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Archive for the ‘Interest Only Lifetime Mortgages’ Category

How the FCA Interest Only Mortgage Review May Impact Sales of Interest Only Lifetime Mortgages

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

May 2013 will be remembered as the wake-up call for customers with interest only mortgages. After all the talk about time bombs ticking down to zero, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has now issued a regulatory warning, advising that action should be taken, and also how.

 

The interest only mortgage has been sold in bucket-loads for reasons a plenty. Ideally, an interest only mortgage should always have some form of repayment vehicle which is confirmed to the mortgage lender at inception.  This could be in the form of a low cost endowment, personal pension plan, regular savings ISA, stock and shares, investment bonds or even sale of 2nd home such as buy-to-let or holiday home. The only way of guaranteeing repayment of a mortgage is by choosing the capital & interest repayment mortgage route.

 

However, the relaxation of lending rules during the pre-credit crunch era meant that these mortgages where only interest is repaid were all too often taken due to being the cheaper option. It soon became apparent that these mortgages were not necessarily taken for the right reasons.  Not only that, where repayment vehicles were set up using pre-determined growth rates, these have fallen way short of their target growth rate.

 

These statistics have been confirmed by the FCA, who stated that almost half of the 2.6 million customers with a UK interest only mortgage won’t be able to clear their mortgage by the end of its term. In fact the average only interest mortgage balance will be approximately £72,000 by its eventual settlement date. These interest only mortgagors will somehow need to find this repayment amount, or end up having to sell their home and downsizing.

 

How Can Interest Only Lifetime Mortgages help?

This will depend upon at what stage of the mortgage term any retrospective action is to be taken. The best situation would be if remedial action could be effected during the interest only mortgage term itself. This would mean assessing the amount to be repaid & the time remaining for repayment of the original capital amount. Using a suitable interest only mortgage calculator, you can check to see how much you should be repaying in order to meet the mortgage outstanding. This will illustrate the size of the problem and what strategy is vital moving forward.

 

However, this is all & well if the situation can be nipped in the bud with many years remaining. Unfortunately, there are many mortgagors where the FCA interest only mortgage review has come too late. These are the people who have now reached retirement and realisation has sunk in that they still have no means to repay their mortgage. Mortgage lenders are reigning in these mortgages, many with no remorse.

 

Nevertheless, there is a small crumb of comfort for some as the FCA statistics do show that 85% of interest only mortgage cases maturing up to 2016 will have a 39% loan-to-value, or less. We also know from their data that over 48% people are over age 55 at this point. Fortunately for them there is a mortgage solution in the form of another type of interest only mortgage. Here is where the equity release industry can come to their aid.

 

Interest Only Solutions

An interest only lifetime mortgage works on the same principle as the interest only mortgage. The difference comes in the term, as the interest only lifetime mortgage will never need repaying until the last person has died or moved into long term care. Therefore, if affordability into retirement is not an issue, then committing to a life of interest only payments could prove a solution. Given the size of the interest only epidemic due to inflict itself upon the UK mortgage population this form of lifetime interest only mortgage could prove salvation for many who wish to keep their home.

 

The enormity of the situation could therefore be of benefit to the interest only lifetime mortgage providers such as Stonehaven, more2life and Hodge Lifetime. Where the applicants are aged over 55 and the loan-to-value criteria fits, then one of these equity release providers may be able to assist. With interest rates now closer to conventional mortgage rates than ever before, the differential in pricing is not that far apart.

 

In particular, where the discipline of monthly repayments are required, then the Stonehaven Interest Select Lite provides a solution whose interest rate begins at 5.99% (6.40% APR). The Stonehaven range of plans eventually rise upto 6.81% (7.3% APR) with the Interest Select Max, but offer a higher maximum lump sum.

 

As an alternative, if a more flexible repayment approach is preferred and the youngest applicant is 60 or over, then the Hodge Lifetime Plans may suit. The Hodge Lifetime flexible repayment option allows upto 10% of the original capital borrowed. Repayments can only start after 12 months have elapsed and a maximum of two payments are allowed each year thereafter. This effectively could provide an even better solution to interest only short fallers, as should the full 10%pa be repaid off the mortgage balance, then this would prove to be a new type of equity release scheme – a capital & repayment lifetime mortgage!

 

If you are one of the thousands of interest only mortgage customers with your mortgage company demanding repayment, then contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159 today or complete our contact request form.

Are Self Cert Mortgages Available in Retirement?

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Self-certification mortgages are mortgages that are available without a formal income check. Self cert mortgages can be a good option for self-employed or independent professionals who would otherwise have a hard time finding a mortgage lender. Self-certification mortgages are also now available within the retirement sector, in conjunction with the right equity release advice.

 

In fact, lifetime mortgages and pensioner mortgages where the repayment vehicle is the sale of the property are all essentially self-certification mortgages as they do not depend on the income of the applicant. The lending criteria for these pensioner mortgages are mainly the age of the applicant and the property valuation.

 

For instance, Stonehaven’s Interest Select Plan is an interest only lifetime mortgage. Clients can borrow a tax free lump sum against the value of their property. Interest can be repaid in full every month, and the principle amount of the loan is repaid when the property is sold. In fact, Stonehaven equity release will allow you to set up a partial repayment facility, if the full amount of interest is out of your budget range. Therefore, rather than all the interest being repaid, a contribution towards this amount is paid.

 

Therefore, rather than the balance remaining level for the duration of the lifetime interest only mortgage, there will be an element of roll-up interest, albeit significantly lower than if no repayments were made at all. This scenario is ideal for candidates who are risk averse and wish to control the future balance of these pensioner mortgages for their children’s inheritance.

 

Being a lifetime mortgage, there is no fixed term and the loan will continue indefinitely, which will be until sale of the property, which is usually on death or moving into long term care.

 

Self Cert 2013 Lending Criteria

The lending criteria for this loan are based on the age of the youngest applicant and the value of the property. Plans start at age 55 with a minimum property valuation to qualify of £70,000. The property can now be situated in England, Wales & mainland Scotland.

 

As long as applicants can make the minimum monthly repayment of £25, there is no question of requesting income. Stonehaven’s Interest Select plan can therefore be safely categorised as a self cert mortgage. Once the mortgage is set up however, the premiums cannot be amended, other than to stop interest payments completely and convert to a roll-up lifetime mortgage plan. This feature can be used as a safety net in case the mortgage becomes unaffordable in the future & effectively prevents a situation whereby normally repossession would ensue. Repossession for none payment of premiums cannot therefore occur with the Stonehaven Interest Select Plan.

 

Another feature that appeals in today’s economic climate is that of adverse credit or poor credit rating. These lifetime interest only mortgages have leniency towards this. They will permit arrears and defaults. Additionally, they will accept CCJ’s (County Court Judgements) upto a certain level as long as they are repaid from the proceeds and were for understandable reasons.

 

Like most equity release schemes, Stonehaven base the lending on a loan-to-value principle. Stonehaven have four tiers of loan-to-values and each comes with its own interest rate. In essence the more you borrow against the value of your house the higher the interest rate becomes. Conversely, the older you are the greater the amount that can be borrowed, hence it is important you receive independent equity release advice to assess which tiered rate of interest applies and is best for you.

 

For instance a male aged 65 with a property value of £250,000 could release the following with Stonehaven: –

 

 Product Name

Maximum Borrowing

Interest Rate

Loan-to-Value

 Interest Select Lite

£52,500

5.99%

21%

 Interest Select

£60,000

6.08%

24%

 Interest Select Plus

£67,500

6.17%

27%

 Interest Select Max

£72,500

6.81%

29%

 

Who else provides self cert lifetime mortgages on an interest only basis?

Other pensioner mortgages are becoming increasingly available such as the more2Life Interest Choice Plan. This is another self-certification mortgages whereby no income checks are made by the lender. The mortgage is only repaid once the property is sold, which is when the client dies or moves into permanent care, or decides to make an early sale for any other reason.

 

Self-certification mortgages are not very common in the regular residential mortgage sector as lenders are reluctant and wary of lending without formal income checks under FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulations. Interest rates are often higher and the loan to value ratio may be lower than traditional mortgages. However, they have been designed with security in mind, something which interest only mortgages of the past haven’t been.

 

Many pensioner mortgages which rely on the property sale for repayment are essentially self-certification mortgages as they don’t carry out income checks for approval. For these mortgages the main relevant criteria are the age of the applicant which helps determine the expected term of the loan and the property valuation which helps determine the loan to value ratio.

 

For a full assessment of eligibility criteria with the range of interest only lifetime mortgages that Equity Release Supermarket have available, please call Freephone 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk.

 

Further information on the range of self cert interest only lifetime mortgages can be found on our Compare Equity Release Deals page.

Equity Release Schemes Available In Scotland

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

It’s been a long time coming, as the song goes but Scotland is at last catching up with the rest of the UK when it comes to the uptake of equity release schemes.

 

The reason the Scottish equity release market has not grown as quickly in the past as the rest of the UK is that a lot of Scottish homeowners have very close family ties and traditions and want to leave their property and estate as inheritance for their families and have been happy in the past to either down size or make do.

 

One of the common objections to equity release in Scotland was the loss of inheritance for the family. However, with the new range of equity release mortgages this loss of potential inheritance can be resigned to the past.

 

In the last year alone, many changes have taken place within the equity release market. All equity release schemes Equity Release Supermarket recommend still have the ‘SHIP’ standard – a ‘no-negative equity guarantee’ built into them. SHIP has now come under the auspices of the Equity Release Council in maintaining this important protection feature.

 

Latest equity release schemes

In addition to the no negative equity guarantee, new innovative plans have been introduced with options such as the Inheritance Protection Guarantee, where a percentage of the property value can be ring fenced to protect the family inheritance. This provides peace of mind in protecting a fixed final amount of the property value to be left as an inheritance for the family at the end of the day.

 

Hodge Lifetime have recently brought out a roll-up lifetime mortgage plan where they will allow up to 10% of the capital borrowed to be repaid each year by cheque, again a way to protect the loan from the effects of the roll up of interest. Not only can the interest be repaid, but additionally a proportion of the capital by paying the maximum 10%pa in repayments. Effectively this renders the Hodge Lifetime scheme a capital & repayment equity release mortgage!

 

Stonehaven have also moved into Scotland with an interest only lifetime mortgage. The Stonehaven Interest Select plans operate on an interest only basis with a balance that remains constant throughout the mortgage term. This continues so as long as the monthly payments are made, resulting in a loan that will never be more than the initial amount at the start of the plan.

 

These Stonehaven equity release schemes in Scotland are eventually repaid from the sale of the property. The interest rates are currently the lowest we have seen from Stonehaven since they started over 6 years ago at just 5.99%.

 

Scottish interest only mortgage enquiries

From the number of interest only lifetime mortgage enquiries Equity Release Supermarket now receive in Scotland, many people have also noticed this, and taken advantage of these low interest rates which are then fixed for life. Providing security, not only for inheritance purposes, but also in fixed lifetime monthly payments is something that the over 55’s in Scotland are looking for.

 

Equity release plans are not only weathering the economic downturn, they are offering a much needed lifeline to homeowners in this time of austerity. It may not be the best option for everyone in Scotland and by seeking independent financial advice it is important you also consider any alternatives beforehand.

 

Nevertheless, if you are sitting with a lot of equity in your home and you are over 55 years of age why deny yourself a good lifestyle in retirement, when unlocking some of the equity in the home could help make life a lot more comfortable for you, or your loved ones.

 

In this growing equity release market with new providers and new plans coming along it is more important than ever to get the correct advice from a specialist dealing in equity release such as the Equity Release Supermarket.

 

If you wish to find out more about any of the plans mentioned then do not hesitate in making contact with the author of this article – Nigel Hall who would be more than happy to help.

 

To request a free initial consultation on the range of equity release schemes available in Scotland call Nigel Hall on 07553 408010 or email nigel@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

How Does Equity Release Work?

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Equity release schemes have risen in the popularity stakes over the past 12 months. With regular articles in the tabloids, and increasing government awareness, lifetime mortgages have certainly raised the bar. But how does equity release actually work in the whole scheme of things, and why has it become such topical subject matter for those looking for a comfortable lifestyle in retirement?

 

Equity release workings

Primarily equity release is available to home owners where the youngest person on the deeds is at least aged 55. Equity release works by allowing eligible people to raise tax free cash from the equity tied up in their home. The amount that can be released is based on an age-related ascending percentage of the value of the home. In other words, the older you are, the more you can raise!

 

For example a single person in good health, aged 65, with a property value of £250,000 could raise a maximum of 30% of the property value. This would mean a maximum equity release of upto £75,000 with Aviva.

Even better, is the fact there are now impaired life schemes that offer ‘enhanced’ rates to people who are not as fit and healthy as they used to be and these schemes increase the percentage that can be drawn.

Therefore, if the same person was a smoker with high blood pressure, having diabetes & a history of heart attacks could now release upto £115,500 on the Partnership enhanced lifetime mortgage scheme.

 

Popular uses for equity release

The money raised from any equity release scheme can be used for any legal purpose from clearing credit card balances and existing mortgages, to helping children or grandchildren with deposits to climb onto the property ladder. However, many would be treating themselves to some lifestyle indulgences such as a new car, world cruise or home improvements.

 

Today’s equity release schemes

The modern format of Equity Release started in the mid 1990s with Hodge Lifetime (part of Julian Hodge Bank), Norwich Union (now Aviva) & Northern Rock (now Papilio UK) with a simple roll up lifetime mortgage.

 

Today there are three basic equity release schemes:-

 

1)      Roll up Lifetime Mortgage

This type of scheme has a few variations but basically the borrower takes an initial tax free lump sum, makes no monthly payments and the accrued interest is added to the loan and compounds annually.

 

The main variation to this is the “drawdown lifetime mortgage“ scheme. This is where only the immediately required amount is drawn down and a reserve cash facility is then offered with the remainder. No interest is accrued on this drawdown facility until it is taken in the future. The advantage here by taking it in smaller amounts is that interest is compounded at a much slower rate, than if it had be taken all at once.

 

Another variation of a roll up plan is offered through Hodge Lifetime on a roll-up basis. Hodge’s flexible repayment plan has an option to repay up to 10% of the original amount borrowed annually without any early repayment charges. Hodge also offer a unique ‘downsizing protection’ option whereby after five years, if the property is then sold and the owner moves & downsizes house, then no early repayment charges apply.  A great solution for many who cannot sell now, but may do so in the future.

 

 

2)      Interest Only Lifetime Mortgage Plans

There are two lenders currently offering this type of interest only scheme – Stonehaven and more2Life. Both schemes are fairly simple whereby a lump sum is withdrawn and the monthly interest is paid in order to maintain the balance outstanding level throughout the term.

 

This method has proved appealing to parents who are keen to minimise any inheritance reduction for their children. In recent times, since the withdrawal of the Halifax Retirement Home Plan lifetime interest only mortgages have become increasingly popular. Both these Equity Release Interest Only schemes have the added safety feature that should the monthly payments become too much (one applicant dying and their pension income reducing) then it can revert to a roll up equity release plan, where no payments are required thereafter.

 

3)      The Home Reversion Plan

This is now the least popular type of equity release mortgage. Nevertheless, it can prove to be the best advice in certain scenarios. The workings are that the homeowner(s) must have a minimum age of 65. They have the option of selling part, or all of their property to the reversion provider and then lives in that property, usually rent free, for the rest of their life. In truth, this is usually only appropriate when there are no beneficiaries to the estate, or they wish to leave a guaranteed percentage of the final value of the house to their children.

 

Home reversion schemes only account for less than 5% of the market these days. The market has seen a few withdrawals from the market by lenders such as Aviva and Retirement Plus. The three remaining home reversion providers are Hodge Lifetime, New Life & Bridgewater.

 

About the author

The author of this article is Barry Adnams, who is a senior equity release adviser at Equity Release Supermarket.

Barry is aware of what a monumental decision taking equity release can be. He is a traditional adviser that would always advocate a home meeting with family involvement. Barry offers an initial cost free ‘face to face’ appointment and likes to include as many family members as possible to be present to discuss whether taking equity release is the right option, or not.

 

If you want to benefit from the experience Barry has to offer and understand how equity release works further, then please contact Barry Adnams at Equity Release Supermarket, on 07989 281108 for a free initial consultation. Alternatively please email barry@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk.

Looking to Switch Lifetime Mortgage Schemes Could Prove Prudential

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

With lifetime mortgage schemes becoming increasingly commonplace and new borrowers on the increase, we look at how existing equity release customers could still benefit by reviewing and possibly remortgaging their existing plans.

 

Today, the equity release market has expanded to include a variety of different products. At the same time, interest rates today also tend to be more favourable to those a few years back. In light of this, those with existing lifetime mortgage schemes need to weigh-up the pros and cons of shopping around and possibly swapping or switching lifetime mortgage schemes.

 

Older lifetime mortgage schemes from the likes of Norwich Union, Northern Rock, Mortgage Express and Portman Building Society could have equity release interest rates of 8% and upwards if taken out in the halcyon days. However, times and products have all changed, and for those who thought their equity release was a ‘one-off’ event, could never have been more mistaken.

 

Like any conventional mortgage, equity release plans can also be moved to a new provider should the terms be more favourable. There could be a number of reasons to remortgage an older equity release scheme: –

  1. Lower interest rate
  2. Further borrowings
  3. Swap to a more flexible plan

 

Looking at these individually, we can explain the circumstances why many more people are now remortgaging their old lifetime mortgage plans.

 

Lower Interest Rate

The major factor to the expense of lifetime mortgages is the interest rate. Due to the annual compounding effect of the interest, then by cropping 1-2% off the current interest rate can literally save £1000’s over the remainder of the planholders life. This would be most beneficial for the children who will end up with more net equity available upon the death or their parents moving into long term care.

With interest rates from Aviva now as low as 5.57%, by conducting a lifetime remortgage even from an old Aviva capital release plan, would be possible & cost effective. With older lifetime mortgage rates being as high as 8%, the amount that could be saved in interest would be enormous over a long enough period of time.

 

Further Borrowings

It may have been many years since the original tranche of tax free cash was taken and as we know, money these days doesn’t go that far. Therefore, existing lifetime mortgage policyholders may have found this money they took out years ago has dwindled away and are maybe considering their next steps again.

Don’t worry because you have two options – return to your current lender for a lifetime mortgage further advance, or failing that, consider a completely new lifetime mortgage company, if their terms are favourable.

For instance, if your health has taken a turn for the worse then consider an enhanced lifetime mortgage scheme from the likes of Aviva, Partnership or more2life. Having ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart trouble or even being a smoker can influence a lifetime mortgage terms and conditions. If any of these symptoms exist, then the aforementioned lenders can offer a greater lumps sum than normal; exceptional should you now require maximum fund availability.

 

Swap to a more flexible plan

Lifetime mortgage plans of old were pretty inflexible, being a matter of taking a one-off lump sum and then sitting back thinking ‘job done’. Today’s equity release schemes have been designed with flexibility in mind.

Whereas previously only a single lump was on offer, nowadays with the advent of drawdown lifetime mortgage schemes, you can take a smaller initial amount & leave the surplus in reserve for later. This course of action has its benefits as you will only be charged interest on the capital withdrawn, not on the funds left in the reserve facility. A drawdown lifetime mortgage therefore can provide a cash reserve facility for additional borrowings required in the future. This would prevent you from having the expense of moving schemes again in the future.

A more recent development in the field of lifetime mortgages has been the ability to repay the interest which has not been a function that has previously been available. The interest only lifetime mortgage has seen a boom in sales recently now that retirees can protect their children’s inheritance by making monthly repayments of interest. Therefore, even if you have been on a roll-up scheme, but feel ‘enough is enough’ with the balance reaching its peak to feel comfortable with, you could switch to an interest only lifetime mortgage plan & consolidate the balance.

 

Which lifetime mortgage to swap to

Lifetime mortgage schemes essentially allow you to release some of the equity tied up in your home. The main types of lifetime mortgage schemes are the drawdown lifetime mortgage, roll-up, enhanced and the interest only lifetime mortgage. Lifetime mortgages are loans which need to be repaid once the property is sold.

Clearly, when it comes to equity release schemes, the lower the interest rate on the loan the more you save over the longer term. If you already have an existing equity release loan on your property, switching to a scheme with better interest rates may save you money. However, switching to an equity release scheme with a lower and better interest rate may not necessarily mean that you end up saving money.

 

It is important to find out whether your existing equity release lender has any early repayment charges in place. If you are liable to pay any early repayment penalties, these may cancel out any saving you make by switching. To find out whether switching to a scheme with better interest rates really saves you money, it is important to consider any early repayment charges in your calculations.

Equity release schemes have come a long way since they were first introduced to the market. Today, a much wider variety of products with various bells and whistles can be found. Switching to a more current plan may therefore be beneficial not just from the point of view of interest rates but for flexibility and new features as well.

 

For a free assessment of whether a lifetime remortgage could be beneficial then contact Equity Release Supermarket. With experienced lifetime mortgage advisers attuned to the complexities of swapping plans, they can analyse whether it would be in your best interests, or not to change equity release plans.

 

Call us on freephone 0800 678 5159 today for you free lifetime remortgage assessment or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

Which Equity Release Companies Accept Payments of Interest &/or Capital?

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Following on from the last article entitled – ‘Will Equity Release Providers Accept Repayments of Interest and/or Capital?‘ we now look at the three companies concerned & their equity release plans in greater detail by covering the features these schemes have brought to the marketplace.

 

Hodge Lifetime

Hodge Lifetime returned to the equity release market in 2012 with a truly innovative lifetime mortgage product which has since been improved again to include a new drawdown facility.

This lump sum lifetime mortgage is unique in that it includes a 10% flexible repayment option with absolutely no early repayment charges under certain circumstances upon downsizing.

 

Hodge Lifetime Allow 10% Overpayments

The Hodge Lifetime Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage is basically a traditional roll-up lifetime mortgage scheme in that it allows you to borrow a lump sum with a fixed interest rate for life. The flexible repayment option allows you to make a repayment of up to 10% of the original amount borrowed, without incurring any penalties or charges. Since there are no monthly commitments, repayment is flexible and you are free to pay as and when you choose, once the first 12 months has elapsed.

 

These payments are permitted on an irregular basis with a maximum of two repayments per annum. This would ideally suit people who want to control the balance of the plan in the future and in particular want to keep a level balance, or even repay some of the capital by taking advantage of the maximum 10% overpayment rule.

 

The effect of making these 10% overpayments

The Hodge Lifetime Flexible Repayment Option Calculator (accessible via their website) shows the effect making the maximum 10%pa repayments has on borrowing £20,000 at their current rate of 5.83% monthly (6.2% APR).

Over a 10 year period, by repaying £2,000pa back to Hodge Lifetime (10% of capital amount borrowed), it would reduce the balance by almost half to £11,340. Compare this to if NO repayments were made at all and the balance would have risen to £35,778; a significant difference of £24,438!

 

Hodge also have NO early repayment charges…

A second feature that is proving extremely popular with Equity Release Supermarket customers is the favourable early repayment charges that Hodge Lifetime offer.

The plan is geared towards those clients who maybe considering downsizing in the future. Again this has always been a stumbling block for many who see equity release schemes as a solution, however have been put off by the potential size of some of the lenders early repayment charges if repaid early. With some lenders such as Aviva, these penalties can be upto a maximum of 25% of the amount borrowed.

 

Hodge Lifetime make downsizing a more attainable option by applying a sliding scale of early repayment charges (ERC’s) over the first 5 years. These ERCs descend from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 over the first five years of downsizing. There are no early repayment charges if you downsize after 5 years.

The starting age for the Flexible Repayment Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage is 60, and the minimum property value is £100,000 with a minimum initial borrowing of £20,000. Hodge Lifetime is a member of the Equity Release Council and all their plans follow SHIP Guidelines. Click here to request a Hodge Lifetime quote.

 

Stonehaven

Stonehaven launched their Interest Select Plans over 7 years ago and were the first of the current crop of equity release companies to offer an interest only lifetime mortgage option.

Stonehaven have been important addition to the equity release range of companies as they created the original concept of this type of interest only lifetime product, which now is starting to make in-roads into the over 55’s mortgage market.  With features unseen before in this sector of the equity release market, Stonehaven’s Interest Select range of products have been launched with the changing needs of the customer in mind.

 

Stonehaven help protect your inheritance

Like the other two flexible repayment plans, this plan is designed to suit those who wish to have more control over repayment and to protect their inheritance.

The Stonehaven Interest Select plans include the Interest Select Lite, Interest Select Plus, Interest Select and the Interest Select Max. Each plan has its own lending limits, or loan-to-value. The greater the borrowings, the higher the interest rate becomes.

 

You can select your monthly payment

All these plans offer a disciplined monthly repayment plan that maintains a level balance throughout the term of the contract. The minimum amount that needs to be repaid monthly is only £25. The client can actually elect how much of the total interest charged they wish to repay. It can be anywhere between the total amount of interest charged each month, down to this £25pm level. The interest rate charged depends on which interest select option you choose.

 

If only partial repayment is made then the Interest Select loans have two parts – the interest payment part, and the interest roll up part. The part of the loan on which you make interest repayments is the interest payment part. If you are not paying all of the interest, then the roll up part is included and this element will accrue over time depending on how much of the total payment is being made.

 

Stonehaven give you the option from the outset to choose how long you wish to make these monthly payments for. Most people will select over their lifetime. However, if there is to be a significant event arising in the future, then you can elect to fix a term for the payments. The interest rate is fixed for the term you will be making interest payments, but cannot extend it later.

 

Protection against repossession

Stonehaven also include a protection feature that is unique to the equity release market. In the future, should you ever fall upon difficult times, then the monthly payments can always be stopped and the plan is automatically converted into a roll-up lifetime mortgage. No further repayments are then requested. There are no actual penalties for this, however if this has been done without prior notification then Stonehaven will increase the future interest rate by just 0.2%

 

What are the Stonehaven Interest Rates?

The monthly rates of interest for the Lite, Select, Plus and Max options vary, and are currently as follows –

 

Interest Select Lite – 5.99%

Interest Select – 6.08%

Interest Select Plus – 6.17%

Interest Select Max – 6.81%

 

The selection of each product is determined by the loan-to-value of the application. The lower the loan-to-value the better the interest rate offered by Stonehaven is.

An example of borrowing £20,000 on their interest select lite plan would result in monthly payments of £103.08 (6.4% APR).

 

Stonehaven are also a member of the Equity Release Council and all their plans follow SHIP Guidelines. Their plans start at a lower age of 55 with a minimum property valuation of £70,000 and a minimum initial release of just £10,000. Click this link to request a Stonehaven Interest Select quote.

 

more2life

more2life which is part owned by Key Retirement Solutions, has recently launched their Interest Choice Plan with a fixed lifetime interest rate.

 

This is a flexible drawdown interest only lifetime equity release plan, and allows applicants the option to repay between upto 100% of the monthly interest. The minimum amount that needs to be repaid is £25. The drawdown facility however, is provided only on a roll-up basis, not an interest only basis.

 

Plans start at age 60, with a minimum property value of £70,000 in England & Wales and with a minimum initial release of just £10,000.

If you wish to request a quote from more2life follow this link.

 

For additional information on any of these interest only lifetime mortgage schemes call freephone 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

Will Equity Release Providers Accept Repayments of Interest and/or Capital?

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

A common question that the over 55’s are asking these days is whether equity release schemes are flexible enough to accept repayments of interest and/or capital. With an increasing financially savvy population, particularly those approaching their retirement, this poses an interesting debate.

 

Typically, equity release plans have been associated with the roll-up lifetime mortgage principle, whereby NO monthly payments are necessary. For many retirees this is a daunting prospect given the fact that with the compounding of interest, the inheritance they would leave behind could be severely reduced, if not eliminated.

 

Equity release innovation needed

Equity release providers have therefore been posed themselves the question about how to develop this sector that has historically been devoured of innovation. This lends us back to the original scenario regarding the switched nature of the over 55’s, and how they are now demanding more equity release plans to meet their changing needs.

The baby boomer age group has historically grown up on a life of credit lines such as their residential mortgage, personal loans, hire purchase and credit/store cards. For them, the continuation of a mortgage in retirement is not a serious concern providing adequate pension income is received to fulfil their monthly commitments.

 

Some of these people will have ended up with a mortgage leading into retirement potentially affected by endowment shortfalls or pension fund under performance. Whichever way they have an outstanding mortgage at retirement, there needs to an option available that can address this common problem.

 

Halifax tried and failed

Certain equity release companies have researched this and taken note, particularly given the popularity that the now defunct Halifax Retirement Home Plan. Until August 2011, this Halifax equity release plan offered the over 60’s a mortgage based interest only scheme that would run for the rest of their lives. The void this product has left since being pulled from the market has been enormous and left an opportunity for another interest only provider to fill.

 

Equity release mortgages have now come into their own. Where once they were categorised as a vehicle to enhance lifestyle, they have now become an instrument of necessity, for many who wish to address their retirement shortcomings. These lifetime mortgages can, with product development, provide the ideal solution to an interest only mortgage situation that will only become an even greater issue in years to come.

 

Changes have started

Today the equity release market has opened up and a variety of new plans are now available. 2012 has seen new products come to market that are pushing the boundaries of how the equity release concept can be expanded and accommodate more people into the fold.

 

Therefore, to answer to the question – ‘Do Equity Release Providers Accept Repayments of Interest and/or Capital, the answer is categorically ‘YES’.

 

The next article – ‘Which Equity Release Companies Accept Payments of Interest &/or Capital will discuss the three current equity release providers that will accept repayment of interest and/or capital. Here we can look in greater depth at them: –

 

Hodge Lifetime – Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage & the Flexible Lifetime Mortgage

Stonehaven – Interest Select Plans – Including Interest Select Lite, Plus, Select & Max

more2life – Interest Choice Plan

 

To discuss these products further call the team on 0800 678 5159 or click here to read the next article on this subject.

What Are My Options if I Still Have a Mortgage When I Reach Retirement Age?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Retirement mortgages are becoming a rare breed. Nevertheless, with good research provided by an experienced equity release adviser, there are still such products available for the over 55’s. Products such as the Stonehaven Interest Select Plan are a good alternative to the now withdrawn Halifax Retirement Home Plan mortgage. If you have a pre-existing mortgage when you reach retirement age, there are certainly some options that are still available for you to consider.

 

Firstly, it is important to consider the changes in your income when you reach retirement. If your income during retirement still allows you to sustain the pre existing mortgage then the mortgage can be continued for a period. This will however be determined by the term of your existing mortgage and the attitude of your mortgagee. We have recently seen that since the FSA report into interest only mortgages, that residential mortgage lenders have revised their terms and attitude towards this sector of the mortgage market.

 

The repayment vehicle is where the issue has fallen down. Many people have taken interest only mortgages and for one reason or another never taken out the repayment vehicle that was meant to have provided the funds to repay the mortgage with at the end of the term. This has left a time bomb waiting to go off due to the sheer numbers of people with interest only mortgages now hitting their retirement years.

 

Affordability going into retirement is the one aspect of retirement planning most people do not look ahead for. Their income will fall as full time employment will usually cease and pensions as we all know have not performed as the quotes originally showed when personal pensions were originally take out.

 

Therefore, upon attaining retirement age, if you are unable to afford the mortgage, it is necessary to take the correct steps to remedy the situation. Your existing lender should allow you to switch to another interest only mortgage provider, should one be suitable to meet your requirements. To be able to do this, the loan-to-value ratio will be key as to what options will be available upon remortgaging outstanding. Now that the Halifax Retirement Home Plan mortgage has been taken out of service, what options actually remain to switch to?

 

By considering switching to an interest only lifetime mortgage can allow you to make monthly interest payments; the balance remains the same, which is repaid once the property is sold. The question to ask yourself is whether you require the mortgage to run for the rest of your life or to tie in with future plans, such as downsizing, or you only want the mortgage to run for a fixed number of years. Remember, selling your property and moving to a smaller property and paying off the balance is an option worth considering. The answer to these questions will determine the correct retirement solutions for you.

 

Equity Release Supermarket currently has two interest only lifetime mortgage plans available. Therefore, if your current lender does not provide this option, and you wish to remortgage then find an equity release adviser who can provide details. We can advise on both the Stonehaven range of interest select plans, or the recently launched more2life Interest Choice plan on 1st November 2012.

*UPDATE 1/8/21013 – Equity Release Supermarket has today obtained access to the new innovative Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage Plan – for further details click here

However, always look at the options before pledging your future to an interest only lifetime mortgage product. You could be entitled to retirement benefits that can help you cope with the existing mortgage. For instance you could be entitled to council tax benefit or pension credit which could have an impact on your income & mortgage affordability. Certain organisations such as Shelter can provide mortgage interest advice and support to those who are eligible. It is worth exploring these options that can help with making payments.

 

There may be other residential mortgages that you can consider switching to. However, these companies such as Leeds Building Society may only provide a temporary reprieve due to the limited term permitted. Most lenders will usually want full & final repayment by a maximum age of 70-75.

 

It is therefore important to seek professional advice in order to make a well informed and well researched choice. Switching to an interest only lifetime mortgage such as the Stonehaven Interest Select Lite is one such option, wherein you make monthly interest payments for life and the balance on your mortgage remains the same. With Stonehaven interest rates now only starting from 5.99% monthly and thereafter fixed for the whole duration, for those that qualify this is an excellent & secure option available to people over age 55.

 

If you wish to cease making any payments towards the mortgage, maybe as you have no children or close relatives, then roll-up equity release schemes may also be a good option for you. A roll up equity release is where no monthly payments are required as instead the interest gets added to the balance. The equity release deals from some roll-up companies are excellent at the moment with the incentives to help with set up costs. For instance, the Aviva Flexible lifetime mortgage starts with rates as low as 5.57%, depending on personal requirements and this is coupled with free valuations and three cashback options.

 

However, if the thought of your inheritance disappearing before your eyes when you receive your annual roll-up lifetime mortgage statement arrives then its worth looking at companies like Stonehaven and more2life. You should know that interest rates are currently the lowest ever for Stonehaven in their six year history. From the number of interest only enquiries we now have, many people have also noticed and taken advantage of tying themselves into today’s lowest interest rates and fixing them & their futures up for the rest of their lives.

 

To discuss your equity release options at retirement call the equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159 today.

Stonehaven Equity Release Schemes – Now Available In Scotland

Friday, April 20th, 2012

 

News today in the equity release sector, is that Stonehaven’s range of equity release schemes are now available in mainland Scotland.

 

Stonehaven have been providing equity release mortgages in England and Wales since August 2006. However, due to strong demand for its range of interest only lifetime mortgages entitled ‘Interest Select’ plans, they have now incorporated the Scottish legal process into their equity release application. Therefore, with previous limited availability in Scotland for interest only lifetime mortgages, this should come as a great relief for many over 55′s in Scotland needing financial support for their retirement.

 

Why Has the Stonehaven Interest Select Plan Become So Popular?

Opinion is split whenever deciding to take a release of equity from a retiree’s property. Gone are the days when a one-off tax free lump sum was the only option. With the increasing flexibility in the market such as the drawdown lifetime mortgage & new enhanced equity release schemes, lenders are looking more towards ‘niche’ equity release plans.

 

Having captured the interest only mortgage market for the over 55′s, Stonehaven who were originally funded by Santander have come, gone, & are now back with there revised range of Interest Select Options & Lump Sum Plans. With healthy lending for 2012 & with the backing of a large mutual enhanced annuities provider, Stonehaven are now broadening their horizons & diversifying into Scotland.

 

People over the age of 55 are looking at different means of releasing equity from their property. Not only that, there are different financial attitudes towards their property & ultimate inheritance. This has increased awareness of the impact that roll-up equity release schemes have had on people’s inheritance on schemes previously taken out. Due to the compounding effect of the interest on roll-up schemes, many retirees have turned up their noses to conventional equity release mortgages.

 

This is where Stonehaven as an equity release company has benefitted. Possibly due somewhat to the demise of the Halifax Retirement Home Plan, Equity Release Supermarket advisers have seen a significant rise in enquiries for an interest only lifetime mortgage. There is a strong demand for an interest only mortgage for the over 55′s, and this signifies the fact that a majority of pensioners still have income to support a retirement mortgage. This age group has many advantages to prospective mortgage lenders, however for reasons discussed later in this article, they are significantly overlooked.

 

Why have Mortgages for Pensioners been Overlooked?

With a large proportion of equity in their properties, hence low loan-to-values, usually a good credit history & repayment record, the over 55′s are favourable for a mortgage where interest only repayment is only required. The Stonehaven range of Interest Select Plans have given this situation much thought, not only to the positive aspects, but also to the negatives in particular if someone encounters financial difficulties during the term of their plan. They have a specific ‘safety net’ in place that has the option that upon missing 3 monthly payments, or the planholder opts not to make anymore monthly payments, the plan can converted over to a roll-up lifetime mortgage. This removes any concern over incurring a poor credit record & eliminates any risk of repossession.

In addition the Protected Equity guarantee is available which can ensure that your beneficiaries receive a percentage of the final sale value of the property. Peace of mind for sure.

 

The Interest Only Mortgage Ticking ‘Timebomb’

Previous articles have discussed the FSA (Financial Services Authority) crackdown on mortgage lenders offering interest only deals. Correctly, this has made pre-retirement applications for interest only mortgages more stringent & more capital & repayment mortgages are now taken as a result.

However, this sweeping clampdown has also impacted on the post-retirement mortgage market. It seems the old adage ‘tarred with the same brush’ has been applied to the whole demographic mortgage population. It shouldn’t, as a different set of rules & principles apply to mortgages in retirement. Retirement mortgages should be made more available on an interest only or capital & repayment basis. There should be more understanding from the powers that be that the needs of pensioners are significantly different than those pre-retirement.

 

Retirees do not necessarily need, or want the eventual repayment of capital. Considering the FSA are regulating & accepting the principle of roll-up equity release schemes, then why the reluctance for interest only mortgages in retirement?

Exceptions should be made & this sector of the mortgage market be subject to a further review.

 

Nevertheless, one company who has received FSA & SHIP (Safe Home Income Plan) approval for its interest only retirement mortgage is Stonehaven. With foresight of circumstances to come & which were conceived over a decade ago, Stonehaven are currently, & will be, reeping the benefits.

Endowment shortfalls are now becoming more evident & with Aviva only expecting 1% of its low cost endowment plans to meet their targets in 2012, then we can see why mortgages into retirement are going to become a common occurrence. In addition for many reasons people are approaching retirement with a mortgage and no form of repayment. With lenders such as Santander, Woolwich, Halifax & Nationwide not extending terms for those reaching the end of their interest only mortgage terms, a solution for their plight needs to be found.

 

Stonehaven Solutions

Well, this is where Stonehaven see’s how their interest only lifetime mortgage can resolve such issues. Dependent on the size of the mortgage & property valuation, Stonehaven maybe be able to assist. By using the Stonehaven equity release calculator, one can ascertain the maximum amount they could lend & hopefully assist in remortgaging from the previous lender. This would be the ideal situation, but not always the best. Alternatives should be considered such as downsizing, using savings or getting assistance from family & friends, however this may not be in the best interests of the mortgagors & family ties may over rule such as decision.

 

If Stonehaven can raise sufficient equity on your property to repay the mortgage, it would mean transferring onto a lifetime mortgage product which then eliminates any concerns over repayment in the future. In fact repayment is only required upon 2nd death or moving into long term care. The only obligation during the term is to maintain interest only payments which will remain EXACTLY the same for life due to the lifetime fixed interest rate which currently start from 6.08% (6.40% typical APR).

 

Therefore, someone borrowing £25,000 on the Stonehaven Interest Select Lite plan would find their monthly payments at just £119.96pm fixed for life!

 

Next Steps

To discuss your interest only lifetime mortgage options & alternatives as to whether the Stonehaven equity release plans are suitable to meet your requirements, contact your local independent adviser at Equity Release Supermarket by calling  freephone 0800 678 5159.

 

Additionally, visit the Equity Release Supermarket website & read the dedicated Stonehaven Interest Select page detailing the product features & current rates available. Here you can request a Stonehaven quote & gain a greater understanding of all Stonehaven’s schemes.

 

Home Reversion Can Still Play a Part in the Whole Equity Release Scheme of Things

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Home reversion schemes have literally had their nose pushed out of the equity release market upon entering the year 2012. There has been a significant rise in the popularity of lifetime mortgage plans; including drawdown equity release schemes, enhanced equity release schemes & interest only lifetime mortgages.

Figures produced by SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans) show that home reversion plans now only account for 2% of the whole equity release sales. Drawdown lifetime mortgages popularity has captured 62% of applications & conventional lump sum equity release sales amount to 36%.

It is clearly evident to see the sincere lack of home reversion applications. Here we look at the mis-conceptions surrounding home reversion schemes & why they must still be considered in the overall equity release scheme of things!

 

First let’s look at the home reversion plan basics..

The home reversion scheme requires the property owner to sell part or all of their property in return for a tax free lump sum. The lump sum offered by the reversion company will always be at a discount to the percentage sold. The reason for this is that the applicants can remain living in the property for the rest of their lives, rent free. Significantly, it could be some time before the home reversion lender receives their money.

No interest element is attached to home reversion schemes. Unlike lifetime mortgages, home reversion offers guarantees as to the percentage of the property that will pass to the beneficiaries at the end of the day. This stems from the initial decision made as to how much of the property’s title is transferred to the lender. For example, if 55% of the property is sold in exchange for a lump sum, then this will still guarantee 45% of the eventual sale proceeds will pass to the beneficiaries. This is a major advantage of home reversion schemes over lifetime mortgages & provides peace of mind.

 

So why the lethargy surrounding home reversion plans?

Perhaps one of the major stigmas attached is the fact that you will not own your property 100%. The reversion provider will co-own the property with you, thus having a greater say in its maintenance & future planning of the home. They will have the right to inspect the house at regular intervals to ensure it is maintained adequately, thus protecting their security. Any major home improvements will also need their permissions in case you were thinking of extensions or knocking down walls!

Another consideration would be upon moving home or wanting to sell. At this point an equity release calculation would need to be undertaken to establish how much equity you own based on current value upon transfer across to the new abode. Therefore independent valuations would need to be conducted to ascertain current market value. This could prove difficult in today’s market with a lack of sales & depressed housing market.

The one danger of home reversion plans is upon early death. Home reversion would prove expensive should you die or move into care in the earlier years of inception. Effectively, you have given up a large portion of your home based on average life expectancy. If you fail to reach this date, then home reversion could prove a poor decision. On the flip side, if longevity is in your family genes, then home reversion could be a great decision. Oh the virtues of a crystal ball!

Nevertheless, this aspect of the housing doldrums could actually have a positive accent as to why a home reversion plan could be more advantageous than a lifetime mortgage scheme.  By taking out a home reversion scheme in anticipation that property values will remain static could prove beneficial. Afterall you are guaranteed that at the end of the day some equity will remain as you have a percentage of the property value guaranteed.

Compare this to lifetime mortgage schemes where the roll-up of interest compounds yearly & will continue escalating until the plan expires. In this situation, should property values remain static, then with a continuously rising mortgage balance & static house prices, will lead to the eventual erosion of the equity. This could be so much so, that NO equity remains at the end of the day with a lifetime mortgage.

 

So why should you consider a home reversion scheme?

As you can see the home reversion plan offers a sense of assurance which is not possible with many other equity release schemes. With the progress in medical science, the human body is capable of living much longer. Age therefore plays a major role in this equity release plan with a minimum starting age of 65. Indeed, the older one gets before taking out a home reversion scheme the better the terms that will be offered by the lender. The resultant effect of this is the older the homeowner, the more is paid as a capital lump sum.

 

Some of the negative issues surrounding home reversion schemes have been addressed by the providers – Bridgewater, New Life Mortgages & Hodge Lifetime. Particularly Bridgewater have considered many of these issues & allayed such fears by building in a series of plan options. Similar to drawdown lifetime mortgages, Bridgewater offer a flexible equity release plan which allows you to sell less than 100% of the home & still provide the guarantee of future withdrawals in the future.

 

Another home reversion plan flexible feature could be a ‘secured escalating release’ option which allows you to release a lump sum of cash now, together with a future income over a number of years. This is achieved with the use of annuities.

Finally, some home reversion plans could also offer protection on early death, so always make the necessary enquiries before entering into a long term financial commitment.

 

Home reversion redemption

The home reversion company will eventually receive their money by selling the property when the occupier has died or moved into long term care. Additionally, this type of home equity scheme offers the property owner the ability to change properties. This is a requirement of SHIP (Safe Home Income Plan).

Always take the assistance of an independent financial advisor so that they can help estimate the value of your property and help you decide on the scheme best suited to your requirements. Equity release is very beneficial for retired individuals who do not have a steady flow of income or require a capital lump sum for lifestyle improvements. One of the products that could succeed with these bequests could be the home reversion scheme as it offers stability, guarantees for your children and allows you to enjoy a worry free, rent free retirement.

 

For home reversion advice contact the specialists at Equity Release Supermarket on 0800 678 5159 or email mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk

 

 
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