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The Mortgage Mole

ON THE RUN AGAIN The running bug has taken hold of the formerly fitness-shy staff of Mortgage Strategy. The editor, self-confessed couch potato Robert Thickett, recently ran the London Marathon and senior features writer Samuel Dale went on an extreme diet to complete the Bath half-marathon, now deputy editor Natalie Thomas is to run the Southend half-marathon on June 12.

“I have drunk and eaten far too much to be able to do it in a respectable time, but whether I run, walk or crawl to the finish line I am going to give it my best shot,” a footsore Thomas told Mole.

She’s raising money for Havens Hospices, which incorporates Fair Havens Hospices and Little Havens Children’s Hospice. To sponsor Thomas visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving. com/NatalieThomas1.

NOT SO MAGIC NUMBERS Mole was intrigued to see a Tweet from housing minister Grant Shapps last week boasting about the 45% increase in the number of private sector house building orders since the coalition took over last year.

Could this be the beginning of a new renaissance in housing? Sadly, when Mole dug a little deeper it wasn’t quite as rosy as Shapps made out. While the total number of private housing orders between Q2 2010 and Q1 2011 did increase some 44.5% compared with the same period the previous year, the figures are slightly more depressing for this year.

Having surged by around 800 instructions between Q2 and Q3 last year, they sagged in Q1 2011, falling 13% from the previous quarter. When comparing all new work, from public and private housing, infrastructure, private industrial and private commercial, it’s still dire, with new work down to -6.9%.

The coalition needs to wave its magic wand a bit more vigorously before it lays claim to spurring an uplift in building.


Nationwide trims rates on 50% LTV products

Nationwide has reduced its two-year 50% LTV fixed mortgage rates. It is now offering a two-year fix at 2.99% up to 50% LTV with a £400 product fee and a £99 booking fee for new applications. For remortgage and switcher customers there is a £900 product fee and a £99 booking fee.


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