The Brief: PM Rishi Sunak vowed to support the country’s homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments during the first Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) since Jeremy Hunt delivered the Autumn Statement. Through the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme, support for interest payments on mortgages and loans for home repairs will be made available for up to £200,000 of the loan or mortgage. It will be repaid with interest once the house is sold or undergoes a transfer of ownership, according to details on GOV.UK.
Why It Matters: The scheme is intended to cushion the increasing pressure of higher mortgage rates, especially for fixed-rate mortgage holders who will soon need to refinance. Although borrowing costs have eased a bit in recent weeks, it still remains higher than pre-September’s mini-Budget.
Finanze Foresights: Much of the existing eligibility requirements of the SMI have been updated to cover more applicants. For instance, the wait period is now reduced to three months from nine months, and those who are currently earning an income can now qualify for support, although these reforms will not take effect until next year. The changes are likely to have been made after the clamour for the inclusion of low-income households who are currently getting hammered by high mortgage costs.
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