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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 April 2008, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Popular High Street mortgage is pulled
By Maddy Savage
Newsbeat reporter, Stafford

We are always being told to shop around for the right mortgage deal, but now one of the UK's big lenders has announced it is stopping its most popular offer.

For sale signs

First Direct was giving a two-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.95 per cent.

But bosses say they were getting so swamped with applications they are now turning away anyone who is not already a customer with the bank.

This is bad news for first-time buyers.

It is already very difficult to find an affordable deal and many people here say they are putting their hopes of buying a flat or a house on hold.

Your stories

23-year-old James told Newsbeat he would like to move in with his girlfriend.

Jane and family
26-year-old Jane lives in Stafford with her two children and boyfriend
He said: "It's just too difficult.

"We have been looking around at deals but we're just going to stay with our parents for a while now."

Jane, 26, has two children with her boyfriend.

She said: "We are always checking out the different options, but there is just no way we can afford to buy anything. It's so expensive!"

Mortgage adverts disappear

It looks like many of the banks and building societies have given up pretending they can offer a bargain too.

Northern Rock bank in Newcastle
Northern Rock was given emergency government funding last year
There are five around the market square in Stafford.

None of them have got any big adverts for mortgages in their windows.

They are full of bright posters for high interest savings accounts instead.

Last week, the Nationwide building society, one of the UK's biggest mortgage lenders, raised its interest rates significantly on new fixed and tracker deals.

Several lenders have just put their variable rates up, including Natwest and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

'No money for holiday'

33-year-old Linda said: "I am on a flexible mortgage and I am really struggling.

"Once we've paid our insurance we're facing 900 a month. We're just surviving.

"My husband is working for us just to get by, not to live. A family holiday this year is out of the question."

Tracey, 38, said: "We have a fixed rate mortgage and we are coping well.

Tracey and daughter
38-year-old Tracey lives in Stafford with her husband and daughter
"But it runs out at the end of the year and we are worried about what kind of deal we'll get offered then."

All these problems are linked to the ongoing credit crunch.

Interest rates are up at the same time as costs for food and bills like electricity.

While this is going on the advice is to budget carefully and try not to take on any more debts.

If you are worried about your mortgage or buying your first home, you should seek independent advice.



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