Mortgages  

No end to mortgage price war

 

The price war currently being waged in the mortgage market is unlikely to end soon, according to Legal & General Mortgage Club's Danny Belton.

Mr Belton, the head of lender relationships at L&G Mortgage Club, said he could not see the circumstances which would end a price war coming to pass.

He said: "I am not sure we will see an end for now. I think it is very difficult to determine. One would like to think an increase in the Bank of England base rate would actually push rates up because naturally lenders would have to pay higher rates to savers if they rely on retail savings to lend and they have to balance that with the mortgage rates they put out. That is a potential opportunity but of course no one can predict when that is actually going to happen.

"The other thing is if we get a real flood of customers come to market where the lenders can actually fill their boots and they have to slow down lending, and that may actually push rates up. But again, I don't see that happening - transactions have been flat for the last four or five years so we are not going to see, in my view, a real explosion of customers come to market."

He said brokers might see lenders "dipping in and out" of the price war by either choosing to focus on service or by focusing on their margins during certain periods.

Mr Belton added: "Because we are not in a year that is consistent, there are challenges [...] so lenders are picking their moments when they can actually write the business and maximise opportunities so they have it in the bank by the time we get to the more difficult times."

The price war has seen some mortgage lenders take a profit hit, while others have seen their margins come under pressure.

Meanwhile both Tesco Bank and Sainsbury's Bank have pulled out of the mortgage market this year, citing increasing competition.

damian.fantato@ft.com