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Reports suggest that with the economy is not doing quite so badly as first thought andf with just 87 days to Christmas, time is running out for us to ensure that we end a tough year on a high note

Andrew Montlake MS blog

As someone who’s pet hate is people talking and planning for Christmas at any time before December, I thought I would let you know that there are only 89 days left to go. The point is that time is running out to make sure we all have a great finish to a tough old year.

Not much time to get offers accepted on properties, remortgage applications in and educate everyone about the ridiculous gender changes where insurances are concerned. Planning for next year, budgets and strategy’s will all be discussed in the next few weeks for many firms and I would hope there is a certain amount of cautious optimism being injected into these proceedings.

A few reports recently suggest that the economy is not doing quite so badly as we thought. While 2013 will no doubt bring another flat kind of year in terms of lending, looking back to this time a few years hence, we may be able to say that this is the time things started to improve.

In the markets, three-month Libor is still falling and now stands at 0.61 per cent, whilst swap rates have not really made any significant moves.

1-year money is up 0.02 at 0.595 per cent
2-year money is up 0.01 at 0.80 per cent
3-year money is up 0.01 at 0.85 per cent
5-year money is down 0.01 at 1.065 per cent

Although there are positives, there have also been a few negatives this week.

State Bank of India has suddenly pulled out of lending after promising much, leaving some borrowers high and dry half way through an application.

Tiuta’s issues finally drown them and Marketguard has also gone into administration.

We have also seen more attention being focussed on the so-called interest-only time bomb. This is a good opportunity for brokers to contact all their interest-only customers and review their situation.

Meanwhile a recent report by the FSA shows that complaints to banks and building societies are up 70 per cent in the first half of the year. While much of this is down to payment protection insurance, it still shows that independent brokers must be more vocal and fill the trust void that banks have seemingly vacated.

There is also plenty of good news about. Well done to Paragon Mortgages which has secured a £200m warehouse facility. The buy-to-let lender’s managing director John Heron has reinforced the belief that the buy-to-let market is continuing to gain a healthy momentum.

The boys from Brightstar Financial have teamed up with the ever inventive Kent Reliance to offer a decent product for those who are self-employed but only have one year’s accounts.

Available from 4.99 per cent up to 75 per cent LTV and 5.49 per cent up to 80 per cent LTV with no penalties this is a decent product in a sector which is still on the whole poorly catered for.

Aldermore has released some new buy-to-let products available for a limited time from just 4.48 per cent. It is another broker friendly lender who should get our support.

Leeds has released an excellent 10 year fixed rate priced at 4.58 per cent at 75 per cent LTV and 4.79 per cent at 80 per cent LTV, which to be honest looks pretty attractive for those few who want longer term security. 10 per cent can be paid off without penalty each year.

NatWest has reduced rates on two year 60 per cent LTV products, Virgin Money has increased buy-to-let cashbacks to £750 for a limited period and it was great to see that Barclays has restructured and promised to lend more through brokers next year.

Heroes

Mortgage availability at a five-year high according to the Bank of England’s latest credit conditions survey. We must get this message out to the wider public.

Villains

Clients, accountants and solicitors who try to commit fraud, however soft they think it is. It shows the importance of asking the right questions and checking the qualifications of those involved.

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