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What a surprise. After weeks of relentless increases, shorter term swaps fell slightly, although five-year swaps edged up. This is the first weekly fall in one, two and three-year money since the middle of April. And after 10 weeks of increases, it’s great to see reductions at last, albeit minor ones.

• One-year money is down 0.03% at 6.22%

• Two-year money is down 0.03% at 6.21%

• Three-year money is down 0.02% at 6.23%

• Five-year money is up 0.03% at 6.17%

However, having seen the minutes of the last Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting, I’m not sure these reductions will continue.

The minutes of the June meeting showed that the decision to keep the base rate on hold this month was a close call, with five members voting for the status quo and four members, including BoE governor Mervyn King, agitating to increase the base rate for the second month in a row.

Apparently, this is only the second time that King has been on the losing side of a base rate decision.

I thought the MPC would wait until August to in- crease the rate ag- ain, but consider- ing June’s voting I am not sure it will wait that long.

Strong lending data from the Council of Mortgage Len-ders showed that gross lending hit a new record in May of £30.6bn, up 12% on April’s total of £27.4bn and a 5% increase compared with the same period last year.

Bank of Scotland has launched five buy-to-let rates, which have 100% rental calculations at the pay rate. There’s a two-year tracker at base rate minus 0.21% with a £1,989 fee, a two-year tracker at base rate plus 0.39% with a £989 fee and a two-year fixed rate at 5.99% with a £1,989 fee. There are also two remortgage package rates, base rate plus 0.19% with a £1,989 fee and a fixed rate at 6.29% with a £1,989 fee.

It is great to see BoS back with some good rates although I’m not sure why it is bothering with an offer of £10 off the £1,999 fee – maybe for sourcing reasons?

Woolwich recently announced that all its residential and buy-to-let fixed rates, apart from its one-year fix and tracker, were being withdrawn and needed to be submitted by July 3. Sadly, one hour and a half hours later this was changed to June 26. I did think the original deadline was generous, but it’s embarrassing when you have to go back to clients and say they need to get their applications in even more quickly than was first thought.

I heard that Halifax’s fixed rates were likely to be withdrawn by the end of last week, so by the time you read this they will probably have gone. It’s not surprising given that its two-year fixed rate product was valued at 5.79% with a £299 fee when two-year swaps were at 6.25%.

BM Solutions has kept us busy with rate withdrawals. Most of its two-year capped rates have gone, but a buy-to-let two-year tracker at 4.74% (base rate minus 0.76%) with a 2.5% fee and a rental calculation of 100% of the pay rate has been launched.

Northern Rock continues to change things regularly. The rate increases that I mentioned last week were due to take effect from June 20 but were postponed until June 22. This gave us an extra couple of days to get applications in.

It also decided to postpone the in-creases to its sub-prime rates.

Mortgage Trust seems to have some excellent buy-to-let rates, some via clubs and others direct.

There’s a buy-to-let two-year fixed rate at 5.59% through Premier Mortgage Service with a £999 fee, free valuation and 125% rental at 5%. It is also offering a direct one-year fixed rate product at 4.84% with a £1,500 fee and a 125% rental calculation at the pay rate.

And if you haven’t seen it, take a look at Alliance & Leicester’s specialist range. Hidden in there is an excellent two-year self-cert product at base rate minus 0.15%, giving a pay rate of 5.35% up to 85% LTV. The maximum loan amount is £500,000 and its arrangement fee is £1,999.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons Mortgages


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