Market Watch 08 September 2008

Swaps fell below their recent levels last week. They are now back to where they were in May this year and in December 2006.

– One-year money is down 0.12% at 5.46%

– Two-year money is down 0.12% at 5.26%

– Three-year money is down 0.13% at 5.23%

– Five-year money is down 0.1% at 5.18%

It was great to see Royal Bank of Scotland Intermediary Partners considerably improve its purchase and remortgage ranges. It is rolling up its sleeves to join the battle of the mainstream lenders.

RBSIP’s two-year First Active fixed remortgage rate has been slashed from 5.97% to 5.79% with a maximum LTV of 75% and a £999 fee. Its 90% LTV rate has gone down from 6.34% to 6.24%.

For purchases, RBSIP’s two-year fixed rate has gonedown from 6.49% to 6.24% for loans up to 90% LTV and also has a £999 fee.

BM Solutions has improved a few of its rates. There is now a two-year fixed rate buy-to-let deal at 5.49% with a 2% fee for loans up to 65% LTV.

There is also a three-year tracker at 5.79% with a 2% fee for loans up to 75% LTV. Both deals have 125% pay rate calculations.

HBOS continues to keep us on our feet by repricing fast and furiously, making life harder for brokers.

Both Cheltenham & Gloucester and Abbey repriced on Wednesday, with the new product ranges due out on Thursday. Neither lender disclosed their pricing and only let us know what sort of products were changing.

Abbey has reduced its fixed rate products by up to 0.3% to make its 60%, 70% and 75% LTV ranges more competitive. Its two-year fixed rate deal has been reduced by up to 0.2% with fees from £499. Its three-year fixed rate has been cut by up to 0.15% with fees up to £499. Finally, its five-year fixed rate deal has been cut by up to 0.3%.

The lender has also reduced its large loan rates by up to 0.35%. These cuts are in addition to those announced last week.

C&G has reduced all its 60% and 75% LTV fixed rate products for loans from £50,000 to £999,999. It has also done so on its 60% and 80% LTV ranges for deals ranging from £1m to £1,999,999.

For borrowers keen on long-term fixed rate deals, Skipton has cut its 10-year rates. The 10-year fixed rate for loans up to 60% LTV is now 5.74% with an £895 fee. For loans up to 75% LTV the rate is 5.89% with the same fee and for loans up to 90% LTV the rate is 6.4% with a £995 fee.

Northern Rock continued to improve its range by launching a new two-year flexible fixed rate product at 5.74% for loans up to 65% LTV with a £1,995 fee, a two-year flexible fixed rate deal at 6.19% up to 65% LTV with no fee and a five-year flexible fixed rate at 5.99% for loans to the same LTV, again with no fee.

On the buy-to-let side NR has a 5.99% two-year fixed rate deal for loans up to 65% LTV with a 1.5% fee.

Woolwich has reduced a number of its product rates. It now has a lifetime offset deal at Bank of England base rate plus 1.09% for loans up to 60% LTV.

For deals up to 80% LTV the rate is base rate plus 1.59% and for loans up to 90% LTV it is base rate plus 1.79%. All of these products come with a £995 fee.

The lender has also improved its fixed rate and large loan ranges, although at first glance most of these deals don’t look as keen as those offered by its main competitors.

Intelligent Finance has repriced a number of products. It is now offering a two-year offset deal at 5.74% for loans up to 75% LTV and £500,000 with a £1,999 fee and a two-year offset tracker at 5.89% with a £999 fee with the same terms and conditions. The rates on the remortgage versions of these deals are 0.05% higher.

Jonathan Cornell is managing director of Hamptons Mortgages


Heroes and Villains

Hero of the week is chancellor Alistair Darling for his ‘the end of the world is nigh’ interview with the Guardian. The speech helped to push swap rates down by more than 0.1%.

Villain of the week is also Darling for his half-hearted measures to support the property market. As John Charcol’s Ray Boulger says, the only good thing about the Stamp Duty announcement is that it clears the air.