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Pace of swap rate increase slows slightly

Swaps continued their upward march last week but the increase seems to have slowed of late.

• One-year money is up 0.07% to 5.38%

• Two-year money is up 0.06% to 5.53%

• Three-year money is up 0.06% to 5.61%

• Five-year money is up 0.05% to 5.64%

Portman increased its two and five-year fixed rates and The Mortgage Works launched a two, three or five-year fixed buy-to-let deal at the same rate of 5.99%. It also uses a sliding scale of LTV for the rental calculation – the lower the LTV, the lower the percentage on the rental calculation. A great piece of innovation.

While BMS is undoubtedly the king of the online mortgage I am not keen on its email rate update system which tells you it has launched new rates but when you click on the hyperlink it does not tell you which of the old rates have been withdrawn. I would prefer a simple email list of the rates that are being pulled and their replacements. If it wants to be super-efficient it could add the club exclusives that are being pulled too.

The only rate Halifax withdrew last week was its 4.99% two-year fixed leaving the others, including a two-year fixed remortgage rate at 5.29%.

But it would appear that Halifax has some problems with its online proposition. It seems the most recent upgrade is not working which has left brokers unable to key in applications. Having to key in applications itself may put a big drag on Halifax&#39s efficient service, especially with its excellent rates.

Rate of the week is Accord&#39s LIBOR tracker. It is fixed for three months at 3.19% and then at US three-month LIBOR (currently 1.55%) plus 1.89% for five years. It is a great way to benefit from the low US rate without having the exchange rate risk.

Villain of the week is Nationwide&#39s takeaway remortgage team. Taking two to three weeks to look at an application, a further two to three weeks to look at a valuation and making it impossible to get updates is just not good enough.

Being busy is understandable but not returning phone calls and emails until a member of the senior management is involved is just rude. I guess it is not interested in intermediary business.

Three-month LIBOR is up 0.06% at 4.83% and as the current base rate is 4.50%, the City is expecting at least a 0.25% increase in the next three months.

Twelve-month LIBOR is up 0.05% at 5.40%, indicating at least a 0.75% increase in the next 12 months.

Bank of England governor Mervyn King severely dented his chances of being invited to the National Association of Estate Agents Christmas dinner by making a speech warning that house prices may start to fall.

King also said that people should be wary of taking the plunge into buying property and that prices were now “well above what most people would regard as sustainable in the longer term”. And he gave a clear indication that there are further interest rate rises on the horizon.

In the meantime the UK inflation rate has surged to its highest level in over a year as high oil prices push up transport costs.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons International Mortgages


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