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Market watch

It was a shame to see swaps leap back up with one of the biggest weekly increases I can remember.

This reverses the falls seen in recent weeks. I guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer for some fixed rate cuts.

l One-year money is up 0.10% at 5.04%

l Two-year money is up 0.14% at 5.13%

l Three-year money is up 0.14% at 5.17%

l Five-year money is up 0.14% at 5.15%

Hero of the week is Leeds which has launched a three-year fixed rate at 4.99% available up to 95% LTV. It has a 595 completion fee and no early redemption charges and is available via Premier Mortgage Service. It has also launched a three-year fixed rate at 5.39% with free valuation, free conveyancing for remortgages, no application fee and no ERCs. These two fixed rates look fantastic value. If rates fall, clients are not tied in so they can remortgage to better deals.

Villain of the week is the Home Information Pack. I can’t bear another 11 months of letters, columns and arguments. Let’s just get on with our jobs please. I’m sure nearer next June we will have more information about what is happening and what our options are. We will have plenty of time to do what is necessary.

The Woolwich sent an email advising that due to the popularity of its tracker rates it has received an “unprecedented volume of applications”. I would have thought that this is unprecedented in recent times but a few years ago that’s how The Woolwich operated. The email asked us to use its online tracking facility rather than calling so its staff had a chance to process applications.

I like it when lenders email us letting us know when their normal service standards slip. It helps us to choose the right lenders. Most of the time this job is left to business development managers as lenders are nervous about doing it centrally.

Northern Rock has launched an 18-month flexible fixed rate at 4.49% for up to 75% LTV, 4.59% for 85% LTV, 4.79% for 90% LTV and 4.99% for 95% LTV. These rates look good but most applications that go in now will not complete for at least three months. This means clients will have less than 18 months on them so the 695 fee starts to look substantial.

I was delighted to note Cammy Amaira’s appointment as director of sales for Intelligent Finance. He was well known and respected at Mortgage Express. IF’s proposition is now good and I am sure with Cammy’s experience and contacts he will help take IF to the next level. It’s great to see HBOS securing the services of a big name.

Coventry has launched a few rates. I find it hard to explain its Flexx products to clients as they do not seem to be directly linked to anything. The rates themselves look quite good at 5.10% for a 65% LTV buy-to-let deal with a booking fee of 250 and an arrangement fee of 475. There is also an 85% LTV product at 5.25% with the same fees. Neither of these rates have ERCs. The only link I can spot is that the products are guaranteed to be no more than 2% more than SVR (6.59%) but to me that does not seem worth having. Am I missing something?

Having just had a look at Royal Bank of Scotland Intermediary Partners’ online affordability calculator, the possible borrowing limits seem high indeed. The broker version is not dependent on a client’s credit score so if you need to know exactly how much your client can borrow you’ll have to call and it will run through a decision in principle. I was amazed at some of the figures shown to me.

I was delighted to receive the packager agreement for a new lender in the post. But it’s a shame it did not put enough postage on the envelope, so we had to pay the extra and the handling fee. All it needed was another 5p. Not a great start to a relationship. Never assume everything goes with just one first class stamp.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons Mortgages

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