Fixed mortgage fees rocket

Astonishing 14 times rise in number of fixed deals charging application fees of more than £750, says MoneyExpert.com

The number of fixed mortgages with high fees has rocketed by as much as 1,368 per cent in the past 18 months as lenders get tough on customers looking for the best deals, according to analysis by MoneyExpert.com*.

The independent financial comparison website says that in September 2006 – before the credit crunch hit the UK – only 22 fixed mortgage deals charged application fees of £750 or more.

That figure has since grown to some 323 fixed mortgages – 34 per cent of the total fixed mortgage market, according to MoneyExpert.com.

And according to the website average application fees on fixed mortgages have risen by 66 per cent over the same period, from £517.19 in September 2006 to £860.25 now. The highest stipulated fee 18 months ago was £1,499 on Halifax’s two-year fixed mortgage for homeowners with a 25 per cent deposit or more.

But now the Halifax charges a fee of £3,999 on a three-year fixed deal for its existing customers who have homes worth between £500,000 and £2 million.

Sean Gardner, director of MoneyExpert.com, said: "Such high mortgage application fees will come as something of a shock to many homebuyers. We’re just not used to these levels of charge."

"Anyone looking to remortgage or to buy a property for the first time will need to recalculate their options if they haven’t factored in fees. The days of fee-free mortgages are over and frankly getting anything under £1,000 is something of a coup. And with stamp duty reaching an average of £4,950 per property moving home is becoming more and more expensive."

"Lenders are sick to death of risky borrowers and they won’t be taking any chances in the near future. That means high fees, high interest rates and very little manoeuvrability when it comes to negotiating your mortgage."

The MoneyExpert.com analysis shows that there are currently some 939 fixed mortgage products on the market from 77 different providers.

Notes:
* Analysis by MoneyExpert.com from 01.09.06 and 05.06.08

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