Marketwatch 13/04/2009

Swaps jumped last week. I assume that, following the G20 summit, the financial markets felt the actions taken would help restore normality and that rates would rise sooner rather than later.

Three-month LIBOR is now 1.58%
1-year money is up 0.06% at 1.55%
2-year money is up 0.19% at 2.20%
3-year money is up 0.24% at 2.64%
5-year money is up 0.27% at 3.23%

Let’s hope Prime Minister Gordon Brown can now stop his global grandstanding and find some time to sort our economy.

He has spent enough time globetrotting to ensure he should be kept busy with public speaking engagements when he finally gets kicked out of Downing Street next year.

My feeling is that we are not likely to see more non-government owned lenders offering 90% LTV products. Having spoken to a few lenders, I understand that the amount of capital they have to set aside to comply with Basle II is five times more for 90% LTV products than for lower LTV deals.

Capital is precious at the moment so unless nationalised lenders’ biggest shareholder, the taxpayer, decides to tell them they have to offer more of these loans – unlikely since our government doesn’t know how to fill in an expenses claim let alone run an economy – we are unlikely to see more 90% LTV products.

There has been some talk of green shoots in the housing market of late. A few estate agents are reporting their best trading periods for a long time and there have been some encouraging statistics.

I think it’s unlikely that the housing market is on the up yet but it’s great that there’s more optimism around.

Nationwide has launched a tracker range with fees of £495. The lowest remortgage deal is 3.59% at 60% LTV.

The lowest purchase rate is 3.64% at 60% LTV. The 75% LTV remortgage rate is 3.79% and the 75% LTV purchase rate is 3.89%.

The maximum loan size for these deals is a generous £1m but I guess on bigger loan sizes it’s better to pay the £995 fee and get a lower rate.

Clydesdale Bank has launched an excellent discounted offset two-year tracker at 3.69% which is available for purchases and remortgages. The fee is £1,999 for loans up to £500,000 and, by negotiation, up to 1% of the amount borrowed for loans between £500,001 and £750,000.

The rate is 0.9% below Clydesdale’s SVR and the maximum LTV is 75%. It is fees-free for remortgages.

Clydesdale has always been excellent at underwriting so there should be fewer daft decisions from terrified underwriters browbeaten by credit restrictions.

Is it just me or are lenders subtly trying to price out two-year rates? It seems their three-year rates are being extended to four-year rates and their four-year rates are becoming five-year deals.

Lloyds Banking Group kept us busy by announcing changes to its Halifax, BM Solutions and Bank of Scotland ranges.

The Mortgage Works unveiled a two-year fixed rate buy-to-let deal at 4.69% up to 70% LTV with a fee of 3.5%.

More encouragingly, there are some new two and three-year fixed rates with smallish fees.

The two-year fixed rate at 5.99% up to 60% LTV has a miserly fee of just 0.5% and the three-year fixed rate at 5.99% for loans up to 65% LTV has a tiny fee of 0.75%.

The lender’s existing one, two and three-year fixed rates have been reduced by up to 0.35% and some of its easy remortgage rates have been reduced by up to 0.3%.

Meanwhile, some lenders used US firm REDC to sell their repossessed properties. The company uses showbiz-hyped auctions to sell homes.

Buyers had to pay massive 10% charges on their purchases. One of the banks involved claimed it was not aware of the buyer charge. So how was it expecting REDC to get paid?