Things are getting complicated in the wider economy, especially now that the Greece situation has reared its head again, with reports saying bankruptcy really is just around the corner.
As the BBC’s Robert Peston pointed out, it is extraordinary that Tesco can lose £6bn and still be formidable while Greece needs roughly that sum to stay afloat.
Election-wise, does anyone else think these are the worst-run campaigns ever? It seems like both main parties are trying their best to lose, rather than doing much constructive to win. The biggest light for Labour is the ‘Milifandom’ on social media, with young teenagers determined to improve Ed’s image, and signs that this is starting to have some effect.
On the other side, Dave continues to duck debates, which could be risky. Although some economic news is still on his side, retail sales fell by 0.5 per cent between February and March, when 0.4 per cent growth was expected. They also put borrowing at £87.3bn, down £11.1bn on the same period in the financial year ending 2014.
Meanwhile, there was good news as the CML reported mortgage lending rose year-on-year for the first time in five months, up by around 7 per cent. March was up around 21 per cent on February, although overall the quarter was down 3 per cent on Q1 2014. This shows there is much more work still to do and drives home the fact that low rates are not everything.
Also, an interesting study by Emoov said babies born at this time will pay around £3.4m for their first home if current trends continue.
In the markets, three-month Libor is still at 0.57 per cent while swap rates have swelled slightly.
2-year money is up 0.07 at 0.98%
3-year money is up 0.09 at 1.17%
5-year money is up 0.12 at 1.45%
10-year money is up 0.13 at 1.79%
The biggest news for mortgage rates was HSBC breaking the 2 per cent barrier for a five-year fix at an incredible 1.99 per cent. Available up to 60 per cent LTV and with a fee of £1,499, it is a watershed moment. The product is still just for the A1 client but it will be interesting to see if any other lender joins HSBC.
Barclays is releasing a fee-free two-year fix at 1.85 per cent up to 60 per cent LTV and reducing 70 per cent and 75 per cent five-year fixes to 2.59 per cent and 2.69 per cent respectively. Both have fees of £999.
Virgin Money has three-year fixes from 1.99 per cent to 65 per cent LTV with a £995 fee, while its five-year intermediary-exclusive fix is at 2.34 per cent with a £1,495 fee.
Coventry has made some cuts and has a two-year fix at 1.69 per cent and a five-year fix at just 2.29 per cent. Both are available to 65 per cent LTV with a £999 fee.
Finally, Peter Curran is leaving Lloyds to join Countrywide. This is a fantastic appointment and it is great to welcome people of such high calibre to the mortgage intermediary sector.