Halifax runs small ‘green test’ trial for borrowers with energy efficient homes

Halifax runs small ‘green test’ trial for borrowers with energy efficient homes


A report in The Mail on Sunday said the green test could mean struggling borrowers with energy-efficient properties could access larger mortgages.

It explained that the test will mean the lender will examine whether borrowers with more energy-efficient homes will have increased disposable income as their energy bills were lower. Evidence of extra income could also help a borrower qualify for a larger mortgage.

According to a Halifax spokesperson, the test will review applications for new-build homes with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A or B for borrowers that “narrowly fail” a standard affordability assessment, using lower assumed fuel costs due to increased energy efficiency.

Green mortgages and energy efficiency have become increasingly important on lenders’ agenda over the past year or so.

Last year in October, the government was reported to be exploring plans to work with mortgage lenders to support homeowners to improve the energy performance of properties.

This included banks improving average EPC rating of the homes on the lending portfolio to at least band C by 2030.

Lenders have also been introducing more green mortgage products, with around 21 lenders providing some kind of green or energy=efficient product.

Halifax increases disability allowance and PIP income criteria

Halifax increases disability allowance and PIP income criteria


It advised that brokers should continue to key the income under ‘other income’, and where it is entered the bank said advisers should ask borrowers how much of the income is used for related costs. 

Such costs should then be entered as a credit commitment in the application under the category ‘other’. 

If there are no costs, then no credit commitment needs to be entered. 

Changes to how DLA and PIP are calculated apply to applications started from 17 January and a decision in principle (DIP) keyed in on that date will be subject to the new requirements. 

Applications before this date, including those still at the DIP stage, will remain on the previous rules. 

Average house prices rise over £24,500 in a year – Halifax HPI

Average house prices rise over £24,500 in a year – Halifax HPI

According to Halifax’s latest house price index, this is the largest annual cash rise since March 2003 and the sixth consecutive month of rising house prices.

Wales reported the strongest house price growth at 14.5 per cent, with average house prices coming to £205,579. This was slightly down from the 14.8 per cent rise in November.

This was followed by North West, which came to 11.8 per cent and brings average house prices to £211,954.

The South West region reported 11 per cent house price growth with house prices coming to £287,774.

Greater London reported the lowest annual change at 2.1 per cent, with house prices brought to £525,351. This is the highest average house price in the UK.

Halifax’s managing director Russell Galley said the housing market “defied expectations” in 2021, with record high house prices recorded on eight occasions, despite the UK being in lockdown for around six months of the year.

He added that the lack of spending opportunities during lockdown had helped boost cash reserves. This along with the stamp duty holiday and race for space encouraged homebuyers to bring forward their home purchases.

The extension of the government’s job and income support schemes also propped up the labour market and heightened confidence.

Galley noted the lack of homes for sale and historically low mortgage rates had helped drive up annual house price inflation to 9.8 per cent, which he said was the highest level since 2007.

He said: “Looking ahead, the prospect that interest rates may rise further this year to tackle rising inflation, and increasing pressures on household budgets, suggests house price growth will slow considerably.

“Our expectation is that house prices will maintain their current strong levels but that growth relative to the last two years will be at a slower pace. However, there are many variables which could push house prices either way, depending on how the pandemic continues to impact the economic environment.”


Outlook for 2022

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said the figures were “unsurprising” due to strong volume of demand from buyers, despite winter months typically seeing demand taper down.

He said: “We anticipate that our next report will mirror this data and continue the same trend in December, as agents on the ground report an extremely busy month in comparison to previous years.

“Movement within the market in 2022 is inevitable as many buyers continue in their hunt for a property, but uncertainty remains surrounding Covid-19 and looming restrictions due to new variants which could deter buyers from entering as soon as they would like.”

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance added that it would be interesting to see the housing market “return to a level of normality” over the next few months as government stimulation is removed.

He said: “Business has been buoyant as we start the year, with plenty of enquiries coming through. January can be quite a slow month as people gradually get back to work and find their feet but there are still motivated buyers who didn’t transact last year and are keen to do so, particularly before interest rates rise further.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said low mortgage rates had been one factor in the housing boom and although lenders had started to tweak the mortgage rates upwards, “pricing remains competitive”.

He added: “There is still plenty of confidence among buyers but perhaps now is the time to secure a cheap fixed mortgage rate to protect against the potential of further rate rises.”

Two-thirds believe housing affordability will worsen in future – Halifax

Two-thirds believe housing affordability will worsen in future – Halifax


Halifax’s housing market outlook for 2022 used data from a survey conducted by Lloyds Banking Group with 6,442 participants this month. 

Rising house prices over the next three years were cited as the reason for property becoming less affordable in the future. 

Both a majority of homeowners and renters agreed that house prices were the biggest problem facing the market with 60 per cent of homeowners saying so compared with 72 per cent of renters. 

According to the survey, respondents were sceptical that the industry could adapt to deliver affordable, quality homes as the country recovers from the pandemic. 

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “As has been consistent for several years pre-pandemic, the key long-term issue for the housing market remains the inequality between generations and across the income spectrum, and specifically the ability of the young and lower-paid to access good quality housing that meets their needs.  

“This disparity has only intensified over the last two years, increasing the need to prioritise improved housing availability and affordability.” 


Market predictions 

The average price of a house in the UK has increased by £20,757 since last year to £272,992. Halifax’s latest house price index showed annual growth had reached 8.2 per cent in December, just below the 9.5 per cent peak in May, which was the strongest annual growth for seven years. 

Properties sold to first-time buyers recorded a higher rate of yearly house price growth at 9.1 per cent compared to the 8.8 per cent change for homemovers. 

Halifax said house prices would remain stable in 2022 but annual growth would be flatter at around one per cent. 

Galley added: “Looking ahead, with the prospect that interest rates may rise further in 2022 to subdue rising inflation, and with government support measures phased out, greater pressure on household budgets suggests house price growth will slow considerably. 

“We expect, therefore, that house prices will maintain their current strong levels but that growth will be broadly flat during 2022 – perhaps somewhere in the range of zero to two per cent.” 

He said even with that range in mind, there was still a “large degree of uncertainty”, considering the extent that savings built up during the pandemic continued to boost housing transactions and prices. 

Homemover numbers at highest since 2007 – Halifax

Homemover numbers at highest since 2007 – Halifax


According to the latest Halifax Homemover Review, the number of home moves also hit a record high in the year to June at a total of 461,010. This was a rise of 52 per cent annually and the highest yearly total since 2007, when it hit 716,650.

This leap in property transactions comes after several years of flat or falling numbers. The total number of moves in the 12 months to June exceeded any total seen for any period in a decade by 100,000.

Additionally, the number of first-time buyers rose by 74 per cent to 210,900 in the first half of the year compared to 2020. Those stepping onto the property ladder also accounted for two-fifths of all sales during the period.


‘Race for space’

Andrew Asaam (pictured), Halifax mortgages director, said: “The rate and scale of the growth of the homemover market is quite remarkable. After several years of flat transaction numbers then a marked fall at the start of the pandemic, we’re now at a level not seen since 2007.

“There are many factors that have driven this activity, perhaps the biggest of which is the ‘race for space’ amongst those planning to work from home in the long term. The timing of some these moves will also have been influenced by people wanting to benefit from the stamp duty holiday.

“It is important to recognise the boom in sales was not limited to movers. There were more first-time buyers in the first six months of this this year, than in the first half of any of the last 10 years. Those getting on to the housing ladder accounted for almost half of all mortgage-backed purchases, which is in line with the long-term average.”


Prices and deposits

The average price paid by homemovers rose 11 per cent in the 12 months to September 2021, to £387,485. Wales, East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber all saw prices rise by 16 per cent over the year, to £276,849, £320,715 and £284,268 respectively. Meanwhile, Greater London saw prices rise by just five per cent to £699,864, the lowest of any region.

Homemovers put down an average deposit of £134,227, equivalent to 35 per cent of the purchase price. Average deposits were worth at least 30 per cent of the property in all UK regions. Highest deposit levels were in the South West at 38 per cent, with the North having the lowest at 30 per cent.

Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 22/10/2021

Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 22/10/2021


The Advertising Standards Authority ruling to ban Habito’s April ad for its long-term fixed rate mortgage product also caught your eye.

Mortgage Advice Bureau’s annual conference took place in Birmingham at the ICC this week, with chief executive Peter Brodnicki detailing the company’s focus on lead generation and Goodbody’s chief economist Dermot O’Leary discussing interest rate rises.

Halifax increases LTI to 5.5x income and boosts affordability for nurses

Big banks likely to fill ‘void’ left by Help to Buy

Virgin Money partners with Hometrack to identify back book risk from climate change

Older homeowners see property wealth grow by £800 a month post-stamp duty holiday

ASA bans Habito One advert over ‘misleadingly exaggerated’ April interest rate rise claims

Google fraud focus requires advice firm action – Stonebridge

Government earmarks £450m to upgrade UK’s boilers

BoE could hike bank rates three times in 12 months – O’Leary

Technology and lead generation must target customers earlier in mortgage journey – Brodnicki

Cambridge brings back top slicing for buy-to-let mortgages


Halifax increases LTI to 5.5x income and boosts affordability for nurses

Halifax increases LTI to 5.5x income and boosts affordability for nurses


The changes come into force from today and those earning less than £40,000 the maximum LTI is now 4.49x income. This limit was previously applied to those whose income was less than £30,000.

For borrowers earning over £75,000 with loans up to £1m at less than 75 per cent loan to value (LTV) they can access 5.5x income. This is an increase from 5x income.

At the same income bracket, loans between £75,000 and £1m from 75 to 85 per cent LTV the LTI has gone from 4x to 4.49x income.

Also for those earning above £75,000, and for loans between £500,000 and £750,000 with an LTV between 85 and 95 per cent, the maximum LTI is increasing from 4x to 4.49x income.

The lender has also boosted additional duty hours and nursing bank income allowed from 60 per cent to 100 per cent.

The lender added that a maximum LTI of 4.49x income applies to affordable housing schemes where there is self-employed income.

Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 08/10/2021

Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 08/10/2021


Nationwide’s announcement that it would be releasing Deposit Unlock products, which is a reinsurance-backed mortgage scheme, and an analysis of the scheme also proved of interest to brokers.

HSBC expanding its buy-to-let range to brokers and Natwest pleading guilty to money laundering offences also grabbed readers’ attention.

Brokers urged to gear up for almost £40bn of remortgaging in January

Halifax launches high LTV affordable housing products and ups loan sizes

Nationwide joins new build higher LTV lending scheme

HSBC expands buy-to-let mortgage availability to brokers

Being humble as a novice mortgage adviser will teach you an awful lot – Marketwatch


Natwest pleads guilty to money laundering offences

All the winners of the British Mortgage Awards 2021

Mortgage borrowers could overpay by £2,500 by not shopping around

Barclays ups income multiples at 85 per cent LTV

Deposit Unlock success depends on lenders following Nationwide’s lead ‒ analysis



Halifax launches high LTV affordable housing products and ups loan sizes

Halifax launches high LTV affordable housing products and ups loan sizes


The lender will introduce these products on Wednesday, 6 October, which include a two-year and five-year fixed rate affordable housing product, at between 85 and 90 per cent LTV.

Halifax has also increased the first-time buyer and home mover maximum loan size to £750,000, up from £500,000, on certain 85 to 90 per cent LTV products.

The lender has also reduced rates in the first-time buyer and home mover products at 90 to 95 per cent LTV by up to 0.35 per cent.

On the remortgage side, Halifax has introduced two and five-year fixed rate products, with no fee, £999 and £1,499 options.

The lender has also introduced an affordable housing, shared equity and shared ownership two-year product with a £999 fee.

Esther Dijkstra (pictured), managing director for Lloyds Banking Group for intermediaries, said: “These changes will enable us to continue helping more mortgage customers in line with our responsible approach to lending and our ongoing commitment to the market, backed by the service and support upon which intermediaries continue to rely.”

Scottish Widows Bank will also make similar LTV changes.

Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 01/10/2021

Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 01/10/2021


Mortgage Advice Bureau’s interim results, which showed record revenue of £92.4m and total adviser numbers of 1,800, also interested brokers.

Research by Halifax that homebuyers pay a £40,000 premium for more sustainable properties with higher energy ratings also grabbed readers’ attention.

Third of furloughed workers turn to remortgaging

Coadjute creates first UK cryptocurrency for mortgage transactions

Housing market to slow after summer growth peak – Hamptons

Furlough scheme and stamp duty holiday-end due tomorrow – analysis

Mortgage Advice Bureau reports record revenue as advisers hit 1800 – interim results

Homebuyers pay £40,000 premium for sustainable properties

The FCA gets tough, we have been warned – Blackwell

Clients are in charge of where they place business if an adviser leaves – Marketwatch

Evicting tenants can take up to a year and cost over £35,000

Aldermore brings back deals for borrowers with adverse credit