Marketwatch: Internet immersion

Martha Lane Fox is right in saying we all need to understand the internet. As brokers, our future clients will expect it as a minimum


Can you believe the first quarter of 2015 has been and gone? On the whole, it seems to have been a pretty good one for brokers.

Depending on how they are reported, the latest Bank of England figures on mortgage approvals are either pessimistic – down 11 per cent year-on-year in February – or optimistic – up to a six-month high. I take the latter view and, while it feels harder to get cases through again, there is a lot more choice for borrowers, which shows an improving market. The average cost of a two-year fix has fallen below 2 per cent for the first time, which proves how competitive rates are.

Speaking of rates, it was interesting to see other members of the Monetary Policy Committee contradicting Andy Haldane’s view that there could be a cut soon. They maintain that the next move will be upwards, so there is still a split within the ranks. 

Meanwhile, I was inspired by Martha Lane Fox’s Dimbleby Lecture on technology and the internet. She emphasised the importance of everyone understanding the internet at all levels of society.

All of us in the broker sector need to become more immersed in this. Our future clients will expect it as a minimum and you can bet that lenders are quietly looking at ways to use this to get around their declining branch footfall.

In the markets, three-month Libor is up a hint at 0.569 per cent and swap rates have subtly swollen.

2-year money is up 0.04 at 0.92%

3-year money is up 0.03 at 1.09%

5-year money is up 0.04 at 1.37%

10-year money is up 0.09 at 1.72%

Barclays has revised its LTI caps, applying them in terms of risk, which seems far more sensible. The winners are those borrowing over £300,000, who can now go to five times income. For those under this or borrowing over 85 per cent LTV with an income in excess of £50,000, the cap is 4.49 times. If over 85 per cent LTV and income of below £50,000, or the DTI ratio is more than 20 per cent, it is just four times.

Nationwide no longer accepts any income paid in a foreign currency due to the EU’s Mortgage Credit Directive.

Santander has new two-year fixed buy-to-let rates with zero booking fees, has reintroduced a 70 per cent LTV 10-year fix at 3.24 per cent in its residential range and added an 80 per cent LTV two-year fix at 2.09 per cent with a £1,495 fee.

Metro Bank has two-year fixes from 1.99 per cent up to 70 per cent LTV and two-year trackers from 2.19 per cent up to 85 per cent LTV.

Clydesdale Bank has no-fee five-year fixes at 2.99 per cent to 60 per cent LTV and 3.09 per cent to 75 per cent LTV. It also has a first-time buyer 95 per cent LTV product at 4.59 per cent with no fees.

Precise’s residential mortgages are available up to 85 per cent LTV and Market Harborough has added to its expat residential range.