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Marketwatch

The Autumn Statement is firm proof that politicians do not have the answers to our housing problems but at least there was some Funding For Lending improvement which bodes well for next year

Andrew Montlake MS blog

Yesterday I listened to the first 20 minutes of the Autumn Statement, which is frankly 20 minutes of my life I will never get back.

Long after I lost interest I learnt that there is really nothing in there which contains any real element of hope that our political leaders are any wiser than anyone else about how to deal with the current housing market issues.

At least there was no mansion tax to further dent the high value property market which, let’s not forget, filters down the chain to lower levels where the real crux of the issues remain.

It was interesting to see the latest Funding for Lending Scheme reports, with two large lenders increasing their share of lending in the third quarter, Barclays and Nationwide, whilst Santander, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland actually reduced.

Overall there was a slight improvement and it all bodes well for next year and indeed the final few weeks of this year. I believe there are still a lot of deals to be done before the Christmas break and enquiry levels have certainly not dipped off dramatically as yet.

In the markets, three-month Libor seems to have stuck firm at 0.52 per cent, while swap rates have dipped ever-so slightly once more.

  • 1-year money is unchanged at 0.535 per cent
  • 2-year money is down 0.02 at 0.70 per cent
  • 3-year money is down 0.01 at 0.78 per cent
  • 5-year money is down 0.01 at 1.025 per cent

In the wonderful world of products, Abbey has introduced its latest seven day mortgage sale which is a three year fix at just 2.49 per cent up to 60 per cent LTV with a £995 fee. It is also reducing rates at 85 per cent LTV which is welcome.

NatWest has launched some new products at 50 per cent LTV with no fees, starting at 2.75 per cent and reduced rates on some other products with the largest cut applying to its buy-to-let two-year fixed rate at 75 per cent LTV, down by 0.94 per cent from 4.49 per cent to 3.55 per cent. The product fee is going up from £1,999 to £2,495.

But disappointingly the costing on its 90 per cent LTV products is increasing.

Woolwich has released its latest offering to existing clients whose product matures in the next three months but not if they mature on to SVR at 4.99 per cent. The rates are fabulous with a five-year fixed rate at 2.99 per cent up to 95 per cent LTV. But this should be open to all existing borrowers and the fact that it is not seems a little unfair to me.

Nationwide has reduced its rates again and now has a two year fix at 2.59 per cent at 60 per cent LTV, while its 85 per cent LTV products are reducing by up to 0.3 per cent and 90 per cent LTV products by up to 0.7 per cent.

In the bridging space, Precise Mortgages has introduced a Christmas special for loan sizes above £1m with a rate at 0.85 per cent per month, while Dragonfly has a pretty impressive bridge-to-let product available which potentially starts at just 0.58 per cent per month, with 2 per cent per annum interest deferred. Both are worth checking out.

Also worth checking out are offerings from Kent Reliance, Saffron Building Society and Furness Building Society who all look at deals in the old fashioned way – human underwriters making sensible decisions.

Heroes

Matthew Wyles. The scourge of wine waiters everywhere has always been one of my favourite people in the industry. Intelligent, thoughtful, charismatic and great company, he will be a big loss to Nationwide and we wish him well.

Villains

Both the Chancellor George Osborne and his opposite number Ed Balls. Both seem to lack any real charisma or understanding of how to solve the issues we are facing. Too much hot air and rhetoric.

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