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The Council of Mortgage Lenders has welcomed the stamp duty changes which have now come into place in the UK and revealed only a small number of mortgagees will be affected. CML director general Paul Smee said although there are losers as well as winners, the vast majority of mortgaged transactions will benefit from lower tax as a result of the change. CML data suggests that, among mortgaged transactions over the past year, 21.6% were for less than £125,000, 47.9% for £125,001 to £250,000, 29% for £250,001 to £925,000, 1.1% for £925,001 to £1.5 million, and 0.4% for over £1.5 million. The proportion of mortgaged transactions that would pay more tax under the new system is around 1.5%. He also talked about work that is being undertaken by the CML and consumer organisation Which? towards the creation of a new a set of measures that both organisations hope will aid transparency, understanding, and decision making for consumers when they are considering the overall costs of different mortgages. Smee explained that although the Financial Conduct Authority rules on the presentation and transparency of cost information are comprehensive, consumers do not always find the cost disclosure easy to understand. So this initiative is about looking at whether there are some practical steps, outside the scope of regulation, that can help. The CML and Which? have agreed to work together to consider practical steps on a number of issues including transparency and presentation of fees and charges to help improve consumer outcomes; standardisation of terminology around fees and charges; consumer education; and setting administrative charges so that they reflect the cost to the lender. The Treasury is taking an interest in this work. The CML and Which? have agreed to provide a progress report by the time of the Budget 2015. The overall project is expected to take up to six months to complete, and will produce a programme for future action, to be taken forward through industry guidance. ‘With the largest and most competitive mortgage market in Europe, UK customers are well-served for choice. We recognise that for this choice to bring the greatest benefit, consumers need to be able to understand and compare products confidently,’ said Smee. ‘We welcome the opportunity to work with Which? towards measures that can make this easier for them,’ he added. Continue reading →
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