Many mortgages have additional arrangement fees added to them. According to recent reports, these fees are now higher than they have been for the past four years. The average fee for arranging a fixed-rate mortgage has now surpassed the £1,000 mark.

This provides a stark contrast with the super-low interest rates currently available across the market. While many headlines have focused on the new lows these rates keep on hitting, few have been made about the associated arrangement fees. Current figures indicate the average fee is now higher than it has been since August 2013.

Are high fees offsetting the low interest rates?

It would seem so, and indeed, Charlotte Nelson, finance expert at Moneyfacts, which produced the data, agrees. She said the increase in average fees was “disappointing news”.

The average fee in August 2013 was £1,005, according to their data. This dropped to £886 the following year, before edging ahead slightly to £929 in 2015. Another increase to £986 was seen in July 2016, before reaching the £1,018 average seen today.

The importance of working out the whole picture

“The increase in the average mortgage arrangement fee shows how important it is to assess the whole picture when someone is looking for a good mortgage deal,” said Darren Pescod, CEO of The Mortgage Broker Ltd. “It is very easy to compare fixed-rate deals in terms of the interest rates, but this completely misses out the fees associated with each deal. These fees can skew the overall nature of the deal.

“It is very possible that someone who opts for the lowest interest rate on a mortgage to end up paying more overall once they add in the arrangement fee,” Darren added. “There are deals available that work out cheaper when there is a lower arrangement fee set against a higher monthly interest rate. Doing your sums before applying for a mortgage has never been more important.”

Have the headlines focused too heavily on all-time low interest rates?

It would seem so. With low interest rates and record deals regularly hitting the headlines, few would-be home buyers have focused on arrangement fees as the most important element to consider. Instead, attention-grabbing low rates have been the order of the day, and it could mean some people have ended up paying more than they needed to.

It would seem the banks and building societies are trying to offset the low rates with higher fees to help them redress the balance. Fortunately, there are still many mortgage products to choose from, and there are calculators online that make it easier to work out which deal really is best from the information you have available. Always look at the arrangement fees as well as the interest rate on a fixed deal. With both numbers available, you can work out which will be the cheapest option for you in the months to come. The market is still highly competitive, and that makes it easier to beat the lenders.

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