Market Watch

Swaps continued to edge their way down last week.

They are now at more or less the same levels they were about six weeks ago. It’s good to see that two-year money is again below the psychological 5% barrier. If swaps continue to fall we might even see a few lenders reprice downwards but they may be concerned their service levels will slip if they get flooded with applications they can’t handle.

l One-year money is unchanged at 4.94%

l Two-year money is down 0.03% at 4.99%

l Three-year money is down 0.04% at 5.03%

l Five-year money is down 0.01% at 5.01%

Hero of the week is BM Solutions which now offers a full proc fee to brokers who help keep the lender’s self-cert clients with it. There is a good range of products from Bank of England base rate plus 0.49% for three years at 75% LTV with only a 149 arrangement fee. Brokers have to do a Key Facts Illustration on Trigold, Mortgage Brain or Mortgage 2000, discuss the rate with the client and then call BM Solutions. Easy. But I hope the lender lets us produce KFIs from its website soon as not everyone uses sourcing systems.

This move follows BM Solutions’ excellent scheme launched in April whereby clients who had made satisfactory payments on their sub-prime mortgages were offered better deals at the end of their periods and brokers were paid for their efforts in the process. I am sure that other lenders within HBOS will follow this example soon.

Villain of the week is Coventry. Even before last week’s copy of this column was printed it had withdrawn its two- year tracker at 4.50% with no early repayment charges due to huge demand. The rate was only available for a few days days. Coventry gave two days’ notice but at least online applications could be submitted until midnight on Friday. I hate it when lenders withdraw rates so quickly. By the time clients agree to proceed the rate has gone.

My local branch of The Woolwich still has the 4.69% lifetime tracker rate, which it withdrew from brokers two weeks ago, advertised in its window.

Well done to Halifax which has decided to accept internet payslips and bank statements where verification is needed. It is one of the few lenders that accepts these documents. It’s strange that banks and societies are desperate for their clients to use online banking as it’s cheaper but when they need to use these facilities to show the conduct of their bank accounts for mortgage applications they are unable to. For Halifax, all documents have to carry the phrase ‘online original’. It has also increased its lending limits on ex-pat mortgages from 500,000 to 2m.

Bank of Scotland withdrew a large chunk of its range and repriced it downwards. It gave a healthy eight days’ notice if anyone wanted one of the old rates. Highlights of the new range include a three-year self-cert tracker at 4.99% to 75% with a 699 fee and a fees-free remortgage service and a large loan tracker at 4.39% for loans above 500,00 up to 75% with a 699 fee.

BoS has also changed its policy on builders’ dep-osits. The lender used to accept builders’ deposits up to a maximum of 15%. For new app- lications, builders’ deposits can be accepted as long as they constitute not more than 5% of the purchase price and the valuer has been advised of the deposit and taken it into account.

Northern Rock is proud of the fact that it has not al-tered its rates since before the World Cup. It has hooked on to football mania well with emails saying its rates are going into extra time but it is urging brokers to apply now before they are withdrawn. Michael Owen also appears in its consumer press adverts.

Mortgage Express has launched a buy-to-let fixed rate at 5.24% fixed for two years. This has a 1.5% completion fee and the rental calculation is at 125%. And new thresholds for its self-cert range mean lower LTV applications get better rates.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons Mortgages