As far as a Calendar is able to show, the new decade has entered into a year that is supposed to put the world back in sync.


The physical time of the Earths’ rotation around the Sun, compared to that of the set Seasons each year, is marginally different to what we are able to show on a Calendar, therefore, every four years (only missing out once a Century) a leap day comes around – except if the century is divisible by 400… and not forgetting that a day varies in time, randomly by a few milliseconds.


With these many variables to consider when pinning-down the time equation and placed to assist imperfect Calendars to keep In-Sync with the complicated sets of calculations, we’re given the resultant leap year.


1952 was a leap year – A year of major post-war UK council house building, impacting on the rental sector and a time of increasing mortgage finance availability, impacting owner-occupiers. That leap year had some 1.65 million borrowers (from a 50.43m population) supported through the circa 800 local Building Societies’ mortgages. Compare this to the current leap years10.9 million borrowers (and a 66.87m population) using circa 200 combined Building Societies, Banks and other lenders that operate nationally utilizing technology.


1980 was a leap year – A year when UK bank rates were 14%. However, by the leap year 1992, they were down to 6.87%, in the leap year 2004 they were further down to 4.75% and by the leap year 2016, they’d hit a 0.25% low.


2008 was a leap year – A year when one Building Society, converted to Bank status as the fifth-largest mortgage lender in the country in terms of assets (Northern Rock mortgage lending was £29.5bn in 2007 – prior to credit and financial crisis of 2007-2008), however, had its lending fall by 90% to £2.9bn.


2012 was a leap year – A year when the average price of a home in the UK was £162,262 (Nationwide data for valued and approved mortgages). By the leap year 2016, the average value had increased to £232,885. This leap year, UK house prices (via Nationwide statistics 2020 ) show an average home at £215,897 (including an increase from a previous low).


The leap year 2020 has entered a very, very bruised world.


UK lenders continue to face unsettled markets (Brexit, Coronavirus, and competitors driving pricing down in response to Regulation). Consequently, some are placing tougher criteria as they adapt to ‘riskier’ lending in a bid to focus on increasing margins and minimizing losses.


Last year, lending growth turned to locking-in buyers and re-mortgagers, the fixed-rate deal returned, as did a trend for longer mortgage terms (especially for first-time stretched buyers), ‘trends’ which are likely to continue this leap year along with upper age limits being lengthened and specialist lenders targeting niche areas.


The future happens through ‘leap’ days, quantum leaps and generally being in-sync with complicated calculations. Looking back, we can help ourselves to understand how to move forward by learning from generally imperfect situations.


Article credit: Copyright SUF © 2020


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