Nationwide brings back 125% LTV mortgages

The Nationwide, the world’s largest building society, is now bringing back the dreaded 125% mortgage.  While the lender claims these mortgages are a “niche product” designed for customers of Nationwide in negative equity, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is looking to ban this type of lending.

From the BBC:

It will only be available to existing customers in negative equity who want to move house.

Negative equity means that the value of someone’s home is less than the amount they owe on their mortgage.

Nationwide said the deal was a very "niche offer" and that not everyone in negative equity would qualify.

The Financial Services Authority is considering limiting mortgage loans to 100% of a property’s value.

‘No more risk’

The Nationwide only offers new customers mortgages worth 85% of the value of the home they want to buy.

Under its new arrangement, borrowers would take out a loan for 95% of the value of their new house at a fixed rate of 6.73% for three years or 7.48% for five years.

They would then be able to add on the negative equity from their old home, up to another 30% of the value of the new property, at a higher fixed rate of 7.23% for three years or 7.98% for five years.

Now, this is a different product than the one being sponsored by the U.S. government ( see posts on that here and here). In the U.S., the 125% mortgage only applies to the refinancing of mortgages of existing properties.  Here, the Nationwide is offering to fund 95% of the new house purchase, plus up to 30% negative equity from a previous residence.

While I am sceptical about the rationale for this product, it is quite innovative. First, the negative equity portion carries a higher rate than the 95% mortgage.  Moreover, loan exposure for Nationwide probably won’t increase because these deals are for existing customers.  And, Nationwide seems to have found a way to get more house transactions in a climate where prices have been declining.

To my mind, the 125% product offered by this building society shows how innovative the financial services industry can be in any investing or economic climate.  However, products like these operate on the fringe of what should be considered prudent. I see it as further evidence that the financial services industry needs strong oversight to prevent lenders from taking on too much risk and creating the kind of financial crises we have experienced.

Related articles
Nationwide offers 125pc mortgage to home owners trapped in negative equity – The Telegraph
Nationwide brings back 125% mortgage – The Guardian

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