Marketwatch

It does look as though the broking community will look back on this year as the point when things finally got exciting again

 

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As the suntans and holiday memories begin to fade, thoughts turn to the crucial months of September, October and November – the months that any broker knows can make or break a year. To be fair so do lenders, as this is the time targets are often hit or missed and the setting of next year’s aims and goals are finalised.

It looks set to be a busy time, but there are still several unknowns that still need to play out, such as how exactly will the second Help To Buy scheme work, whether everyone is really as ready for Mortgage Market Review as they make out and will lenders finally return to the market with the force they promised at the start of this year which did not quite materialise?

No doubt there will continue to be much discussion on these subjects in boardrooms around the country, but I believe most of the broking fraternity at least will look back with fondness on 2013 and say, yep, that’s when things really started to get exciting again.

In the markets, three-month Libor is still at 0.52 per cent while swap rates have casually flicked up a finger at the Bank of England and risen further. In the markets five-year money is now almost 1 per cent higher than it was in April.

1-year money is up 0.01 at 0.595 per cent
2-year money is up 0.05 at 0.88 per cent
3-year money is up 0.08 at 1.19 per cent
5-year money is down o.08 at 1.825 per cent

swaps

 

Products have been their usual contradictory selves, with some lenders cutting rates while others increase them slightly due to swap rate rises and in order to regulate their service; a trend which I suspect will continue to the end of the year.

Skipton has pulled its 10-year fixed rates and as yet does not have any concrete plans to replace them. But it has clarified its ex-pat policy which is a sector that is woefully catered for at present. It will lend up to 75 per cent LTV as long as there is a two year record of income, the applicant retains UK residency rights and a dependent or joint applicant will still reside in the property.

Woolwich has been busy showing that it is open for business for the remainder of the year and has cut rates. Its 60 per cent LTV two-year fix now stands at 1.99 per cent and its high-value two-year fix up to 65 per cent LTV is down to 1.89 per cent. It has also launched a new 85 per cent LTV product at 3.35 per cent also fixed for two years.

They have also released new rate switch products, new products for New Build properties and all their products for existing customers should now be available on sourcing systems which is good news.

It was interesting to see Lloyds Banking Group announce that it will link proc fees to the quality of business submitted from next year. What this “quality” means will be revealed soon so watch this space, but hopefully it will mean certain accounts being paid more rather than others being paid less.

Metro Bank has been engaging in some rate slashing themselves, with rates reduced by up to 0.5 per cent across the residential range.

It now has a tracker rate from 2.39 per cent up to a loan size of £3m while standard products include a 60 per cent LTV five-year fix at 2.89 per cent.

Nationwide is now offering its first sub-2 per cent product with a 1.94 per cent two year fix up to 60 per cent LTV but annoyingly this is only available to existing customers. It has reduced other products as well, as has Halifax.

In the direct space, Yorkshire has increased rates on its five-year fix due to the aforementioned swap rate rises albeit only slightly from 2.49 per cent to 2.59 per cent. Meanwhile HSBC has launched its latest gimmick which is a price-match promise at 90 per cent LTV, offering to beat all other rivals pricing. Whatever!

Meanwhile, The Mortgage Works has partnered with British Gas to offer landlords free gas safety checks worth £135 which is a useful touch and the new Barclays Homeowner app is now live which includes the find a broker offering.

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