I am writing this the morning of the Scottish Referendum, when people all around Scotland will be wandering out and ambling down to the polling stations. I have heard that there are groups of nationalist Yes campaigners around every polling station taking their last opportunity to press home the historic opportunity.
The result will now be known and I wonder if those undecided, alone in the booth, will have heard the cry of Braveheart or the soft pangs of doubt and common sense. It is the silent majority who will have decided this vote, those who may quietly say one thing but know that away from intimidation they will do another. Maybe even Alex Salmond was among them. After all, he may now have no one to blame for all their issues.
So, either we will now be facing a week of calm with Prime Minister David Cameron sipping a stiff whiskey in Downing Street, wiping the sweat from his brow and muttering “gosh, that’s a relief”, or looking at a period of uncertainty which will be very interesting to observe, but which we could all ultimately do without.
In the markets this week three-month Libor is now at 0.56 per cent while swap rates have stood up for Great Britain and risen to attention whilst belting out God Save The Queen with tears in their eyes. Interestingly five-year money is now back over the 2 per cent level again.
1-year money is up 0.3 at 0.815 per cent
2-year money is up 0.04 at 1.25 per cent
3-year money is up 0.07 at 1.59 per cent
5-year money is up 0.08 at 2.035 per cent
Meanwhile, back down on Planet Mortgage the rate wars have been raging on despite the uncertainty of the skirmishes at the borders.
Halifax became the latest heavyweight to weigh in with cuts to many of its products by up to 0.3 per cent, whilst Santander has also announced some new Key Account exclusives including a 2.99 per cent five-year fix at 70 per cent LTV.
However, Virgin Money has stolen the headlines again with two market busting products. The first is its new five-year fix at 2.79 per cent available between £150,000 and £1m at 60 per cent LTV with a fee of £1,495. This was soon followed by an excellent six-year fixed rate priced at 2.99 per cent available up to 70 per cent LTV with a £995 Arrangement Fee.
This is excellent work and the only thing letting Virgin down is its bizarre further advance rate which is currently at 9.79 per cent.
Metro Bank refuses to be left out and has reduced rates as well. Its five-year fix up to 60 per cent LTV is now back down to 2.99 per cent up to £1.5m with a £999 Fee.
Meanwhile over at Kensington that clever chap Alex Hammond is promoting a major ad campaign to highlight choices for the self-employed through mortgage advisers. The lender may be in the middle of a sale but it is still focussed on helping clients in this arena and will be targeting social media as well as traditional outlets.
On the subject of self-employed there is more good news from Precise, as announced by Superwoman Roz Cawood, (more preferable than Captain Mortgage aka Roger in a leotard!). It has improved its offering and will now work off one years’ of accounts or SA302 information. No minimum trading period applies to applicants and products are available up to 85 per cent LTV.
Newcastle Building Society has gone live with its new online registration and DIP system which is welcome.
Leeds Building Society is increasing procuration fees on buy-to-let and holiday let mortgages through intermediaries from up to 0.37 per cent to up to 0.5 per cent. It has also reduced some buy-to-et products which include a three-year fix from 3.09 per cent at 60 per cent LTV.
In a proud week for Yorkshire, Skipton has also increased proc fees from 0.35 per cent to 0.5 per cent for all new buy-to-let cases. Expect more lenders to increase proc fees over the coming months.
Keeping on buy-to-let, Coventry has released a 2.99 per cent flex for term product to 75 per cent LTV and a 3.19 per cent two-year fixed again to 75 per cent LTV.
That is about it. Now altogether now, “God save our gracious Queen…”