Lunchtime news Friday 6 June 2023

Although interest rates were kept on hold yesterday by the Bank of England, Bradford & Bingley announced it was the latest lender to raise its mortgage rates by between 0.05 and 0.55 per cent on new mortgages, effective today. The bank blamed the increased cost of raising funds in the financial markets.

At the same time, Lloyds TSB has reached a deal with Northern Rock to encourage mortgage customers coming to the end of their fixed rate deals to switch their mortgages over from Northern Rock to Lloyds. Selected customers will have the application fee waived and Lloyds will pay a commission to Northern Rock for each customer who switches. Since being nationalised, Northern Rock has tried to reduce the size of its loan book.

And according to figures by the Guardian newspaper, repossessions at Northern Rock are running at twice the rate now than before nationalisation in February. More than 400 homes were repossessed in May, compared to less than 118 in December and 237 in January.

The Wildlife Trust has come out against eco-towns, in the latest blow to government plans to build 10 sites around the country by 2020. The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxford order of the Trust has launched a campaign against a 15,000-house site, which a spokesperson said indicated ‘high density housing, a tram line and a railway…’ The Trust is objecting to what is thinks is inappropriate and poorly thought out development.

Meanwhile, a conference was held yesterday to study how the UK government will be able to make all new homes zero carbon by 2016 as planned, while optimising the existing housing stock. The Futures Homes event is based around three key themes of design, build and planning.

A new landlords’ insurance policy is being marketed that ends the need for tenants to provide a deposit. The No Deposit policy provides protection against loss of damage to the property caused by the tenant, while avoiding extra cost for the tenant at a time of spiralling costs. The scheme also provides for a mediation service where a ‘mutually agreeable solution’ to disputes can be issued.