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Market Watch

Swaps initially fell last week, then rose sharply. With swaps at a recent high we are starting to see lenders reprice upward so my advice is not to delay any fixed rate applications.

  • One-year money is up 0.08% at 4.58%
  • Two-year money is up 0.09% at 4.57%
  • Three-year money is up 0.08% at 4.61%
  • Five-year money is up 0.07% at 4.64%

Platform has repriced its portfolio. Highlights include a two-year self-cert fixed rate available to 85% at 4.95%, a three-year buy-to-let fixed rate available to 85% at 5.14% with rental calculation at 125% of the pay rate, and a five-year fixed rate at 5.09%.

While it has not communicated this formally, Cheltenham & Gloucester now requires clients’ credit card security numbers if you send card details rather than a cheque to it for the administration fee.

Strange that it does not provide a box for this on the application form. Instead you have to try to remember what it needs and then ask your client to write this into the notes section. C&G seems to have no problem finding space for the numerous direct debit mandate boxes.

Meanwhile Abbey managed to confuse me again by producing two new rate guides in the same week. It makes it difficult to keep track of what has changed when this happens. It seems to have increased a few fees. The fee for the two-year fixed remortgage package at 4.39% available to 60% LTV has increased 299 to 699. This makes it more expensive than the Halifax product. It has reduced the pay rate on its flexible tracker rate by a whole 0.01% but increased the fee from 499 to 599.

For the second time in three weeks Alliance & Leicester increased its fixed rate portfolio, giving the customary 24-hour notice though I think some people had less than this as a result of a problem with the email. The 250,000 maximum loan two-year fixed rate is now 4.49%, up from 4.29%. The larger loan two-year fixed rate is now 4.54%, up from 4.39%. The three-year fixed rate is now 4.59%, up from 4.29% and the five-year fixed rate is now 4.74%, up from 4.54%

Lambeth has withdrawn its incredible 4.30% five-year fixed rate and gave a healthy week’s notice for applications to be sent in. Lambeth still has its two-year deal fixed at 4.15% and its two-year tracker at 4.25%.

If you have clients interested in BM Solutions’ mainstream rates, I recommend you get the application in as soon as possible. While I have not heard of any timescales, these products are so much better than everything else that they are unlikely to have a long shelf life, though we should remember that BM Solutions is good at giving respectable timescales for rate withdrawals. The 3.75% two-year tracker wins this week’s rate of the week. It is miles better value than the nearest tracker products than you would think, even for smaller loans.

Portman made changes to the end dates of its expansive broker portfolio. Yes, all three of the products we can sell. There is the two-year fix at 1.99% with the extended penalty until the end of 2011, the competitive five-year fix at 4.45% and the two-year flexible tracker at 4.74%.

Over in the City three-month LIBOR is up 0.01% at 4.58%. The base rate is now 4.50% so the market sees little chance of change in the next three months. And 12-month LIBOR is up 0.07% at 4.57% indicating the City thinks there will be no further changes to the base rate in the next 12 months.

The Monetary Policy Committee clearly didn’t have much difficulty deciding the base rate should be kept on hold at 4.50% a few weeks ago. The decision was 9-0.

High oil prices fuelled worries about inflation. These fears appeared to take precedence over the problems of weak consumer demand and manufacturing. Analysts now see less chance of a pre-Christmas interest rate cut.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons International Mortgages

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