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Swaps initially fell last week with one-year money edging below 5%, before rising above the previous week’s levels. They are now at pretty much the levels they were three months ago.

  • One-year money is up 0.05% at 5.05%
  • Two-year money is up 0.03% at 5.08%
  • Three-year money is up 0.03% at 5.11%
  • Five-year money is up 0.01% at 5.09%

    Leeds has launched a couple of fixed rates with no early redemption charges. There is a 4.94% two-year fixed rate with a 595 completion fee and a two-year fixed rate at 5.49%. They come with free valuations up to 335, free conveyancing for remortgages and no completion fees. Both deals are available to 95% LTV. There are a couple of three-year fixed rates also without ERCs. These products are fantastic value and give borrowers a lot of freedom.

    Woolwich’s new online system was unable to recognise the details of one of our advisers after they submitted an application online.

    This meant that when they logged on they were not able to track their case and did not get automatic email updates. You can search for such lost cases online but I think it’s a strange system that separates mortgage brokers from the cases they have submitted to a lender.

    And it seems lenders require ever more personal information about brokers for their online facilities. I know if we are happy to submit our clients’ data online we should be happy with their security but I don’t know why I’m asked for my mother’s maiden name and my date of birth. These are security questions my bank asks before it releases infor-mation. I’d like to withhold information that could be used in identity fraud against me. Unipass will help stop these increasing demands.

    It’s great to see that edeus has decided to use an 0800 number for its case update line. It’s obviously confident that brokers will get speedy offers so won’t be kept waiting in call centre oblivion. Its online system will allow real-time tracking so if you email it a signed declaration you can see it appear as an item on the client’s mortgage account.

    Halifax seems hell bent on making life as easy as possible. Not every broker does lots of large loans but it’s useful that it now offers its core range for loans up to an incredible 7.5m. Sadly, plenty of other lenders cap their good rates at 250,000 or 500,000.

    BM Solutions has launched a number of mainstream rates. We see the return of its best-selling two-year tracker rate at base less 0.51% with a 1,499 fee. This is available through Legal & General Mortgage Club, Pink Home Loans and Mortgage Intelligence. It’s a great deal for large loans although no doubt the anti-fee brigade will boycott it and it will be missing from half the buy tables.

    Portman has introduced six products. There is a two-year fixed rate at 5.15% and a three-year fixed rate at 5.19%, both without arrangement fees and with free valuations and free legals or 250 cashback.

    Northern Rock has cut rates on its Together range by up to 0.20%. They now start at 5.89%. Its two-year flexible fixed buy-to-let rate with a 1.5% fee has been reduced to 4.99%.

    The Bank of England last week finally bowed to inflationary pressures, increasing the interest rate by 0.25% to 4.75%. Clients on tracker or discounted deals will certainly see their monthly payments rise. On a 200,000 interest-only mortgage payments will go up by 41.67 per month – not an earth-shattering amount but potentially significant for borrowers who are already stretched. However, the effect is likely to be mainly psychological rather than financial. Whether this rise will be enough to cool the white hot housing market remains to be seen.

    No sign of my beer and crisps from Alan Dring yet. A bet is a bet Alan.

    Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons Mortgages

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