Welcome to your festive update from Team DFP. With 2021 drawing to a close, we wanted to bring you all the latest in relation to mortgages and interest rates amidst mounting concerns surrounding inflation. There’s also some handy tips for keeping costs low over the Christmas period.
As always though, we’ll begin with your final monthly message of the year from our director, Liam Winstanley. Enjoy.
A message from our Director…
I don’t know about you but in retrospect I’m not quite sure what to make of 2021 as we head out of the year and into 2022!!
It has been another year of uncertainty, change and upheaval due to the changing nature of this pandemic, but another year that has shown the strength of human resolve, innovation and compassion.
With that backdrop, I have been immensely proud of the work my team have done this year in helping shape peoples financial plans and helping making long held dreams come to fruition. It is a really satisfying thing for us to see someone get the keys to their new home or head into retirement with a sense of security and purpose, knowing that we are playing a valued part in that journey.
But of course, we cannot do that without you and I’d like to thank you once again for your support in 2021 and very much look forward to continuing our work together through 2022 and beyond!
So, please do have a great Christmas, stay safe and please accept our best wishes for the New Year!
In the news this month…
We’ll start our news round up with mortgages after it was recently revealed that, in October, the number of UK mortgage approvals fell to its lowest level since the height of the pandemic. The property market has been experiencing something of a ‘boom’ period with over half a billion being spent on UK homes between January and September this year. So, a ‘slump’ was always expected, particularly with the extended stamp duty holiday finally coming to an end. That said, the drop was pretty steep. Figures from the Bank of England showed that net mortgage lending for October stood at £1.6bn. That’s down from a whopping £9.3bn the month before. Read more here.
Staying with the Bank of England, and economists are warning of a ‘new housing bubble’ after the Bank revealed their plans to ‘loosen’ mortgage lending rules that have been in place since 2014. House prices soared by 12% in the year leading up to September - boosted by the aforementioned stamp duty cut - which is an even faster pace than the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. The rules currently mean that lenders have to test homebuyers’ ability to pay higher rates of interest in order to ensure they can afford repayments once their initial interest rate deal ends. But economists are warning that changing these rules could propel property prices to ‘unsustainable levels’ and create a ‘housing bubble’ in the process. Housing bubbles are characterised by high demand, low supply and inflated prices, causing economic instability, as we saw in the mid-to-late 2000s. Find out more, here.
This uncertainty comes as lenders continue to pull their lowest-cost deals in readiness for the Bank of England’s inevitable base rate increase. However, as the Guardian point out, hundreds of thousands of homeowners are still trapped in the high-interest, and in some cases, unaffordable, mortgage rate deals that they signed onto in the aftermath of the financial crash over a decade ago. With rising inflation, increasing interest rates, and a higher cost of living post-pandemic, many of these ‘mortgage prisoners’ are becoming ever more anxious about paying bills and meeting their monthly repayments. For more on this story, click here.
As inflation surges to decade level highs, many are claiming that the UK is in the grip of a ‘cost of living crisis’, amidst soaring gas, energy, food and fuel prices. The Mail recently reported that the average family could be as much as £2,000-a-year worse off, with households spending - on average - over £500-a-week on all areas in the financial year, according to the ONS.
What’s more, the chief of the Bank of England’s monetary policy, Ben Broadbent, has suggested that inflation will ‘comfortably’ surpass 5% in the spring - coinciding with Ofgem’s raising of the price gap. The Treasury has also warned that ‘high public sector pay settlements could lead to permanently higher prices and interest rates’. In its ‘official economic submission’ to pay review bodies, the Treasury implied that wage increases matching or exceeding the current rate of inflation would elongate the current rate of increase, making inflation ‘more durable’. The report states that, “if public sector pay increases were to exacerbate temporary inflationary pressure, then short-term pressures would become more sustained”, thus harming growth, worsening the cost of living situation, and resulting in higher interest rates. Read more here.
Perhaps most alarmingly of all though is the affect this will have in the next few weeks, on one of the cornerstones of the British calendar: Christmas dinner! Analyst firm, Kantar, have estimated that a typical Christmas dinner will cost almost 3 and ½ per cent more than last year with uplifts in the price of turkey, Christmas pudding, and even Brussels sprouts! Check out the full story, here.
One final piece of news to bring you this month. Danbro Financial Planning are delighted to announce a new partnership with our friends at Kinherit Ltd, to offer an exclusive Wills and Estate Planning service to DFP clients. Kinherit are one of the UK’s leading law firms, specialising in Wills and End-of-Life planning. We’ll have more news for you on this in the New Year. So, keep your eyes peeled.
This month’s featured article…
How well off are Brits in comparison to the citizens of other wealthy nations?
This month’s featured article seeks to answer that question by comparing and contrasting the fortunes of the British public with residents of another European superpower: Germany. With GDP per capita around 10% higher in Germany than it is in the UK, it’s a general assumption that German people are, on average, better off than their British counterparts.
However, there are plenty of key statistics that suggest otherwise. For instance, just over half of German households are homeowners, compared to nearly 70% in the UK. And, whilst Germany has, arguably, a more efficient economy and higher salaries, it’s also suggested that that advantage is ‘squandered’ through poor investment choices. What’s more, UK investors have accumulated billions of pounds of wealth from overseas businesses as well as vast amounts of foreign assets including bonds, property and bank deposits. And, that’s without mentioning considerable domestic assets too. Check out Economics expert, Max King’s, assessment in his recent Money Week article, below.
Money Week: ‘Why Britons are much wealthier than we think’
On a lighter note…
To round off proceedings for this month - and this year - then, here are a few useful tips for looking after the purse strings over the festive period. With millions of Brits admitting to falling behind with their finances every New Year, the team at Shawbrook Bank have pulled together a simple guide to reduce stress and help you ‘avoid the dreaded Christmas debt hangover’. Click the link below to read in full.
Finally though, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for choosing Danbro Financial Planning in 2021, and to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. See you in 2022!
Shawbrook Bank: ’10 ways to prepare financially for Christmas’
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