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Marketwatch: Mansion tax back on the agenda

Montlake

So the Great is back in Britain then as those good old Scots, (always liked them) decided we were better together after all. It is always good to know that the Queen has been purring down the phone at our Prime Minister and shows that good, decent Britishness has been restored.

This may stick in the throat of Andy Murray but hey ho, it will all be forgotten by Murray Mount frequenters next summer.

Meanwhile Tesco has had a few issues it seems with a share price that has halved in the past year. As one office wag put it, they wouldn’t like it if I over inflated my clubcard points by 250 million.

Conference season is upon us and Ed “don’t call me Wallace” Milliband has led the way with a speech in which he may have mentioned the word “together” a few times. I do not like to be overtly political but as a traditionally left wing voter, I was left more than a little perplexed about the maths involved in some of the calculations and the Mansion Tax question. Also, what is it with politicians trying to prove they can remember long speeches without help?

I look forward with deep joy to Nick Clegg and David Cameron’s Revue Shows.

Elsewhere, our own industry Financial Services Expo seemed to be a great success and produced much food for thought for lenders, brokers and regulators alike around issues like higher proc fees, the second charge market and buy-to-let regulation.

In the markets this week three-month Libor is now at 0.564 per cent, whilst swap rates have increased further.

swaps

1-year money is down 0.1 at 0.805 per cent      
2-year money is up 0.03 at 1.28 per cent
3-year money is up 0.04 at 1.63 per cent
5-year money is up 0.02 at 2.055 per cent

As a result of this we have already seen Virgin Money forced to reprice its five-year fixes and its rather brilliant six-year fix was unfortunately gone almost as soon as it appeared.

Elsewhere, there is still a fair bit of activity and Nationwide has been busy trying to win hearts and minds with its latest moves. First of all it announced a price promise for existing customers and committed to undercutting its main rivals to look after its back book.

Then some nice news that it is removing its £99 booking fees from product reservations. This may not seem like much but it is a big move and very welcome which should improve the booking process. I know fees will go up £99 to accommodate this but still.

Nationwide has also welcomed back home movers to its Help to Buy 1 equity share schemes ,which is quite a significant move. As if that was not enough, it has also released some new rates to boot, including a 1.94 per cent two-year fix to 60 per cent LTV and a 3.89 per cent two-year fix at 90 per cent LTV.

Accord is back in the 10-day sale game, (more deep joy), with buy-to-let products from just 2.59 per cent on a two-year fixed basis with a £345 fee and residential products cut up to 0.25 per cent.

Halifax has made some further reductions with its two-year and five-year fixes being reduced by up to 0.39 per cent, which is welcome. Its five-year fix up to 90 per cent LTV is now at 5.29 per cent.

Leeds is offering a five-year fixed buy-to-let product at 60 per cent LTV priced at 3.69 per cent and a 70 per cent LTV option with a rate of 3.99 per cent.

Metro Bank is now offering BTL mortgages on an interest-only basis up to a term of 25 years and has five-year fixed rates available from 3.79 per cent and two-year fixes from 2.99 per cent up to 65 per cent LTV.

The Mortgage Works has reduced products by up to 0.6 per cent and now has rates starting from 2.39 per cent. It is extraordinary to see just how low buy-to-let rates are nowadays.

It was good to see the FCA backing a qualification for bridging advisers. This is an important move in the further professionalisation of the industry and should be welcomed. Well done to Brightstar Financial chief executive Rob Jupp and the Association of Bridging Professionals for getting behind this.

Finally, it is farewell to Alex Revell of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, who is moving on to the FCA. Those that do not know Alex should be assured that you have much to thank him for after his tireless and often thankless work behind the scenes to ensure that intermediaries are heard and respected. Together with Robert Sinclair they have proved to be a great team and we wish Alex well.

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