It seems like a brief moment ago that we first heard the news of a potential threat to the year that surely, like so many others before it would pass us by. But in the blink of an eye, there we were locked down in the sunshine and wondering whether things will ever be quite the same again.
Then the outpouring of relief when the housing market opened again and a tsunami of pent-up demand exploded onto our desks, with the added need for people to move to places further out, to have space and home offices to take advantage of the new world.
Not only were things moving once more but onto this fire of sudden activity, the Government emptied a few cans of Kerosine in the form of a Stamp Duty Holiday.
Now we have a situation where we have seen house prices rise and mortgage transactions at their highest level for over a decade – yep, 2020 has been a strange one.
As we start looking forward to next year and the tantalising prospect that brings, crossing our fingers that the Vaccine works and a Brexit deal is done at the 11th hour (which was always going to be the case), whatever happens next, we must make sure we learn from this period and not blindly go back to how things were.
Next year will not be a walk in the park, but for those of us who go into it with a positive attitude, a sense of determination and a willingness to keep adapting it will stand us in good stead.
We did have some really positive news last week from one of the biggest lenders, Halifax, who have come back into the 90% Loan-to-Value market once more. This is a real turning point when one of the big lenders re-enters the fray and should help other lenders make a similar return in the next few weeks.
Virgin Money, TSB, and Aldermore have already followed and we also have much more choice at 85% LTV as well now from a wide range of lenders.
This bodes well for the return of the First-Time Buyer market next year which will surely come whether or not the Stamp Duty Holiday is extended.
We have also seen some interesting Buy to Let products come back onto the market, with lenders like Paragon who specialise in Professional Landlords offering a decent 5-year fixed for loans between £350,000 and £1m.
We have also seen lenders such as Coventry reduce their Buy-to-Let rental stress rate which means landlords have an increased borrowing capacity.
I know this has been on the backburner for a while, but with this now really close we have seen the first lender come out with their Brexit-related changes.
Santander has confirmed that from now, borrowers who are citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and applying for a mortgage over 75% LTV will need to prove their permanent right to reside in the UK.
We will continue to monitor this situation so watch this space.
In terms of mortgage rates, for standard residential mortgages, borrowers can obtain 2-year fixes at 1.09%, (3.90% APRC) and 5-year fixes from 1.29%, (3.30% APRC) whilst variable tracker rates are around from 1.57%, (3.80% APRC).
Those looking at Buy-To-Let can now obtain products from 1.19%, (4.40% APRC) for 2-year fixed or 5-year fixes are available from 1.64% (3.80% APRC).