According to Tapper Financial Services millions of borrowers are asleep, sitting on a lender’s basic rate (SVR)* despite interest rates at all-time lows!
By comparison in 2007 more than a million borrowers a year were re-mortgaging to obtain a better deal. By 2016 the figure had dropped to just over 384,000 per year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Hundreds of thousands of people more a year are in a dream world when it comes to mortgages.
Yet UK mortgage rates are at an all-time low. So why are so few borrowers choosing to change lender to obtain a better deal? Whilst brokers and the financial media often shout about the benefits of shopping around for the best deal, this seems to have little effect on consumer behaviour.
According to data firm CACI, about 3 million UK borrowers are resting idly on their lender’s standard variable rate, with loans totalling around £246bn and a further £122.9bn-worth of mortgages will revert to SVR in the second half of this year according to Virgin Money.
This ‘Sleeping Beauty Effect” as some professionals have called it, is earning an estimated whopping £10bn a year additional income for banks and building societies. Despite interest rates having fallen to historic lows, £816bn-worth of mortgages were more than 2% above base rate at the end of last year. That accounts for nearly two-thirds of the £1.3tn of outstanding mortgage debt in the UK, the Council of Mortgage Lenders says.
Do the maths
At present, the average SVR is 4.59%. For a borrower with a £150,000 mortgage, this means they would pay £841 a month. However, if the same borrower were to switch to a 0.99% 2 year fixed-rate deal, they might pay only £565 a month, saving themselves a massive £3,312 a year!
Of course, not all borrowers would be eligible for such an attractive rate. Nevertheless, even the prospect of saving thousands of pounds a year does not appear to be enough motivation to persuade thousands of borrowers to remortgage.
Brokers like Tapper Financial Services think a major reason for this is customer apathy. But why such inertia? Why are so many fewer borrowers taking advantage of cheaper money?
The view of Tapper Financial Services is that much of the cause for inertia lies with the media and press. Many borrowers don’t actually know what rate of interest they are paying. They may feel they are already on a good rate, although they could be on an even better deal without knowing it. We are constantly told that interest rates are at their lowest point ever, so people are led to believe that they cannot do any better! So why would you feel the need to change your mortgage?
With family budgets being hit by inflation and austerity, the time is absolutely right for anyone with a mortgage to wake up and contact a local broker and find out if they could reduce their monthly mortgage payments. You never know, he might turn out to be a Prince Charming!