Around 40% of homeowners with mortgages could struggle to move because they would not qualify for a new loan. The growing band of potential “mortgage prisoners” is thought to number as many as four million say reports.
Stricter checks on mortgage applicants were brought in a year ago and many lenders are strictly applying checks despite “transitional provisions” allowing banks to show flexibility if existing customers want to move or remortgage.
As a result, some people are trapped in a mortgage deal or have to pay much more, being refused the same level of mortgage after lenders ran affordability checks on income and outgoings despite a clean repayment record and earnings that have not changed.
It has been calculated that up to four million people, or 40% of those who have a residential mortgage, could be affected in one way or another.
The rules, imposed a year ago by the Financial Conduct Authority, require lenders to take a detailed look at bank statements, including the scrutinising the cost of gym memberships, milk bills, childcare and pension contributions, creating a trap for home movers.
Also on the danger list are owners with interest-only mortgages, the self-employed and people who are deemed too old to borrow.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said stricter treatment could be justified, even though transitional provisions drawn up by the regulator, the FCA, allow providers to make exceptions as long as applicants are not increasing their borrowing.
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