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It's a fix! You can slash your monthly mortgage payments.

Be a financial flirt and you'll find that you can slash your monthly mortgage bill.

You don't have to move home to move your home loan.

So play the field while interest rates are at a 30-year low, and find a lender who'll give you a better deal.

Simply by remortgaging from a variable rate of 6.99 per cent (Halifax) to a two-year fixed rate of 4.99 per cent (Skipton) on a pounds 50,000 loan your repayments would plummet from pounds 291.25 to just pounds 207.91. That's a saving of pounds 83.34 a month, or pounds 2,000 over two years.

If mortgage rates rise in the meantime you do even better. If they fall the savings are less.

You may not even have to change lender. Just let yours know that you are looking elsewhere for a better offer, and the chances are they'll offer you a better deal to stay.

Pre-election jitters are making thousands of borrowers look again at their biggest financial commitment.

But act quickly. As the housing market hots up, mortgage deals are looking less attractive.

Patrick Bunton, of independent mortgage advisers London & Country, reckons six out of 10 borrowers are paying over the odds for their mortgage because they pay their lenders' variable mortgage rate.

Anyone owing less than 75 per cent of the value of their property and paying a variable rate should consider remortgaging, he says.

If you can only find a small deposit the costs of switching mortgage may outweigh the benefits.

These include a new survey, legal fees, land registry charges and searches - although a new lender may pay them for you. Also find out whether you'll have to pay a redemption penalty for switching from your current lender, and check how long the new deal locks you into staying with them.

Most lenders reckon interest rates have now hit rock bottom.

So consider a fixed rate especially if you are mortgaged up to the hilt.

If you don't and mortgage rates rise, you could find repayments hard to meet.

Independent mortgage broker John Charcol has launched a five-year capped loan, which guarantees borrowers don't pay more than 7.95 per cent over five years.

But they benefit if rates fall or stay put. The starting rate is 6.74 per cent. It is also offering a five-year fixed rate of 6.99 per cent.

London & Country also has an "election proof" mortgage.

Borrowers pay 3.99 per cent until July next year, then have the option of locking into a fixed-rate of 7.99 per cent until 2002 or taking a one per cent discount for four years. You need a 30 per cent deposit to qualify. Other new deals include a 1.25 per cent discount off the base rate (6.99 per cent) for three years with Leeds & Holbeck.

Borrowers with a 15 per cent deposit can get a fixed rate of 3.59 per cent until February 1998 with Norwich & Peterborough or 4.59 per cent if the deposit is smaller. The fee is pounds 295.

Other fixed rates that take you beyond the millenium include 6.79 per cent until March 2001 with the Coventry building society. You need a 15 per cent deposit to qualify and there is a three per cent fee.

Northern Rock is offering 7.49 per cent fixed-rate mortgage until October 2001 to borrowers with a 10 per cent deposit. The fee is pounds 295.

The top cashback deals on variable rate loans of 6.99 per cent include five per cent from the Halifax (max pounds 10,000) and Birmingham Midshires (max pounds 25,000) and six per cent (max pounds 15,000) from the Newcastle building society.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Boliver, Diane
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 27, 1996

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