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Leader: Rate war set to continue

A story we published last week caused an obvious division in the industry. We reported fears that the steep slump in oil prices would lead to uncertainty in the money markets, which would result in an increase in swap rates and therefore in fixed-rate mortgages.

While some commentators supported the idea of falling oil prices eventually hitting borrowers, others were less convinced, to put it politely.

A trawl through the comments underneath the online story will reveal how divided the market is on the issue.

Of course, it is impossible to say at this stage which side is correct, although, in our interconnected world, disruption in a global market such as the oil industry has the potential to affect other sectors.

But brokers are confident the mortgage rate war being played out among lenders will continue until after the election in May.

As our lead story shows, fixed-rate mortgages are continuing to fall even with the backdrop of global economic uncertainty. Since July, average two- and five-year fixes have fallen by 40 and 45 basis points to 3.27 per cent and 3.75 per cent respectively.

There is certainly evidence to suggest the mortgage rate war will last beyond the election. Just last week, Santander and Skipton launched their lowest-ever two-year fixed rates and several other lenders introduced some stellar products.

No matter what happens over the coming months, the confidence exuded by the broker community is telling and reveals the strength of the market at present. That has to be a good thing. 

The market has certainly come a long way in the past year-and-a-half.

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