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Borrowers struggle with mortgage fee maze

Borrowers struggle with mortgage fee maze

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 24/01/2011
First Published: 24/01/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Borrowers are being bamboozled by the vast array of fees charged by mortgage lenders, it has been revealed.

New research has found that mortgage providers are charging their customers a total of 39 different types of fees.

Furthermore, Which Money? said that both the number and level of fees has gone up since the financial crisis.

As an example, four in five two-year tracker mortgages for up to 90% of the property's value charged over £990 in set-up fees in 2010, compared to one in five in 2007.

The consumer watchdog said that set-up and additional fees can include anything from booking, administration, arrangement and valuation fees, to charges for falling into arrears and changing from an interest-only mortgage to a repayment mortgage.

Some lenders even levy a fee for borrowers choosing to take out buildings insurance with someone other than their mortgage provider.

The research found that most lenders now charge more than 20 types of additional fees, with Newcastle Building Society leading the way on 29, closely followed by Ipswich Building Society (28) and several others on 27.

However, a handful of providers keep the number of charges to a minimum, with Stafford Railway charging just three types of fees, HSBC having four, first direct five and ING Direct seven.

As a result, Which? said that comparing mortgages is much more complex than it used to be, as deals with attractive headline rates could end up costing customers more once all of the fees are added on.

"Finding the right mortgage used to be as simple as looking for the best rate but the array of fees nowadays has made it a much harder task - it's never been more difficult to understand how much your mortgage is going to cost you," said Which? Money editor, James Daley.

"Lenders should make it clear what the total cost of a deal is so borrowers can make easy comparisons."

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