There are quite a few candidates for villain this week but Help To Buy could prove to be a hero if the massive gamble pays off.
To be honest there is not much to write about this week. Oh, apart from the Budget of course which although most of us read it first courtesy of the Evening Standard on Twitter before the Chancellor even stood up, did not prepare us for the big news around Help to Buy.
As this will be covered in detail elsewhere all I can say is that this is a very promising package and although it represents a massive gamble that housing is indeed the key to get the economy moving once more, as brokers we should benefit from the increased activity.
Apart from cheaper beer and a reduction in corporation tax there was not much else to make Joe Public whoop with delight in the face of some pretty dire economic growth figures.
There was also the flimsy attempt by the Yorkshire Building Society Group and brokers’ favourite villains HSBC to bury a barrage of bad news in the wake of the budget by withdrawing from interest-only.
To be honest there are quite a few candidates for villains this week and Abbey are lucky there is such competition as I have had a lot of comments from brokers all around the country about its current service issues.
To be fair it is unlike Abbey to have such service issues, decisions that change without warning and lack of communication.
Thankfully it has some outstanding BDMs and while I am sure it will be sorted out soon, perhaps the next seven day special should be delayed until things are on an even keel once more as brokers need a fighting fit Abbey.
Meanwhile, Nationwide are sensational service wise and a real candidate for the hero title.
In the markets, three-month Libor is still at 0.51 per cent, whilst swap rates are up in the short-term but down over the longer term, with five-year money dipping below 1 per cent.
- 1-year money is up 0.04 at 0.505 per cent
- 2-year money is up 0.01 at 0.60 per cent
- 3-year money is down 0.02 at 0.66 per cent
- 5-year money is down 0.05 at 0.975 per cent
In the wonderful world of mortgage products, Clydesdale has dusted itself down and come out fighting with some excellent products including a 2.19 per cent two-year fix and a 2.89 per cent five year fix. Remember it also has its innovative low start mortgages which are looking even more interesting now.
Kent Reliance is also a Hero candidate with its clean 95 per cent LTV offering for employed and self-employed professionals. This is priced at 5.29 per cent fixed for five years with a 0.5 per cent fee and has a minimum loan size of £300,000.
Halifax has reduced rates as well including a two-year tracker now at 2.14 per cent for 60 per cent LTV and at 85 per cent LTV its two-year fix is 3.84 per cent.
Coventry also has some decent rates coupled with good service, as well as its excellent flex for term products from 2.89 per cent on the residential side and 4.49 per cent for buy-to-let.
Speaking of buy-to-let, as Mortgage Strategy revealed last week, BM Solutions is now accepting student lets and has also made its competitive 3.89 per cent two-year tracker and 3.99 per cent two-year fixes available for both purchase and remortgage.
Furness Building Society has new buy-to-let products as well with an impressive 3.5 per cent two-year discounted rate and 3.99 per cent four-year fixed available up to 70 per cent LTV. Free valuation and legals are available for remortgage and the fee is £990.
The benefit of the doubt goes to the Help to Buy scheme. While details are still hazy this could prove to be an important move for the housing market.
HSBC and the Yorkshire Building Society group for pulling out of interest-only on Budget day. You don’t get away with it that easily.