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Tougher mortgage checks expected for new applicants

People applying for a mortgage are facing tougher affordability checks which delve into their spending habits on outgoings ranging from childcare, travel and clothing to wine clubs and even a flutter on the horses.

The higher hurdles are being put in place as lenders gear up for new rules which come into force on Saturday under the Mortgage Market Review (MMR), which aim to prevent any return to irresponsible lending.

Tougher mortgage checks expected for people applying. Credit: PA

Experts are warning people that they may want to consider reining back on their spending several months before applying for a mortgage, as providers will want to sift through around three months of bank statements "with a fine tooth comb".

The new industry-wide rules mean mortgage providers have to take a much keener interest in an applicant's regular outgoings, which could include what they spend on food, household bills, loans, credit cards and leisure activities, in order to weigh up whether or not they can afford their home loan.

Govt: 'We're far from complacent' on rent rises

The Government has claimed it is "far from complacent" about the cost of rent, but argued the slowing in the rise of accommodation costs showed their long-term economic plan was working.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said:

Today's figures clearly show how our long-term economic plan is working, with more properties being made available to rent, meaning more choice for tenants and average rents down compared to last month.

But we're far from complacent and with millions of people renting privately we're working to expand the sector even further.

– Kris Hopkins

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South West has 'strongest annual rise in rent'

Renters in the South West have seen their accommodation costs rise most in the last twelve months, according to data from a major lettings network.

LSL Property Services said there was 5.2% rise in the average rent in the South West of England.

They also found:

  • Average monthly rent in the South West was now £664.
  • The east of England has seen the sharpest fall, down by 3.6% over the course of twelve months and taking typical rents there to £713.
  • London rents rose by 1.3% over the last year to reach £1,121 on average.
  • Rent in Wales have fallen by 2.0% annually to around £556.

Read: Report: Rents rise by smallest amount in four years

Report: Rents rise by smallest amount in four years

Rent has risen by its smallest amount in four years, with more people jumping on the property ladder, a major lettings networks has reported.

Read: CAB: More homeowners at risk of losing property

For rent sign
The rise in rents have slowed to their lowest rate in four years, according to figures from LSL. Credit: PA

Read: Payday loans 'used to fund rent and mortgages'

The average rent across England and Wales has increased by just 0.9% over the last year, according to LSL Property Services.

However, this rise still pushes the average monthly rent up to £741.

The proportion of tenants' rent which is late or unpaid has dropped back from 8.5% a year ago to 7.8%, which LSL said was a further signs household finances were improving.

Read: Third of Brits 'worry they will never be able to buy a home'

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Huge gaps in life expectancy revealed across UK

Female life expectancy (left) and male life expectancy (right) at age 65 in 2010-2012.
Female life expectancy (left) and male life expectancy (right) at age 65 in 2010-2012. Credit: ONS

Life expectancy remains much higher in areas of southern England than parts of the north and Scotland, new figures show.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data indicates that life expectancy at birth for men in East Dorset is 82.9 years, while men in Glasgow are expected to live on average ten years less, to 72.6 years.

However, the gap between areas with the lowest life expectancy and those with the highest reduced between 2000-02 and 2010-12, the ONS said.

Read: Pensioners could be given 'death date'

Pensioners could be given death date estimate

Steve Webb said insurers could use a number of factors to make the estimates.
Steve Webb said insurers could use a number of factors to make the estimates. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Pensioners could be given an estimate of when they might die to help them manage their finances, according to ministers.

As part of Government guidance intended to help pensioners plan how much to spend and save, pensions minister Steve Webb said insurance companies could look at factors such as smoking, eating habits and socio-economic background when determining approximate life expectancy.

The guidance, which could be rolled out in April next year, may form part of a major shake-up of the pensions system.

The reforms also include measures to allow the withdrawal of money directly from a pension savings pot, without leaving them tied up in annuities.

Read: Pension reforms 'could leave older people at risk'

Cable: 'We need to address zero-hours contracts'

Business Secretary Vince Cable has responded to today's wages and unemployment figures by saying: "Throughout the economic crisis, and now in the recovery, our labour market has shown itself to be resilient and flexible".

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable wants to address zero hour contracts. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

"People are feeling the benefits of recovery. We now need to focus on increasing job security and confidence.

"This is why I am addressing issues such as zero-hours contracts and restoring the real value of the national minimum wage.

Read: Wage rises beat inflation for first time in six years

"Together with the tax and benefits changes we have made, this will mean more money in people's pockets at the end of each month."

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