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Swaps edged back up slightly last week. It seems that they are see-sawing up and down each week. They have changed little in the past month but fixed rates have soared.

• One-year money is up 0.01% at 5.42%

• Two-year money is up 0.02% at 5.33%

• Three-year money is up 0.02% at 5.29%

• Five-year money is up 0.02% at 5.18%

Money Partners is the first lender to have implemented Unipass to make it easier for brokers to access its website. It’s good to see a lender manage to implement Unipass so quickly. Once one person in any firm has registered with Money Partners, following further accreditation checks, other members of the same firm who have subscribed for Unipass should be able to access the Money Partners website incredibly easily. Let’s hope other lenders follow suit.

Doom and gloom predictions about the housing market – such as economist Professor David Miles’ last week – quickly become boring. Let’s not forget how accurate Capital Economics was when it cried wolf over house prices three to four years ago. Strangely enough we have not heard much from it as house prices have surged.

I am sure we all remember Professor Miles’ report on the market in 2004 which tried to explain why borrowers were not taking out long-term fixed rates. These gurus remind me of the chief in Asterix, Vitalstatistix, who had only one fear; he was afraid the sky would fall on his head tomorrow. But as he always says, “tomorrow never comes”.

Well done to The Mortgage Business which has now started putting full product details on withdrawn rates. This makes life so much easier for brokers.

It is great to see BM Solutions launch some scorching rates. The tried and tested favourite of base less 0.51% with a 1,499 fee is available through Pink Home Loans and Legal & General. A couple of new remortgage products stand out. There’s a headline rate of 4.84% (base less 0.16%) for two-years with a 1,499 fee, a refund of valuation up to 490 and free conveyancing but the best bit is a 1% cashback as long as the client completes in 2006.

There is also a three-year 4.79% deal (base less 0.21%) for three-years with the same package, i.e. a 1,499 fee and a refund of valuation (up to the usual 490) and free conveyancing with a 1% cashback if the clients complete in 2006.

Woolwich has launched a great nil redemption tracker through L&G. It is base less 0.26% for two years giving a 4.74% pay rate. It is available to 80% with a 995 application fee and for remortgages there is the switch and save scheme with a free valuation and conveyancing or a 200 cashback.

For those borrowing 500,000 and thus who don’t qualify for Woolwich’s City Mortgage, I think this is good.

Nationwide withdrew its excellent 4.47% two-year fixed rate – sadly it only gave just over a day’s notice. It has been replaced by a rate of 4.88%.

Cheltenham & Gloucester has launched some intermediary rates. There is a two-year fixed at 4.95% with a fee of 999 or 5.25% with no fee. There’s also a two-year tracker at 4.69% with a 999 fee and a two-year buy-to-let fixed rate at 5.49% with a 999 fee. The residential rates are available to 80% LTV and the buy-to-let rates to 85%.

There has been a lot of debate over arranging mortgages that run beyond age 65 and whether this is right or wrong. I guess both sides are right to a certain extent. We should not be lending to those in retirement without ensuring they can afford the mortgage payments but if they can what is wrong with lenders giving them mortgages? If not they would be forced to take lifetime mortgages, even if they can afford to meet their monthly payment.

The minutes of the November Monetary Policy Committee meeting showed there was a split decision to increase the base rate to 5%. Seven members voted for an increase and two members voted to keep the base rate on hold at 4.75%.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons Mortgages


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