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Shop Around to Beat the Base Rate Rise

by Sarah Halloran

There was more bad news for homeowners and potential property purchasers alike when Santander announced an increase to its Standard Variable Rate (SVR) last week. That increase was, in percentage terms, quite significant with the rate changing up to 4.74%.

Santander claim that the rate change will add around £26 a month to a £100,000 mortgage but insisted that it had no further plans to increase the SVR again. The rise will affect all existing Santander customers along with those acquired from other providers with the exception of Alliance and Leicester. It’s thought that the move will see an increase in monthly payments for a ‘few hundred thousand customers’.

“For the last three years the amount it costs us to provide mortgages and the rates we offer our savings customers have been increasing, despite the base rate remaining static,” a Spokesperson for Santander said.

“Additionally, the cost of running a bank in the UK has increased dramatically through a combination of increased liquidity, capital and funding requirements,” the company added.

Santander have, however, been accused of profiteering by some who have deemed the increase unnecessary. It’s been suggested that this was a profitable area for the lender and they have merely increased their SVR in order to take further advantage.

Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients said that this was ‘profiteering, pure and simple’.

“The move puts its SVR towards the upper end of the scale when compared with other big lenders such as Halifax, Woolwich and Nationwide,” Mr Harris added.

Following the increase, advice has come from many quarters, urging those affected to shop around. For those in a variable rate mortgage with no penalties for settlement, such a move could bring monthly payments back to more affordable levels.

“Any homeowners worried about their mortgage payments should make sure they do their homework to make sure they get the best deal possible to suit their needs,” said Michael Ossei of financial comparison site uSwitch.

Mr Ossei also warned that further hikes in the SVR from other lenders were likely.

“This latest increase should serve as a warning that mortgage payments could go up at any time and with very little notice. If you are enjoying lower mortgage payments at the moment it may be worth overpaying, or putting aside the extra cash you’re saving while rates are so low. And although it may be another year or more before the base rate rises, the only way for mortgage rates to go in the long term is up,” he concluded.

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