Lenders are launching a range of new ten-year, fixed-rate mortgages, but the jury is out on whether they offer value for money, says Teresa Hunter in The Daily Telegraph some have "a nasty sting in the tail". Santander's new ten-year mortgage, charging 3.94%, requires a 40% deposit and a £995 fee. Yet the best five-year deals peg interest costs at just 2.5%. A borrower with a £100,000 mortgage would pay £4,585 more in repayments in the first five years of Santander's loan than with Yorkshire Bank's 2.49% five-year deal, although Yorkshire's £1,999 arrangement fee is more costly. Early redemption fees are also punitive.
Tenants and landlords should check that any money they give letting agents is protected, writes Tanya Powley in FT Money. From this autumn, all letting and managing agents will have to belong to a scheme of redress that allows an independent party to rule on disputes between landlords and tenants over deposits. However, industry groups warn that rules are also needed to protect tenants (or landlords) against fraud. As Isobel Thomson of the National Approved Letting Scheme notes: "If an agent disappears with the contents of the client account, the ombudsman can't give you your money back." Letting agents are thought to handle about £14bn a year in rent and deposits. Consumers should choose agents who are members of industry bodies, such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents, which offer client money protection schemes to protect landlords' and tenants' cash.
The cost of living may have fallen, but savers still face a struggle to find an inflation-beating interest rate, says Hilary Osborne in The Guardian. The Consumer Prices Index inflation rate fell to 2.4% in April. To beat that, basic-ratetaxpayers must earn 3% in a tax-paying account, while higher-rate taxpayers need 3.99%. A survey of 861 such accounts by Moneyfacts found only one account paying 3% Virgin Money's five-year fixed-rate bond. Choice is also limited in the tax-free individual savings account (Isa) market. The best deals are Virgin Money's at 3%, Principality Building Society's five-year bond,paying 2.75%, and Coventry Building Society's two-year fix, paying 2.55%.
Piper Terrett is a financial journalist and author. Piper graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge, in 1997 and worked for Germaine Greer and for Adam Faith’s Money Channel before embarking on a career in business journalism.
She has worked for most top financial titles, including Investors Chronicle, Shares magazine, Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money. She lectures part-time at London Metropolitan University and is the author of four books.
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