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Marketwatch

Swaps had a roller coaster ride last week with them initially falling before posting a sharp rise and then falling slightly, but ending up on the week.

One-year money is up 0.04% at 5.46%

Two-year money is up 0.04% at 5.37%

Three-year money is up 0.04% at 5.32%

Five-year money is up 0.04% at 5.20%

West Bromwich has a strong buy-to-let proposition. In some cases shortfalls in rental can be supplemented by app-licants’ income, ex-pats are allowed to access the normal rates, student lets are acceptable subject to a single ass- ured shorthold tenancy, there are no minimum in- come requirements and trackers have no early repayment charges.

We are quick to moan about lenders whose service standards are poor but not good at accepting responsibility when it’s our fault.

Online applications are much easier as you normally can’t submit them until all the boxes are filled in, but until everything is done online we must ensure our paper applications are fully completed.

Thanks to David Finlay of Woolwich for confirming the details of what its plans to contact customers cover after I was so scathing about these last week.

Rather than asking for documents required for underwriting purposes, Woolwich intends to obtain information missing off application forms. Some of our broker colleagues are apparently leaving large amounts of information off Woolwich’s paper application forms. Some of this information is crucial, such as date of birth. I guess if Woolwich has to call our clients to get things as basic as this, we deserve to look stupid.

If you haven’t noticed, Bank of Scotland has an excellent buy-to-let remortgage product. It is a two-year fixed rate at 4.99% with free valuation and conveyancing. It is available to 75% with a maximum loan size of 1m with a modest 799 fee, which makes it great value for larger loans.

On the subject of BoS I am impressed that its service standards have held up well during a period when it had market-leading rates and was doing huge volumes of business. Many other lenders would have ground to a halt if they were doing 10% of the levels BoS was.

Cheshire has launched a couple of rates. There is a two-year fixed rate at 4.95% with an arrangement fee of 500 but it has a free valuation for properties up to 750,000. It has a three-year discounted rate at 4.95% with the same fee and the same free survey up to 750,000. The ERCs for the discounted rate are equivalent to the value of the discount the client has received to date.

Halifax withdrew its two-year tracker at 4.64% but it was good to see the 4.79% two-year fixed rate has not been withdrawn, although I think this must be imminent, so get those applications in now. Halifax also changed its LTV structures, bringing in 0% to 85%, an 85% to 95% and a 95% to 97% bandings. Each banding has the usual selection of fee options.

Freedom has changed its underwriting so its aff-ordability factor is now 35% of gross combined income.

Its website calculator can give an indication of how much clients can borrow. Freedom recently changed its minimum period of self-employment for self-cert to one-year and this is available up to 90%.

If you have mature buy-to-let clients it is worth remembering that Coventry will lend to a maximum age of 85. The base rate trackers have no ERCs. There are free valuations and free conveyancing.

The Mortgage Works has extended the end dates of its rates. TMW and Portman have been rather restrained with their pricing changes of late after keeping us busy during the summer with rate launches and withdrawals.

Mortgage Express is repricing its 100% plus deal and some of its self-cert rates, and is also reviewing its Max 130 proposition.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons Mortgages

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