Here we are in 2015 with shiny opportunities stretching out before us. It is going to be a good year, especially for intermediaries as lenders get their teeth into us as their main distribution strategy.
It was great to see Leeds, Skipton and Virgin increasing some proc fees to brokers and I expect more to follow. We have already seen some extraordinary rates to kick-start the new year and, with competition likely to be fierce to attract new customers, who knows where this will go?
We are likely to see some interesting criteria moves this year, possibly more lenders coming back into areas such as interest-only and a smattering of new lenders. I would like to welcome Fleet Mortgages, which launched last week, to the market.
Base rate is unlikely to move until the last quarter, if at all, and gross mortgage lending could hit £215bn. House prices look set to be pretty flat throughout the year, especially in London, but overall around 3-4 per cent growth could still occur.
It is, of course, an election year, which will no doubt be nauseating as politicians try to justify their existence with an endless string of dubious promises. Once again, it looks like it will be a close race and whoever gets in and the policies they introduce will no doubt have an effect.
Meanwhile, we have seen the extraordinary fall in the price of oil while the whole EU crisis is back on the agenda as the spectre of deflation rears its head. Some tough decisions beckon for EU leaders.
We also have the unknowns. What is possibly lurking in the shadows to surprise us this year?
All in all, though, I am very optimistic about 2015. It will be hard work but we are used to that.
In the markets, three-month Libor is carrying a little more holiday weight at 0.564 per cent while swap rates have already renewed their gym membership and stopped drinking to start the new year lean and mean.
1-year money is down 0.01 at 0.645%
2-year money is down 0.04 at 0.93%
3-year money is down 0.08 at 1.1%
5-year money is down 0.10 at 1.445%
In with a bang, rate wise, is Barclays Woolwich. The headlines have all been around the cheapest-ever 10-year fixed-rate product priced at a remarkable 2.99 per cent to 60 per cent LTV with a £999 fee. Seriously, that is well cheap, as is Woolwich’s five-year fix at 2.49 per cent with its large loan version matching First Direct at just 2.39 per cent. With competition only just beginning again, will we see a 1.99 per cent five-year fix making a brief appearance?
Halifax has cut rates with two-year fixes available from 1.64 per cent and trackers from 1.49 per cent. Scottish Widows has also shaved 0.2 per cent off its costs.
Leeds has launched a discounted range from 1.6 per cent at 65 per cent LTV with an £800 fee.
Buckle up – we are off…