“Interest only” mortgages for contractors not the pipe dream they were

Last Updated: 13-01-2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Interest-Only-MortgagesThe Council of Mortgage Lenders has reinforced its message that monitoring forecasts and budgets for repaying interest only home loans is the safest way to ensure mortgagees are not left high and dry.

Many banks and building societies pulled out of interest only or ‘endowment’ mortgages at the end of 2012. One reason was the creditworthiness potential customers needed to bring to the table, but weren’t.

The other was the lack of long-term verification that any plans in place would actually produce enough capital to pay off the mortgage at the end of the term.

Contractors historically rely heavily on interest only mortgages

As many freelancers top up their regular contracts with ad hoc projects, their income graph has peaks and troughs. Paying larger amounts, but sometimes not so much, suits interest only repayments.

CML has been working extremely closely with the FCA and will continue to do so to ensure that everyone who has an interest only mortgage has their plan reviewed periodically.

Moreover, the FCA has suggested that lenders will continue to show forbearance for anyone who has a temporary setback in their mortgage repayments, adding that solutions will be offered wherever possible.

This will depend massively on two-way communication. If you’re a contractor, especially in the South East where there has been a sharp decrease in the number of interim management hires, the FCA urge you to get in touch sooner rather than later if you’re struggling to keep up to date.

The CML has long since argued the case for interest only mortgages. Only recently, means testing of homeowners with such a loan showed that 90% did have sufficient plans in place to settle the capital part of the loan upon maturity.

Was standoffish behaviour of lenders to interest only mortgages a knee-jerk reaction?

Mortgage lenders will say that they were right to more or less withdraw from interest only mortgages, repayment mortgages made by far the more attractive offer for borrowers as they were.

The task in hand lenders face now is helping self employed workers and freelancers whose mortgage is due to mature soon, yet do not have finances in place to cover the amount of debt they’ll be left with.

Moving forward, the next step will be to review those whose interest only mortgages aren’t due to mature until 2020 and beyond.

To that end, the CML have joined forces with the Money Advice Service to produce the practical action plan.

As prevention is better than cure, the Council has also produced a guide to paying off interest only mortgages. Consumers can use the information therein alongsde the research conducted recently by the FCA to effect a winning strategy.

The market is looking a lot rosier for borrowers with contractor mortgages. By calculating correctly in the first place, being realistic about future contractual earnings and having guidance to hand if the worst happens, interest only mortgages for contractors are far from dead.

The last thing the housing market needs is for more unaffordable homes to come on the market. If there’s a way, an alternative solution will be found to keep as many people as possible beneath the current roof above their head.

Author: John Yerou

John Yerou is a pioneer of contractor mortgages and owner and founder of Freelancer Financials, Contractor Mortgages®, C&F Mortgages and Self Employed Mortgages, trading styles and brands of the award-winning Mortgage Quest Ltd.

Posted by John Yerou

on May 10th, 2013 07:00am in John’s Blog.

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