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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
A quick fix?
Listener Stephen Hunt
Listener Stephen Hunt believes house prices could fall sharply in the next few years
Monday, 20 August, 1502 BST
On Radio 4 and online

In the last programme in the current series, Inside Money looks at the government's proposals to encourage greater take up of long-term fixed-rate mortgages.

Would you fix your mortgage for 25 years?

With housing now top of the political agenda, one of the new prime minister Gordon Brown's first initiatives is a plan to provide more long-term fixed-rate mortgages.

The government believes this will help stabilise the housing market: but will it work?

Britain already has one of the most competitive mortgage markets in the world.

A handful of lenders offer long-term deals, but they have never proved popular.

Although fixed-rate deals are increasingly common, the vast majority of us prefer to commit to arrangements lasting only 2 or 3 years, and not the 10, 15 or 25 years which the government wants to promote.

However, in the next year and a half, more than two million borrowers will come to the end of short-term fixed-rate deals they took out when rates were low back in 2005.

Given how much the Bank of England has increased interest rates since then, these consumers may get a nasty shock when they come to remortgage and have to face significantly higher monthly payments in the future.

A mortgage application being filled in
Will customers be willing to sign-up to a fixed 25 year deal?

Would long-term fixed-rate deals stop them feeling the financial squeeze and prevent an equally nasty shock being delivered to the UK's already volatile housing market?

Listener Stephen Hunt is an insolvency practitioner who is worried about the housing market.

He believes house prices could fall sharply in the next few years and is concerned about the impact this could have on borrowers.

He joins presenter Lesley Curwen to investigate whether long-term fixed-rate mortgages could help stabilise the housing market.

Inside Money: A Quick Fix? was broadcast on Monday 20 August at 15.02 BST.

Presenter: Lesley Curwen
Listener: Stephen Hunt
Producer: Jennifer Clarke



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