ll walk you through some of the basics of the mortgage market. This article will explain:

  • The different types of mortgage rates
  • How to access the better rates
  • Initiatives for first-time buyers
  • Best rated mortgage lenders
  • How to choose the right mortgage for you

The different types of mortgages

There are two types of mortgages out there:

Fixed-rate mortgages: This kind of mortgage will see you pay a fixed rate for a set period of time, usually from between two to ten years.

Variable-rate mortgages: This kind of mortgage is not fixed at a set price, can vary from month to month, and comes in a few different forms.

  • Tracker mortgages: This type of variable mortgage follows or ‘tracks’ a specific index, typically the Bank of England’s base rate, for a set period.
  • Discounted rate mortgages: This type of variable mortgage is set below the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) for a defined period of time.
  • Capped rate mortgages: This type of mortgage is also variable, meaning it can go up or down, but a cap is placed on the level it can rise.

How to access the better rates

When looking to secure the best mortgage rates out there, several factors can improve your chances.

A good credit score is a big factor taken into consideration when lenders make a decision. A low credit score indicates that a borrower may be less financially reliable and more likely to default on payments in the eyes of a lender. Likewise, a high score indicates more stability and less risk.

However, it’s not the be-all and end-all if your credit rating isn’t the highest it can be. You can boost your score. This can be done by making sure you reliably make payments, keeping your credit utilisation low, and building your credit history.

To get the best deal on your mortgage, you must also compare deals. While you may think that you’ve found a good deal, without shopping around, you may miss out. There are lots of comparison websites out there that can help you with your search.

Another good tip for securing a good rate is to try and pay a large deposit if you can afford it. This will show the lender that you are less of a risk credit-wise and lead to lower interest rates.

Initiatives for first-time buyers

There are some schemes to help those buying a home for the first time to make the process a little smoother.

The First Homes scheme was introduced to create more affordable housing and offers homes at a discount of 30% compared to the market price.

The 95% Mortgage Scheme was introduced in the Spring Budget 2021 and allows individuals to borrow up to 95% of a property’s purchase price and secure a mortgage with just a 5% deposit.

Best rated mortgage lenders

In the UK, there are lots of mortgage lenders to choose from, over one-hundred in fact. Some of the biggest lenders include The Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide Building Society, and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Trussle found, when comparing customer satisfaction, the mortgage lenders that scored the highest included Bank of Ireland, Post Office, and Aldermore.

Those that scored the highest regarding the fastest approval of new mortgage submissions included Halifax, BM Solutions, and HSBC.

Choosing the right mortgage for you

Each person will be looking for different things when choosing a mortgage; for example, you could be buying a house for the first time, remortgaging, moving house or even buying to let.  As a result, one size does not fit all.

Mortgage comparison websites are your friend here, and it’s also worth reaching out to a mortgage broker for advice. After all, choosing a mortgage is a life-changing and important decision that will affect you and your finances for years to come.

Moneyfacts, an independent money comparison website, lists that for home-movers, some of the lowest rates are currently offered by NatWest and RBS, which both have a rate of 1.04% for the first two years before returning to 3.59%. Both also have product fees of £995.00.

The lowest three year fixed rate for home-movers comes from Virgin Money, which offers a rate of 2.15%, before reverting back to 4.34% and has a product fee of £995.00.

First-time buyers, meanwhile, can secure one of the lowest rates from First Direct, which offers 2.69% fixed for two years, when it reverts to 3.54%. There is a £490.00 product fee.

NatWest also offers a low rate, at a fixed rate of 2.69%, before returning to 3.59%, with product fees of £995.00.

The lowest five-year fixed rate for first-time buyers can also be found at First Direct at 3.14%, which reverts back to 3.54% after five years.

For those looking to buy-to-let, The Mortgage Works offers a rate of 1.19% for two years before reverting to a 4.74% variable. This mortgage has a 2.00% advance.

Another mortgage with a low rate comes from Virgin Money, which has a rate of 1.48%, for two years before returning to a 4.54% variable, with an arrangement fee of £1995.

Virgin Money also offers the lowest 3-year fixed buy-to-let deal, with a rate of 1.71%, which reverts to a 4.54% variable. It has an arrangement fee of 4.54% Variable.

It’s worth noting that just because these providers offer the lowest rates doesn’t mean that they are necessarily the best deals. When making a decision, it’s important to factor in total product fees, incentives and the full costs. Rates are also constantly changing, so it’s best to review the charts regularly before settling.

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Wednesday, July 28th, 2021 Mortgages No Comments

None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

Interest rates in the UK

by Madaline Dunn

When it comes to borrowing, be it for a mortgage or a loan, an interest rate will be applied to the amount you borrow. The same goes for any savings you accumulate. That said, it can be tricky to get your head around the ins and outs of interest rates.

According to a study conducted by MoneySuperMarket, 70% of those polled didn’t know what the base rate was. That means there are lots of people out there that could do with a helping hand.

At The Salary Calculator, we’ll give you the rundown of interest rates in the UK and make sure you’re updated with the latest. This article will explain:

  • What an interest rate is
  • What the base rate is 
  • What the current interest rates are
  • The different types of interest rates
  • Whether or not interest rates will rise
  • The pros and cons of the current low rates

What is an interest rate?

An interest rate refers to either the percentage an individual is charged for borrowing money or earned through saving. It is typically expressed as a percentage of the amount you borrow or save over a year.

What is the base rate?

The base rate or bank rate is the most important interest rate in the UK and refers to the rate at which banks and lenders are charged for borrowing. Currently, this rate is 0.1% which influences borrowing and saving interest rates.

Current rates

Interest varies from bank to bank, but often it can cost more to borrow less. According to MoneySavingExpert, the best interest rates for loans of between £3,000 – £4,999 range from 7.3% rep APR and 8.4% rep APR.

For larger amounts, for example, between £15,001 – £20,000, the best interest rates range from between 2.8% rep APR and 2.9% rep APR.

When it comes to savings, easy access accounts with best rates range from between 0.4% AER variable and 0.5% AER variable.

The different types of interest rates

There are a few different types of interest rates, these are:

Fixed Rate of Interest – With this interest rate, the amount you are paid, or the amount you owe, is at a set rate that remains unchanged throughout the term of your account. 

Variable Rate of Interest – Also known as a “floating rate,” with this interest rate, the amount of interest you are paid or the amount of interest you owe can change depending on the base rate.

When exploring loans and savings, you will likely run into two other terms, APR and AER. But what exactly do they mean? 

APR – Annual Percentage Rate: This refers to the total cost of borrowing money in a year (loan or credit card). Included within this are interest and standard fees.

AER – Annual Equivalent Rate: This type of interest applies to saving accounts and is the amount you earn in a year.     

Will interest rates rise?

It is difficult to determine for sure whether interest rates will rise. However, considering the current state of the economy, having shrunk by 19.8% in 2020, interest rates are unlikely to rise any time soon.

The pros and cons of the current low rates

When it comes to low interest rates, there are, of course, advantages and disadvantages. These are as follows:

Pros:

  • Lower interest rates make it easier for people to borrow money
  • When borrowing is made more accessible, this can drive investment
  • Low rates can also make housing more affordable by lowering mortgage payments

On the other hand…

Cons:

  • Lower interest rates can detrimentally impact savers because they earn less through interest
  • As a result, this can reduce the incentive to save
  • Low interest can also lead to people taking on more debt than they can afford 

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Friday, May 28th, 2021 Loans, Mortgages, Savings No Comments

Self-Employed Sole Traders in the new tax year – where do you start?

by Admin

[Sponsored Post]

The new tax year started on the 6th April – that we do know for sure.

At times it felt like everything else changed and at a very quick pace. Our world slowed down – working from home where possible, home schooling our children the #StayHomeSaveLives were on windows with rainbows.

People settled into ways of working from home with daily routines including video calls to keep connected with fellow employees, following pop quizzes on the radio or simply taking time to reflect. Kids following PE lessons, craft tutorials and Disney princesses via online platforms while parents worked.

As this way of life continues for the foreseeable how can you be more productive?

One main cause for concern is money, knowing your financial stance helps you plan for the future. By getting ready to calculate your 2019-20 tax return – you will have your income and tax liability ready.

Digital copies of receipts and paperwork can be saved allowing for a clear out of the home office.

Whilst you do not have to submit right now, being safe in the knowledge of your outgoings for tax means you can then focus on sales and plan for the future.

The government stepped up and offered financial support

As the pandemic picked up pace and businesses were restricted by the Government the self-employed sat waiting and hoping they would be thrown a life-line. Chancellor Rishi Sunak gave them the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The scheme is open to self-employed individuals or a member of a partnership who:

  • Have submitted their Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19.
  • Traded in the year 2019-20
  • Are trading when they apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • They intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • They have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

For a further in-depth review of the scheme please follow the link above or visit www.gov.uk

Please note you had until 23rd April 2020 to file your 2018-19 self-assessment tax return to be eligible for this scheme.

A further helping hand was offered for anyone who uses Payments on Account, they will have their normal payment due on 31st July deferred –  this payment won’t be due until 31st January 2021.

Another deferral was that of the VAT payments due before 30th June 2020, these will now not need to be made until 31st March 2021. However you will be required to file your VAT return.

There were earlier announcements made by the Chancellor in March 2020 with an emergency £330bn financial package to bolster the UK economy. These included a business rates holiday and for struggling firms, loans.

There were postponements too for the controversial tax reforms to off-payroll working rules, more commonly known as IR35 – these have been postponed until April 2021 to help ease some strain from the pandemic and the effect it is having on businesses and individuals.

In 2019, it was announced that the Personal Allowance would be increasing from £11,850 to £12,500. Thanks to the increase, the tax brackets in the UK were also to be pushed back. Specifically, the basic rate limit was increased to £37,500 and the higher rate threshold was set at £50,000.

In April 2020 the Capital Gains Tax allowance increased to £12,300. Anything above the allowance, though, will be taxed at 18% for basic-rate taxpayers and 28% for additional-rate taxpayers. The Capital Gains Tax Allowance is the amount you can make from the increased value of your possessions tax-free.

GoSimpleTax bring you their award winning software, which factors in all the latest updates.

With GoSimpleTax software, filing has never been easier as it does all the calculations for you and thanks to features that allow you to take a picture of expenditure and upload it to your records, as well as log all forms of income.

With the documentation you need in one place and learning resources to help minimise your tax liability further, all that’s left for you to do is press submit.

Take their free trial today, no credit card required.

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Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 Income Tax, Jobs, National Insurance No Comments

New! Postgraduate Loan Repayment

by Admin

Starting from April 2019, repayment of new Postgraduate Student Loans will be done through Pay As You Earn (PAYE). As The Salary Calculator has just been updated with the April 2019 figures, repayment of postgraduate loans has been added so, if this applies to you, you can see what effect this will have on your take home pay.

These loan repayments are in addition to Plan 1 and Plan 2 student loan repayments, which you may have from undergraduate courses you have studied. Postgraduate loan repayments are calculated as 6% of gross annual earnings over £21,000. More information is available from the Student Loans Company.

Also, so you can see how your loans are being repaid, if you select more than one loan type on The Salary Calculator you will be able to click for a breakdown of how the repayments are distributed to your different student loans.

Because this only comes in to effect from April 2019, in order to see the effect of postgraduate loan repayments you will need to select “2019/20” from the Tax Year drop-down. Head over to The Salary Calculator to check it out!

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Understanding student loans

by Admin

I discovered an excellent article today by Martin Lewis, laying out the facts behind student loans – how they work and how they are repaid. There are a number of common misconceptions about student loans, and this article sets out all the information you would need to understand if you were considering going to university (or sending one of your children). Topics covered include:

  • If you take a low paying job after graduation, you’ll only repay a small amount of the loan (or none of it!)
  • Monthly repayments under the new loan system are lower than under the previous system
  • Your monthly repayments are the same, no matter how high your tuition fees are
  • You only start repaying once you leave university and start earning
  • You will still be able to get a mortgage

To learn more about all of these and more, check out Student Loans Mythbusting.

You can see how much your student loan will cost each month, and how long it will take to repay, by using the tool on our sister site Loan Tutor.

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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 Student Loan No Comments

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