I had a very interesting chat with a chirpy chap from my bank the other day. I actually think it might be the first time I have ever spoken to someone at my own branch, given that it was my dad who opened the account for me (when I was about 7) at the branch in Liverpool near where he worked at the time, and in these days of Internet banking and all that, I try to avoid any contact with them (especially as the staff usually turn out to be a bunch of idiots when I do need to talk to them).
Anyway, so this affable scouser phones me up out of the blue, and basically tries to sell me some money. Oh, I could have a graduate loan if I like, and a graduate mortgage, would I like one of those? I wasn’t particularly interested in buying any of their expensive money at the moment, but I was rather shocked at just how much they’d be prepared to lend me (but not as shocked as he said he was when I told him how much rent we have to pay in London). Gone are the days, it seems, when your mortgage was based on a multiple of your salary. Instead, my bank would apparently quite happily lend me over seven times my salary, on the basis of my ability to make the monthly payments. The initial monthly payments. On a variable rate mortgage. Funnily enough, when I asked whether that might not be just a tad short-sighted (interest rates being at an all-time historic low, and fairly certain to rise over the next few years), he didn’t really answer the question.