Consumers Advised To Consider Long Term Mortgage Deals

By: Steve Smith

An increasing number of homeowners may be looking to reduce pressure on their finances, new research shows.

In a study carried out by MoneyExpert, it was revealed that long-term fixed-rate mortgage deals have become increasingly popular over recent months. At present it was shown there are some 132 individual fixed-rate products available which last for at least a decade. Such deals account for just over a tenth (11.5 per cent) of all fixed mortgage offers on the market, an increase from the 8.9 per cent proportion that was held in April 2007. Overall, the majority of long-term mortgage deals are shown to last for between ten and 15 years. However, the longest contract currently on the market is from Manchester Building Society which offers a 30-year product.

Following on maintaining their level of monthly mortgage payments it may be possible that consumers are able to manage other spending commitments with greater ease. As such people could discover that they can make repayments on credit and store cards, personal loans and utility bills with greater ease.

Research from the firm also revealed that the typical rate of interest on a fixed-rate mortgage stands at 6.14 per cent, although for some deals this can rise to 7.59 per cent. In April of last year, however, it was indicated the average long-term deal carried interest of 5.89 per cent.

Commenting on the figures, Sean Gardner, chief executive of the price comparison website, reported that following this month's Budget report long term fixed-rate deals are "here to stay". However, as an increasing number of money lenders incorporate long-term offers into their product ranges it was also claimed that these deals may not necessarily be of benefit to borrowers should the base rate of interest fall.

He said: "Homeowners could be forgiven for thinking that the recent reduction in interest rates by the Bank of England would ease the strain on their finances. But with average rates on fixed mortgages, whatever the term, on the increase, it's no wonder people are struggling to meet their repayment deadlines.

"Mortgage providers are rightly nervous about exposing themselves to customers who may not be able to repay their loans, so it's understandable that the cost of a mortgage is on the up. People should think carefully before agreeing to high-cost, long-term deals because making the wrong decision for you could be significant."

In addition, MoneyExpert pointed towards a recent study it carried out which revealed that in the six months leading up to December 2007 an estimated 463,000 homeowners missed a demand for payment on their mortgage.

Homeowners concerned about their ability to keep up with mortgage repayments but who are unwilling to tie themselves down to a long-term fixed-rate deal may wish to consider applying for a low-rate loan. In taking out a loan, it is possible that consumers can meet various constraints on their spending and are left with affordable repayments to make each month. This type of loan could be of assistance to a significant number of Britons after Nationwide's consumer confidence index revealed that the nation's financial optimism hit a record low in February.

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