Two major lenders have reported a strong uptake in the first month of the government's extended Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Halifax said they had received a total of 2,384 applications, potentially worth £365m in mortgages.
The scheme is designed to encourage lenders to offer mortgages with deposits as low as 5%.
But critics are concerned it could help to create a UK housing bubble.
RBS and its subsidiary NatWest, and Halifax - owned by Lloyds Banking Group - are among the few lenders to offer mortgages under the government's extended scheme.
My dealings with scottfraser began just over ten years ago. I had been toying for some time with the idea of buying a property in Oxford on a buy-to let basis, prior to eventual retirement there. A friend who was a don spoke highly of the firm and put me in touch with Andrew Greenwood, who arranged an initial meeting to talk me through the issues involved.
As a complete and rather naïve novice in this field I would have been easy prey to anything verging on duplicity on the part of a salesman, but at no stage in that first meeting was I treated to nothing but a friendly, honest and lucid explanation of all that was involved (both pros and cons) – along with a cup of very decent coffee. Over the following twelve months or so I was sent information on a regular basis and as I was often in Oxford it was easy to keep in touch and ask advice I discovered that the rental potential of a property did not automatically rise in line with its value, and was advised of the price range that would best suit my needs. By this stage my inner landlord was beginning to take over the academic within me and I found to my surprise that I was starting to enjoy the whole enterprise. When, therefore, a property came up that seemed to fit the bill I had a pretty good idea of just what the bill was – and, more importantly, that I could afford to pay it. I had in mind only a ten-year mortgage (not that common, I had discovered) and local building societies seemed to raise doubts about its viability.
Andrew accordingly set wheels in motion once more and I spent an instructive but still slightly puzzled weekend reading the relevant documentation. My next memory is of a three-way conversation in Andrew’s office where he translated jargon into English and vice –versa; we went to look at what was still essentially a building site; had lunch at a local pub, and I was a property owner!
Since then I have been delighted with the enterprise on just about every front. Efforts to find tenants during quite turbulent financial times have been diligent so that rent voids have been rare and never alarming. (The first time I heard this phrase, by the way, I misheard a friend as asking if I was worried by the prospect of rent boys – I was rapidly and happily disillusioned...) Any problems, potential or actual, have been presented along with suggested solutions; communication had been unfailingly efficient and friendly; I feel very much at home talking to the team.
Lest all this sound as if I am signing in blood and at gun point a testimonial drafted by scottfraser, or am hitting the keys randomly after a particularly bibulous dinner at their expense, I should add that I should be delighted to talk to prospective clients either by telephone or email to confirm or expand upon what I have written.
With kindest regards,