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High street lenders are making it harder to get mortgages by setting tough stress tests for applicants in advance of the forthcoming Mortgage Market Review (MMR).

Lenders are said to be banning applicants from taking out loans unless they demonstrate that they can still meet their monthly repayments when interest rates rise, according to the Daily Mail.

The report said that banks and building societies are stress testing on the basis of mortgage rates hitting 7% in the next five years.

The crackdown is based on new demands under the MMR, even though it doesn't come into force until 26 April.

Lenders are also carrying out extensive checks on borrowers' day-to-day finances and spending.

David Hollingworth at London & Country Mortgages said: "Lenders are running the rule over people’s budgets much more closely."

One borrower was even penalised for playing the National Lottery every month, after the bank spotted a large direct debit on his bank statements, he said.

A couple with two pre-school children may be offered a smaller mortgage than a couple whose two children go to school, despite having the same household income. This is because they will typically face higher childcare costs.

And a childless married couple with a single earner on, say, £60,000, would generally be able to borrow less than a similar couple with two earners on £30,000 each.

That's because banks estimate there is a higher risk of the single earner losing their job, than both earners simultaneously losing theirs.

Hollingworth said tough lender checks has doubled the time taken to get a loan from two weeks before the credit crunch to four weeks today.

FCA rules say a lender must assess mortgage affordability over the five years after the loan is made.

Each lender can take its own view on interest rates, but must be able to justify it.

At present, the market expects the Bank base rate will be 3% in five years, the report said.


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