Variable Rate Mortgages – Setting The Standard
Here’s the first mortgage term you should learn – Standard Variable Rate, or SVR. This is the interest rate you will be paying on the total amount you are borrowing. It is usually expressed as a percentage, and is different from an APR (Annual Percentage Rate). An APR includes all costs associated with the loan, such as interest, fees, any compulsory insurances etc.
While interest rates can vary quite widely across the board, all lenders will have a Standard Variable Rate. It’s the default rate for their mortgages, and can provide a good indication of whether they are offering good deals. Comparing different lenders’ SVRs is one way to get an idea of who has lower rates generally – though there will be exceptions to this rule.
This rate fluctuates, going up or down according to the economy and the lender. The biggest factor that effects SVRs is the Base Rate set by the Bank of England. In recent years this has been kept relatively low, and mortgage interest rates have been particularly good for borrowers. However, this could change and you should bear in mind that rates could go up in the future.
Many mortgages start off with special introductory rates, and then revert to the SVR after a set period. These include capped and collared mortgages. There are also ‘fixed rate’ and ‘interest only’ mortgages available, which are covered in more detail further on in the guide. When considering mortgages with special introductory rates, you should also take into account what the SVR is likely to be once your initial period is over. Many mortgages come with the condition that you stick with the same one for several years, even after the special offer period is over. There will often be penalties if you want to change mortgage within this tied period.
Interest calculation, interest charging
Be aware that there is a difference between interest calculation and interest charging. Some mortgages calculate interest daily, which works out as fairer for the borrower as your overall balance is reducing every month, and therefore the interest will be reducing too (even by a tiny fraction, every little helps!). Other lenders calculate interest monthly or annually, although annual calculation should be avoided if at all possible, as you will be paying the same interest for a whole year despite your balance having been reduced by your repayments. You should also ensure that your interest is charge in arrears, rather than in advance.
About the Author: Joseph Kenny writes for the Loans Store and offer more information on personal loans and other loan topics available on site.
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