With a long established mortgage team in Jersey, Cherry Godfrey re-opened its Mortgage and Life department in Guernsey at the start of this year with the focus of the teams being very much to listen to clients and find the best solutions and products for each one.
There is no getting away from the positive bounce that was seen across both islands in the property market at the start of the year; buoyant property sales, prices appeared to be on the increase and the most challenging problem for estate agents was the lack of new property coming to the market to satisfy the demand. Good, well-priced properties were being quickly snapped up as soon as they hit the market.
March and Covid-19 brought a new set of challenges, changing life as we know it. The property market all but stopped, with only a very few essential property transactions being permitted to complete. The islands were directed to work from home, property viewings were not allowed, conveyancing courts closed and banks rightly turned their focus to helping those experiencing financial difficulty. Despite this, Cherry Godfrey with its visionary and fresh approach continued to see a steady stream of enquiries for new mortgages, increasing as restrictions ease. Property is still very much in demand.
The pandemic has also made us take stock of our financial arrangements. Borrowing money for property is the cheapest it has been for a long time due to the low interest rates.
Fantastically, there are opportunities to lock into rates for periods of 2 to 7 years making budgeting mortgage payments easier and the tracker (variable) rates are, in some cases, less than 1%.
We would suggest it would be timely to review existing mortgages. One client reduced their mortgage interest rate by over 3% by re-mortgaging saving about £500 per month. Another repaid a family loan and we were delighted to find out that their borrowing capacity had increased enough to enable them to take the next step up the property ladder.
Family protection has moved off the “to do list” with the realisation that we are not invincible. Life cover, income protection and family income plans are often far more affordable than we expect and to find out costs nothing more than a phone call.
We are aware that not everything in life fits into a neat little box – every one of us is unique, with unique needs. What drives us is the desire to find a solution using all the tools at our disposal. These include our partnerships with a number of lending banks on the islands giving us access to a range of lending facilities. We also have our own loan book which has proven particularly helpful in funding shorter term arrangements where perhaps a bank cannot help initially.
Working from home has brought us increased flexibility. It allows us to fit in with our customers, especially essential workers who often work shifts and find it difficult to have meetings during the week. Our mortgage and life advisers frequently have virtual meetings over weekends to achieve this and this is our small way of saying “thank you” for the work they are doing whilst putting themselves at risk for us.
Cherry Godfrey Guernsey
PO Box 13, 1 Fountain Street, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 4AQ
T: 01481 711666