‘We will likely lose our dream house because of Kwarteng’s actions’

Three homebuyers on how they have been affected by the collapsing mortgage market

Frances, 30, works in the healthcare sector and has been trying to sell her house in Cambridge in order to buy a bigger home in Bristol.

In the past couple of weeks the chain for her house sale has collapsed twice, forcing her and her husband into a third attempt to upsize.

“We’ve had multiple buyers drop out, including our buyer’s buyer this week. And now some houses that we lost out on buying have become available again due to people dropping out,” Frances says. “It’s been really manic.”

On Thursday morning, the couple’s offer on a house was accepted. “This property’s chain collapsed previously because our seller’s buyer pulled out. It looks like a lot of people are. Now we have to negotiate a mortgage rate.”

Frances says Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget on Friday, which has sent sterling diving against other currencies and is expected to force interest rates up to nearly 6%, made them drop their budget by £100,000 to a maximum of £750,000 over the course of one week.

More than 40% of available mortgages have been withdrawn from the market over the past few days.

“Since the budget, we’ve been looking at cheaper houses, and in areas further away from Bristol, as the situation has made our original plan rapidly unaffordable,” Frances says. “The new rates are scarily high. We’re taking out job loss insurance because we’re so worried. The house we’re now hoping to buy is in Wells, Somerset, so quite a bit from where we were hoping to buy.

“The higher mortgage rate we will have to pay now will definitely put renovation works and an extension on the back burner.”

‘We will likely lose our dream house’

Kyle and his partner have been together for nearly 10 years but still live separately with their parents in Hampshire. The couple thought they had finally managed to save enough to get on the property ladder, and had an offer on a first home accepted earlier this year.

Now, the interest rate chaos is threatening to derail their dream of home ownership.

“We had locked in a favourable mortgage at 2.8% for five years. But unfortunately the people we are buying off are yet to find a property, so this offer will expire in November before we have really got the wheels in motion.

“Back in May when we first applied we had no issues whatsoever getting a good deal.

“Now, we will be faced with the prospect of reapplying, and will now likely get a new offer that makes the repayments unaffordable for us. We will likely lose our dream house. What was looking like a £1,500 a month mortgage would now probably be £1,000 more a month. Coupled with rising energy bills, it just wouldn’t be feasible for us, and we’re not low earners by any means.”

Kyle suspects other parts of their chain could also collapse over rising interest rates and the hugely diminished number of mortgage deals on offer.

“Those we are buying off will likely be put off from trying to get a mortgage themselves in the current market. Whatever the outcome, it looks like it is all slipping away, and all because of changes our chancellor made that weren’t necessary at all.”

‘I can’t afford a rate of 5%’

Dani, 36, a social media consultant from London, has been saving for her first home for six years.

Dani says the thought of going back to renting is frightening. Photograph: Dani/Guardian Community

She made a successful offer for a property in Stratford, east London, earlier this summer, but is still waiting to get her mortgage approved – which looks increasingly unlikely as banks are withdrawing hundreds of deals that would end up losing them money when the Bank of England raises interest rates again.

“It’s been very, very stressful. I’ve had to resubmit my mortgage application several times,” Dani says. “First, the bank dragged the process out for weeks, at the end of which I got rejected due to a technicality – they only took into account my dividends for the last two years – and not my salary of close to £80,000 last year – because I’m a freelancer.

“It’s now been two months since I sent off my new mortgage application. I applied for a 3% interest rate mortgage, with a 15% deposit, which would be coming to monthly payments of just under £1,500. I’ve been chasing my mortgage broker for three weeks now. In his latest message he said he was emailing lenders daily, and blamed large backlogs.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen now. If this mortgage falls through, it would mean I cannot buy at this time, and perhaps not for the foreseeable future – I can’t pay interest rates of 5%, and house prices are rising.”

Dani is staying with a friend, and feels anxious about the future. “I’m scared of going back to renting, where prices are surging also. I’m very worried.”


Jedidajah Otte

The GuardianTramp

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