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Property Savvy Brits Long to Put More Money into Bricks and Mortar
(26 August 2005)

It would seem that home really is where the heart is, as Brits say they would spend more money on property if they were financially secure. The new research from NatWest Mortgage Services found, that with an increased disposable income, just under a third of us would either buy a house or upgrade to a bigger house, while 23% would invest in a second home abroad. A satisfied 21% of the nation seem quite happy where they live and would simply make improvements to their current property.

Londoners (33%) were the most likely to buy a house or buy a bigger house, while people in the North East (29%) would answer the call of distant lands as the most likely to buy a second home abroad. The Welsh however (31%) proved to be the true homebirds, as they preferred the idea of spending money on improving the home they already have.

Brits also know exactly what they want when it comes to buying a property as 62% of people who took a mortgage in the last five years spent three months or less looking at properties before making an offer. Only a fifth were more indecisive spending more than 6 months looking before they found somewhere they liked enough to make an offer.

Choosing a mortgage would appear to be just as straightforward, as almost half of those (45%) who took out a mortgage in the last five years spent a week or less looking at and comparing mortgage deals before deciding on the one they actually took out. It would seem the older and wiser over 50s really know their stuff as nearly a third said they took no time at all to find exactly what they wanted, while 42% of 18-29 year olds spent between 1-4 weeks looking for their ideal mortgage option.

As for the features of the mortgage itself, the research found that, of those who have arranged their current mortgage in the last five years, men favour a low rate as the most important feature while woman preferred the certainty of a fixed monthly payment. When it comes to getting the mortgage paid off early more men (27%) than women (20%) felt that an overpayment option was an important feature.

Charles Haresnape, Director NatWest Mortgages, commented: "People are becoming much more astute when it comes to buying property and finding a mortgage, and clearly a lot more demanding in bagging the right deal. They also want flexibility from the products they choose and for couples looking for mortgage harmony, choosing a product such as an offset mortgage can fulfil the needs of changing circumstances. This in turn could afford homeowners the flexibility to command an increased disposable income that they could use to perhaps realise aspirations such as a second home."

For more details on how to take the NatWest 250 Mortgage Challenge customers should visit their nearest branch or call 0800 404 8900 or visit


  • Research was carried out by YouGov, from 8th - 10th August 2005, with a sample of 2237 of GB adults.
  • NatWest is once again inviting mortgage customers from Halifax, Abbey, Lloyds and C&G to take the NatWest Mortgage Challenge. For Halifax, Abbey and Lloyds and C&G mortgage customers whose current mortgage deals are coming to an end, NatWest is so confident that it can lower their new monthly repayments, it promises to give them 250 if they can't.

    • NatWest's new Mortgage Challenge runs from 30th August 2005. The monthly repayment comparison will be made against NatWest's 4.49% 2-year discount. Overall cost for comparison is 6.4% APR (variable).
    • Customers must have their mortgage with Abbey, Halifax, Lloyds TSB or C&G to qualify for the 250 challenge. Customers must not be tied into the deal with their current lender. Customer's current mortgage must be for at least 30,000 with loan to value of 75% or less.
    • Excludes internet, buy-to-let, offset, current account mortgages, stepped and extended tie-in deals.
    • Customers of Halifax, Abbey, Lloyds TSB and C&G must supply written proof of their new mortgage payment to qualify for the 250.
    • The 250 challenge will remain a part of our mortgage offering going forward for customers of the named lenders.

  • From 30th August NatWest will also introduce an enhanced range of products:

    • 4.49% 2-year discount for purchase and remortgage
    • 3.79% 1-year discount, tied to SVR in year two
    • Fees assisted 4.99% 2-year discount remortgage deal, with no arrangement fee
    • 5.35% improved Flexible Offset mortgage
    • 4.44% 2-year discount exclusively for Advantage Premier customers