Like the magazine market for expectant parents, the mortgage
magazine market is assured a regular throughput of readers. As
first-time home buyers come onto the market and face a bewildering array
of different products, a magazine which compares interest rates and
small print clearly has a niche.
But a number of other factors are now driving sales of mortgage
Homeowners are now realising that it makes sense to change their
mortgage every few years. Hence, instead of readers buying one or two
months' copies when they buy their home, there is now a great deal more
repeat buying as people keep an eye on the market.
Publishers say the market is also being driven by a need for information
relating to the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions in the
financial industry, uncertainty about the value of endowment mortgages,
the suggestion that there may soon be new rules about house purchasing,
and most recently the beginnings of a mortgage price war.
Possibly sensing their increasing importance, the two most established
magazines in the market - What Mortgage and Your Mortgage - have both
appointed new editors, and either recently re-designed (YM) or are about
Such is the interest in the sector that these magazines are also fending
off competition from Mortgage Magazine, which launched last October, and
also increased interest from TV and the personal finance sections of
The three magazines in the market currently look remarkably similar.
All have a fact section - a regular step-by-step guide to buying a house
- and a features section. The point being that to attract the browsing,
potential purchaser, the 'must have' content is pretty clear.
There are subtle differences, however. Your Mortgage is perfect bound
and has a slightly more upmarket feel than the other two. What Mortgage
might claim a more authoritative feel and features a broader range of
mortgages, including those for people with difficulties, such as poor
credit ratings. Mortgage Magazine is aimed more at the first time buyer
and is trying to win an audience with cover mounts.
The nature of these titles as 'transaction magazines' means that brand
loyalty is not much of a factor - any magazine on the shelf stands a
reasonable chance of being bought.
The titles do not publish ABCs (they did in the past), so the true sales
picture is difficult to assess. Publishers say the main magazines sell
15,000 to 20,000 a month but because sales are largely determined by how
many people are looking at purchases in any given month, they are prone
to wild fluctuations.
Name: Paula John
Publisher: Matching Hat
'People buy the magazine either because they don't know where to begin,
or for further advice, and there are some people who buy it solely for
the charts at the back.
'Our reader research indicates that people see our magazine as the
'Rolls Royce' of its sector, while What Mortgage is regarded as the
While it must be said that the content of both is broadly similar, Your
Mortgage uses superior quality paper - is more glossy and more likely to
sit on peoples' coffee tables for longer. Our readers also tend to be
slightly more affluent than What Mortgage's. We do not consider Mortgage
Magazine a threat. What Mortgage has been a healthy rival for years and
we welcome its presence. But I don't think there's room for yet another
mag dedicated to mortgages.
'We redesigned the magazine last year. It has been going for 14 years,
so we need to revisit the look regularly to prevent it from becoming
We have also revamped the charts to make them more accessible, and have
added a 'flexible buy-to-let' chart as these deals have recently been
'We think it is important that a totally independent guide to mortgages
exists. The mortgage market is fiercely competitive, which is great news
for consumers. There are plenty of cheap deals around, but there are
more than 4,000 to choose from and many borrowers need a helping hand
through the maze.'
Name: Tamsin Hensley
Publisher: Charterhouse Communications
'What Mortgage was established in 1982 and offers information on the
latest mortgages in the market and tips on homebuying and homeowning,
including how to find a removals service, home security and using a
housing association to find a home. We also look at ISA mortgages,
flexible mortgages and deals for first-time buyers.
'There are more and more mortgage magazines coming on the market - most
recently Mortgage Magazine. With this in mind, the magazine is being
redesigned with a fresher more modern up-to-date feel to it. We are also
hoping to team up with more lenders to include information booklets,
CD-Roms, calendars, key rings, pens and videos as cover mounts.
'Each feature we write offers tips and advice but we also like to have a
contemporary feel to each article. One way of doing this is to contact
the PR agencies of lenders in the industry - not only the larger lenders
but the smaller ones too. We also deal with the PR agencies of the more
specialist lenders, such as those which offer mortgages for the
self-employed or to borrowers with a poor credit record. These agencies
provide us with an overview of the market, general product information
and case studies.
'A significant proportion of our readership are first-time buyers, while
over a quarter are re-mortgaging.'
Name: Richard Kingsbury
Publisher: MSM International
'The last of the three magazines in the market, we launched last
October. We are a company that focuses on financial titles and we saw an
opportunity because we thought the market needed a shake-up.
'People always need information about mortgages and in the last few
weeks the profile of the mortgage industry has been raised again. You
have about 150 lenders, and probably 4,000 different products, which
makes it very difficult for people to choose. People had also been
scared by endowments, plus there was a lot of discussion about
legislation on mortgage advice and a lot of mergers and acquisitions
'The magazine is split into three sections. There is a data section
giving information on the best deals. There is a core section, which
gives people step-by-step guides through processes like buying a home.
This stays basically the same each month, but we do look at it to keep
'At the front we run between seven to nine articles where we can expand
on different aspects of home buying. We also do cover mounts every issue
- we are the only ones doing that at the moment.
'We are aimed at first-time buyers and people looking to change their
mortgage or to move home. Most people buy up to three magazines: they
start looking, go and buy a magazine, they buy the next one to see how
things have changed and maybe a third if they have not yet bought.'