£500 for broadband with a mortgage: is it a gimmick?
Halifax has launched a new promotion, offering homebuyers £500 towards the media package of their choice if they take out a Halifax mortgage.
Halifax has a good track record when it comes to helping homebuyers, particularly first-time buyers. In the past it has offered £500 cashback once a home purchase goes through, which the buyer can then spend on kitting out the house.
And just this year it launched an offer where it covered the full Stamp Duty costs for thousands of first-time buyers.
These were laudable moves that actually make a real difference. I know when I bought my first house, a couple of hundred pounds in cashback would have made life a lot easier when buying sofas, dining tables and the rest.
And covering a buyer's Stamp Duty bill, up to £2,500, is a huge help for many. It's one thing to work out what mortgage you can afford, but when Stamp Duty, legal fees and the rest get added on top, it can be overwhelming. For a lender to remove what is likely to be the biggest of those costs is fantastic.
Perhaps that's why this latest offer strikes me as a bit off.
It seems barmy to me that upon buying a new house, your number one priority is spending £500 on a TV and broadband package. There are dozens of better uses for that cash, surely?
And I don't mean something like contributing to a pension, or putting it aside in savings. Just in everyday life, that £500 can make a big difference, beyond giving you a couple more TV channels that you flick through without ever watching or being able to download a song or two a bit quicker.
But then maybe I'm wrong.
In launching this offer, Halifax quoted its own research, which found that broadband signal was a key factor for a third of people when considering which property to buy. And one fifth said they would pay more for the same house if it had good broadband. I bought a new house recently and didn't even bother to check what the local broadband was like. Clearly I missed a trick.
And using broadbandchoices.co.uk to compare bundle deals, there are plenty that would set me back in excess of £500 in just a year.
If I got the Virgin Media Broadband: 30MB=PhoneM+TV:Lpackage, giving me 170 channels, free calls at weekends and broadband speeds of up to 30Mb, it would cost me nearly £600 in the first year. So Halifax's offer wouldn't even cover a full year of the service.
What do you think? Would getting £500 off a broadband and TV package make you more likely to go for a Halifax mortgage? Or would you rather have that cash to spend as you see fit?