Marketwatch

Dare I say it but there seems to be a lot of optimism around in the broker community at the moment, with high hopes held for the remainder of this rapidly disappearing year. This was reflected in a recent Halifax backed survey which showed that 70 per cent of the 300 brokers surveyed were confident about the prospects of the mortgage market.

Andrew Montlake

Many lenders are at the very least beginning to talk a good game once more and the product discussions and planning sessions I have been involved with look extremely encouraging.

In the markets, three-month Libor falls again to stand at 0.64 per cent while swap rates have fallen across the board.

1-year money is down 0.05 at 0.575%
2-year money is down 0.06 at 0.79%
3-year money is down 0.06 at 0.84%
5-year money is down 0.06 at 1.075%

In the product world, Abbey are again tinkering with some rates, reflecting a renewed appetite to lend, with 85 per cent tracker rates being reduced.

I must say their service is still outstanding and the ability to upload all of the required documents the moment after you have pressed the online submission button speeds things up no end. We had a case offered in just 4 days last week.

Halifax is reducing two-year fixed rate products between 75 per cent and 85 per cent by up to 0.2 per cent and again are often up there in the service stakes.

We produce a monthly report on all lenders showing the average time to offer and it is always interesting to see with BM Solutions, Halifax and Abbey currently holding the top three positions.

With Halifax the latest lender to reportedly be thinking about linking proc fees to “quality” of business this is perhaps something that all brokers can measure on the reverse. Whilst I generally have no issue with linking the two, as long as what constitutes “quality” is clearly defined, lenders should also have to agree to hit certain service levels in return. If not perhaps proc fees should rise?

Abbey and Halifax should have no issues if our results are mirrored across the country, but this is perhaps food for thought for some others.

Furness have added a nice 90 per cent LTV five-year fixed rate to their armoury at 5.99 per cent as well as a 3.39 per cent three-year fix at 75 per cent LTV.

With HSBC stealing thunder once more with their 2.64 per cent lifetime tracker with no penalties, there seems to be a dearth of similar products that can compete with this. There is still a demand for these types of trackers so it would be good to see a couple of lenders get close to this.

Finally, I noticed an article about Positive Solutions reviewing its social media policy. This is something I would urge all companies to do. We need to get our message out as clear and as loud as possible that independent advice is the way forward and the next generation should accept this as the norm.

Heroes

Precise Mortgages. They have done much that is right in their sector since launch and Alan Cleary has worked hard to publicly support the broker community. Their upcoming foray into Prime Mortgages will be another string to their impressive bow.

Villains

Anyone advocating an LTV cap. I just do not buy this kind of prescriptive rules making. High LTV lending in itself did not cause the credit crunch as I hear some politicians still suggest.