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Marketwatch

The Government has brought in a raft of proposals to motivate the housing market but they don’t seem to have any long-term solutions so new housing minister Mark Prisk needs to get his hands dirty early

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I must admit that the first week after the summer excitement has been a pretty dour one and my head has mostly been down trying to concentrate on the day job.

There have, however, been a raft of Government proposals to try to move the housing market along which is great but there does not seem to be a great deal of long-term planning.

New housing minister Mark Prisk needs to get his hands dirty quickly.

In the markets, three-month Libor continues its slow fall, down now at 0.66 per cent, while swap rates have all risen.

1-year money is up 0.03 at 0.625 per cent
2-year money is up 0.06 at 0.85 per cent
3-year money is up 0.09 at 0.90 per cent
5-year money is up 0.10 at 1.135 per cent

In product news, things are looking a little rosier in the garden, with seemingly more products available at all LTVs.

Moneyfacts’ latest report gave us a bit of cheer, finding that there was a boost of higher LTV products above 85 per cent in August, reversing a previous decline.

Halifax is the latest lender to suggest that the Funding for Lending scheme has had a direct effect on their latest products.

They have launched a 5.89 per cent seven-year fixed-rate mortgage up to 90 per cent LTV that is available exclusively to first-time buyers.

There is no product fee and customers are eligible to receive £500 towards their moving costs.

They have also reduced a swathe of other products.

The other giant to return to the fold is Abbey, who most brokers I know have missed recently. Hot off the heels of its residential rate cuts, it has also reduced its buy-to-let rates by up to 1.04 per cent.

Leeds has released a good 3.99 per cent five-year fixed rate up to 80 per cent LTV.

It was a shame, though not surprising, to see that NatWest has had to increase the pay rate on its 2.95 per cent five-year fix in order to stem the demand for it.

The good news is that it has just tweaked it to 3.09 per cent, which is still more than decent.

Furness Building Society has tweaked its three-year fixed rate to now stand at 3.39 per cent up to 75 per cent LTV, with freebies for remortgages.

Full marks to Coventry for yet again delivering on its two-day notice of a rate change last week, with a number of products being repriced.

I was interested to see that mortgage club Simplybiz Mortgages had launched a facts and tips site for brokers called SimplySpeed2Offer. This is a good idea and I pity those who have to keep it wholly accurate, given the amount of criteria changes that happen on an almost daily basis.

Finally, it was good to see the recent KPMG report that showed the continued importance of the building societies.

With Nationwide still the biggest lender in this secto,r we as brokers need to continue our support of them and smaller lenders.

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Heroes

The return of lenders such as Halifax and Abbey. There is some good pricing with a good mix of products shows an increased appetite to lend once more.

Villains

Villain of the week is the Government’s housing policy which still seems disjointed. Surely simply relaxing planning laws will just mean loads of neighbourhood disputes as people extend rather than pay thousands of pounds in stamp duty to move?

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