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In the news, the latest round up

In the news this week, hundreds of mortgage deals are set to expire in April, first time parents are failing to financially protect their families and house builders are being warned over their marketing.

Homeowners can save £100 a month as flood of mortgage deals set to expire – The Telegraph

Homeowners are being urged to lock in cheap mortgages before April. £21bn worth of mortgages are due to mature in April, the 2nd biggest month this year (December will be the biggest with £25bn worth of loans). Borrowers are urged to start reviewing their options now.

However, mortgages maturing in April are 52pc larger than average meaning homeowners could save almost £100 a month by switching to a new, cheaper, deal in advance. The large loan value reflects the fact the mortgage market for large loans was particularly competitive when the deals were taken out.

Customers are moved to their lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) when mortgage terms expire which is typically much more expensive.

However, customers could switch to a cheaper deal in advance as mortgage offers typically last for three to six months. Borrowers can shop around today and lock in a low rate before their term ends in the spring.

Click here for the full article

We have teamed up with award winning brokers L&C to bring you FREE mortgage advice. See what the latest deals are that you can switch to online now.

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First-time parents fail to financially protect families – This is Money

The average parent-to-be spends £1,645 on equipment such as prams, cots and car seats, equivalent to more than £469m a year across the UK.

However, less than one in five take out a life insurance policy to ensure their family would be protected against the loss of a parent and their income, according to insurer Aviva.

A monthly premium of £15 for a standard life insurance policy for both parents for 18 years would provide a tax-free lump sum of £237,123 if one parent died or was diagnosed with a terminal illness within that period, Aviva said.

The research, which surveyed 2,000 parents with children under five, also revealed that just 16% have a will – yet 66% have installed stairgates and 49% have fitted safety catches on kitchen doors and cupboards.

Paul Brencher, health and protection director at Aviva UK, said: “Considering that buying your first house and starting a family are traditionally the most common life events that prompt the arrangement of life insurance, it is very concerning to see that nearly three-quarters of first-time parents are not protecting their families’ future financial wellbeing.”

“Ensuring that there is appropriate financial protection in place should be on every new parent’s list of essential items when they are starting a family.”

If you want to protect your family financially, seeking the help of an independent financial adviser can often be beneficial. Find out how an adviser might be able to help you.

Read the full article

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Help to Buy housebuilders get warning over marketing – The Times

Housebuilders have been warned they could be stripped of their right to sell Help to Buy homes if they use advertising to make buyers feel time pressured to complete purchases before the current scheme ends next year.

Homes England, the government’s housing agency, has written to developers to tell them that advertising “must not use any form of wording that might make potential customers think there is a reason to feel time pressured into making their first home purchase.”

A spokeswoman said: “We have always had adherence to advertising guidelines included as a condition of the equity loan funding agreement and all developers are aware that failure to comply with this — and with advertising regulations under the Consumer Credit Act — risks them being suspended from the scheme.” She said housebuilders have been reminded that advertising, marketing and promoting of Help to Buy must be “clear, fair and not misleading” at all times.

More than 2,000 developers participate in Help to Buy, introduced in 2013 to offer buyers with a 5 per cent deposit an interest-free loan of up to 20 per cent of the price, or 40 per cent in London.

Read the full story.

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New UK housing ‘dominated by roads’ – BBC

Planners and engineers have been rapped for allowing new housing developments to be dominated by roads. A report says too many highways engineers are still approving roads that do not fully account for pedestrians and cyclists.

It follows a government survey suggesting an increase in public concern over the impact of cars on people’s health and the environment. The new report comes from University College London (UCL).

Its author, Prof Matthew Carmona, told BBC News: “Far too many new developments are still all about the car. It’s all about making sure cars don’t need to slow down. Pedestrians and cyclists just have to get out of the way.”

Click here to read the full story

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The six surprising secrets to a happy home – The Times

What makes your home a happy one? The findings of a new study might surprise. It’s not about owning your home, but knowing you can live there for as long as you need. It’s not about having big windows with lots of light, but whether you can see nature through them. And it’s not about buying that trendy blue velvet sofa, but how much your home reflects who you are. Following trends is, in fact, “overrated”, finds the report, entitled The Science of a Happy Home.

“No one’s ever really tried scientifically to study the inside of a home — how does good design enhance your happiness within it?” says Alex Depledge, who commissioned the study for Resi, the online architectural studio she co-founded.

Researchers asked 4,000 people in Britain to describe their homes through 10 personality traits using the OCEAN psychology framework, and compared this to each person’s satisfaction with their home and life. Sixteen video interviews with home improvers complemented the data. From this, they identified six key qualities of a happy home.

Find out what these are and read the full article.

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