UK interest rates remain at a 7 year low

  • Patrick Maflin
    Patrick Maflin

The Bank of England base rate has remained unchanged at 0.5% since March 2009. This is the one of the lowest levels the base rate has been fixed at for this length of time. This presents an excellent opportunity for yacht crew who are looking to get a mortgage. The potential savings could be significant.

Why should I re-mortgage?

Seafarers have recently had a pretty bad time of it as regards getting a mortgage. This is partly down to new EU rules around Foreign Currency Mortgages (this includes you if you are not paid in Sterling). However, there are some sensible lenders who are still happy to lend to Yacht Crew:

  • We have access to lenders who can offer re-mortgage rates from as low as 1.74% (2-year Fix), 1.99% (3-year Fix), 2.53% (5-year Fix) for Yacht Crew who are paid in foreign currency. A Fixed Rate has known monthly payments and can protect you against rate rises in the future.
  • If you are comfortable with the rate you pay varying according to the mortgage rate, there are a number of tracker and discounted variable rate mortgages on the market at historically low rates from 1.64% (2-year Tracker).
  • But I have seen better rates online.

    We have seen them as well and we have tried to place Seafarers with these lenders. Result:

    “Computer says No”.

    We have been spending a lot of time recently picking up the pieces from lender refusals to lend to Yacht Crew. You work in a very “special” business which only certain lenders understand. A lot of lenders fall at the first hurdle of Euro or Dollar income but forget to tell you this at the start.

    We have been involved in the placing of mortgage business since 1995 and have significant experience in placing seafarers with sympathetic lenders.

    What might I achieve by re-mortgaging?

    With rates as low as they are today and the prospect of further falls very soon. The result of a re-mortgage could be:

  • Lower monthly repayments, or a reduced mortgage term.
  • Change to a different type of mortgage – fixed, tracker, discounted variable rate, etc.
  • Consolidate other debts such as loans and credit cards.
  • Raise extra money for home improvements.
  • Fix your payments for the short or medium-term.
  • There are some very competitive 5-year fixed rates available currently.
  • Use the equity built up in your home to achieve a better rate – many lenders offer lower rates depending on Loan to Value percentages.
  • Get off that Standard Variable Rate (SVR). The majority of lenders do not charge a penalty to switch from the SVR, so now is a good time to look for a better deal.
  • Things to consider

    The mortgage market is complex, with a large number of potential lenders offering different rates with widely varying fees to get the rate. Add to that your foreign currency income, the fact that very few lenders understand your tax position and the benefits of living on board and you have a recipe for a hard time getting a loan.

    “Headline Rates” are just that; “Headlines” designed to attract your attention and reel you in. The likelihood of you achieving these rates or even getting a mortgage at all being practically zero, “but as you earn stacks of cash we can introduce you to our “Personal Banker / Financial Adviser” to discuss a savings plan”!

    What do I do now then?

    Your mortgage is, for most people, the largest financial decision you will ever make. It is vital that professional advice is taken from a qualified and regulated Mortgage Adviser to make certain that the most appropriate mortgage is selected from the “whole of the mortgage market”, not just “here are 3 rates, you choose!” that you will get from WXYZBARSAN Bank plc.

    An initial discussion costs you nothing but a little time. You could find that the savings are worth the effort.

    So stop sitting on the fence, get off and get advice!