mortgage-rates2A key indicator of the affordability of a mortgage is how the mortgage payment compares to the monthly household income. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) recently said there had been a drop in the amount people typically paid each month in relation to their household income.

There was very little difference between the percentage paid by first-time buyers and that paid by people moving home. First-time buyers were paying on average 17.8% of their monthly income on mortgage payments. In contrast, home movers were devoting an average of 17.7% of their monthly household income on their mortgage.

August’s drop in interest rates has led to the change

Many people were surprised to see a drop in the base rate back in August. However, it is this drop that has led to falls in interest rates and therefore more affordable mortgages for many.

The amount borrowed for a mortgage also fell in September

There were falls in other notable figures in September, turning it into an interesting month in this area. First-time buyers were taking out loans of around £136,400 in August this year, but this dropped to £133,000 in September – a change of £3,400. Smaller loans mean smaller payments, which could also partly explain the lower percentage figure between mortgage payments and their relation to monthly household income.

A drop was seen in average household income too

In a month of falls of various kinds, household income also took a hit. August’s average was £41,000 for a household, but this dropped to £40,200 in September. Clearly, there are several figures to be aware of here, as we assess how affordable it currently is for first-time buyers and home movers to get mortgages.

Market is coping in the face of Brexit

Despite numerous doom and gloom forecasts following the Brexit vote, it seems the country is doing well in terms of its property market. This looks set to continue as we negotiate the final weeks of 2016 and usher in a New Year.

Mortgage payments are more affordable now than in the past

Several years ago, interest rates were significantly higher than they are today. If we go back eight years, homeowners were devoting 23.7% of their monthly income on mortgage payments. In 2007, that figure was even higher, at 24.7%.

It remains to be seen whether affordability will get better still as 2016 ends and we go into 2017. However, regardless of the percentage in the coming months, there’s no doubt the housing market is robust and doing well in the face of Brexit and other challenges.

This is despite the fact some long-term fixed rate mortgages have crept up and offered slightly higher interest rates of late. This could be set to continue, and if it does it may mean affordability takes a hit in the coming months. However, the changes have been minor thus far, which means most mortgages are still affordable for many. We’ll be watching to see which direction things go in next.

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