Halifax Intermediaries to bring in green mortgage cashback
The deal will come into force on Monday and in order to be eligible properties need to have an Energy Performance certificate or Predicted Energy Assessment of A or B to be eligible.
The cashback is offered for purchases of a main residence only and it is capped at borrowing below 85 per cent loan to value. It can be applied to first-time buyers, homemovers, shared equity shared ownership and new build mortgages.
Halifax Intermediaries head Ian Wilson said “Our new green mortgage cashback offer continues our work to help make Britain’s homes more energy efficient.
“This addition to our product range demonstrates another way that we are working towards our group climate ambitions of halving our financed emissions by 2030.”
The cashback follows on from the lender’s green living award, which applied to mortgages between 9 November 2002 and 31 March 2021, and offered £500 cashback if borrowers made energy saving home improvements.
Currently the lender does not offer green mortgage products.
Halifax and Virgin Money cut high LTV and shared ownership mortgage rates
The lender has made reductions to two and five-year fixed rate products across the 75 per cent and 90 per cent LTVs.
This includes the two-year 75 per cent LTV deal with £999 fee at 1.31 per cent and the 90 per cent LTV equivalent which is at 3.09 per cent. The five-year versions are at 1.66 per cent and 3.41 per cent respectively.
Selected rate reductions have also been made on three-year fixed rate products across the 75 per cent and 85 per cent LTV ranges.
Here the 75 per cent LTV zero fee deal is at 1.84, while the 85 per cent LTV option with £999 fee is at 2.69 per cent.
In the new build range, the two-year fix at 75 per cent LTV with £999 fee is at 1.51 per cent and the five year version up to 85 per cent LTV is at 3.03 per cent.
Meanwhile, Virgin Money is cutting rates on some of its products by up to 31 basis points, including a pair of broker exclusives and shared ownership mortgages.
The broker exclusives with £1,000 cashback and £995 fee at 75 per cent and 85 per cent LTV for purchases have been reduced to 1.74 per cent and 2.69 per cent respectively.
Rate reductions across its core range include the 65 per cent LTV five-year fixed cut by 31 basis points to 1.68 per cent and the first-time buyer 90 per cent LTV five-year zero fee mortgage trimmed by seven basis points to 3.62 per cent.
Shared ownership deals see two of the biggest reductions.
The 90 per cent LTV five-year fixes with £995 fee and £0 fee have been reduced by 27bps and 31bps to 3.59 per cent and 3.78 per cent respectively.
Monmouthshire Building Society
Monmouthshire Building Society also introduced a range of five-year fixed deals at up to 80 per cent LTV, with purchase and remortgage options available.
Interest rates range from 1.5 per cent at 50 per cent LTV to 2.25 per cent at 80 per cent LTV, with a minimum loan size of £40,000 and maximum loan size of £1m.
Halifax and BM Solutions cut rates
Halifax has adjusted products in its remortgage range with some rates increasing by up to 0.14 per cent and others cut by up to 0.17 per cent.
The remortgage deals affected include affordable housing shared equity products and shared ownership scheme.
The lender did not give any examples of specific product changes.
Meanwhile, BM Solutions has also overhauled its buy-to-let mortgage rates.
Remortgage and let-to-buy products saw a range of reductions across two-year fixes at 60 per cent and 75 per cent loan to value (LTV) and five-year fixes at 75 per cent LTV.
The cuts were applied to products with £0, £995 and £1,995 fees.
Product transfer deals at 60 per cent LTV with £995 fee also had rate reductions, while the 75 per cent LTV versions were increased.
And the lender aligned its further advance rates with its two-year 75 per cent £0 fee product transfer deals.
Halifax tightens income multiples
In a note to its intermediaries, Halifax said the 4.49 times income multiple currently used for workers earning less than £25,000 will be extended to include those with annual earnings of less than £30,000.
The bank said it was making the change to ensure it continued to lend responsibly to borrowers on lower salaries.
Applications that include any element of self-employed income will also be subject to the same change.
Halifax said this temporary change would give it “short-term flexibility on products and service levels”. The criteria change will kept under regular review.
To capture the information, the affordability calculator on the Halifax Intermediaries’ website will include the question, “does any applicant have any self-employed income?”
All other loan to income ratios will remain the same.
A spokesperson for Halifax said the bank regularly reviews criteria and the change remains in line with the market.
The changes take effect from Thursday 7 January.
Existing applications will not be subject to the changes.
Halifax reintroduces fee-free deals and combines BDM teams with SWB
It is also combining business development manager (BDM) teams with Scottish Widows Bank to allow representatives to support brokers across both brands.
The new fee-free options will be available from 7 January – prior to which the lender had only offered fee-free deals on its remortgage range.
The move follows Halifax’s re-entry into the 90 per cent LTV space in December.
Ian Wilson (pictured), head of Halifax Intermediaries and Scottish Widows Bank, said: “These changes show our commitment to providing some broader options to the broker market by introducing products to best support customers’ needs.”
BDM team growth
Halifax and Scottish Widows Bank, which are part of Lloyds Banking Group, are also growing the number of field and office-based BDMs as part of the team mergers.
From 11 January the field BDM team will increase by two to 44 with the telephone BDM team growing by one to 26, and they will be led by five regional managers.
BDMs will contact intermediaries where there are any potential changes in contacts but there will be no change to the SWB Premier and Halifax Premier teams.
Wilson added: “Now more than ever, providing the right support to intermediaries where and when they need it is our priority.
“Growing our BDM teams and supporting both Halifax and Scottish Widows Bank in one team helps us stay in great shape to help intermediaries continue to meet the needs of their customers.”
Halifax re-entering 90 per cent LTV mortgages
The lender is using special criteria which it said would help it to manage its service proposition and continue to lend responsibly.
The products are only available to first-time buyers, with at least one of any joint applicants needing to be a first-time buyer.
It does not include new build or other schemes and an enhanced credit score will be required.
Loan to income (LTI) is capped and 4.49 times income with maximum loans limited to £500,000.
Halifax noted that any current credit commitments will be deducted as ongoing in its affordability calculation even where declared as ‘to be repaid’.
“The loan amount must be affordable with these commitments deducted as remaining,” it said.
Advisers will be informed when submitting a decision in principle (DIP) if the case does not meet these criteria, and if LTVs on any already submitted cases are increased above 85 per cent they will also be subject to the new criteria.
Halifax’s re-entry into the 90 per cent LTV market is the latest of late as lenders are increasingly returning, with Accord, Platform and TSB all introducing more products in the sector in the last two weeks and Nationwide widening availability.
‘We will monitor service levels’
Jasjyot Singh, managing director of consumer and business banking at Halifax said: “We are committed to helping people take their first step on to the property ladder and while there have been record levels of mortgage approvals over the past few months, raising a deposit is still hands down the biggest challenge for first-time buyers.
“Reintroducing options at higher LTVs means we can support more people ready to get a foot on the ladder. We will monitor service levels to make sure we continue to be there for our customers.
“We also relaunched our Lloyds Bank Lend A Hand mortgage last month which enables first-time buyers to borrow up to 100 per cent of the mortgage with the support of their family,” Singh added.
Accord and Halifax increase high LTV rates
Accord has made 44 rate changes to its residential product suite ranging from a 0.27 per cent decrease up to a 0.42 per cent increase.
Higher LTV deals have seen the most significant rises – 85 per cent LTV rates have been increased by up to 0.42 per cent and 80 per cent LTV deals by up to 0.32 per cent.
The product with the highest increase is the five-year fixed offset remortgage product at 85 per cent LTV which is now 3.28 per cent, it has a £495 completion fee and £250 cashback.
However, the lender has also made significant rate cuts to its longer-term product range with seven-, 10- and 15-year fixes reduced by up to 0.27 per cent.
The 15-year fixed remortgage and purchase product at 75% LTV has been cut by 0.27 per cent and is now 2.49 per cent with a £495 completion fee.
Accord product manager Jemma Anderson (pictured) said: “As part of our regular range review, we withdrew all products on 24th September at 8pm and replaced them at 9am today with end dates extended to February 2021.
“As part of this change, longer term rates of seven-, 10- and 15-years have been reduced by up to 27bps and selected rates increased between 0.01 per cent and 0.42 per cent. We are confident our range remains competitive and our service levels will be maintained.”
Halifax and Scottish Widows Bank
Halifax has also overhauled its remortgage product range to help maintain service levels.
The changes include rate reductions of up to 0.35 per cent and increases of up to 0.37 per cent.
Additionally, the lender announced a rate increase of 0.27 per cent on the two-year £1,499 fee 80 per cent LTV homemover and first-time buyer mortgages.
A Halifax spokesperson said: “We are constantly reviewing our offering and listening to broker feedback as part of our commitment to the intermediary market.
“These changes are designed to help support our customers in the current environment.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Widows Bank is making selected increases on two- and five-year 70 per cent and 75 per cent LTV products.
Halifax opens mortgage prize draw to brokers’ clients
Previously it was only available to borrowers who went direct to the lender for their mortgage.
The prize draw sees one borrower a month have their mortgage paid off up to the value of £300,000 and there are also 100 monthly prizes of £1,000 cash.
To be eligible to register for the draw customers must hold a Halifax or Bank of Scotland current account with at least £1,500 a month paid in the month prior to the draw.
They also require a Halifax mortgage on their home in Scotland, England or Wales and be up-to-date with mortgage repayments.
Registration is free and is only required once on the hub page.
Ian Wilson, head of Halifax Intermediaries, (pictured) said: “We are constantly looking at how we continue to support the intermediary market and giving customers the opportunity to enter our prize draw is an extra way that we can add value for mortgage customers backed by our commitment to the excellent service upon which intermediaries can depend.”
Update: Nationwide and Skipton latest to confirm return to physical valuations
An email from Nationwide to brokers read: “For properties on hold because they aren’t suitable for a desktop valuation, we’ll aim to contact the applicant/vendor by 29 May to arrange a booking date, subject to an initial safety assessment and customer agreement. We anticipate most valuations will be carried out before the 12 June.
“We also understand that some customers won’t be comfortable letting a valuer into their property at this time, or whose health situation means this isn’t an option.
“Where this is the case, we’ll place the valuation back on hold and you’ll need to notify us when your client is ready to proceed.”
Mortgage brokers have been asked not to call Nationwide to check valuation dates. Instead they should check the case tracking system which will be updated when a valuation date has been arranged.
Skipton Building Society has also started to rebook valuations on paused applications.
Skipton for Intermediaries said it was resuming physical valuations for both residential and buy-to-let applications in England. The society will contact brokers by email and will contact borrowers by text message to confirm valuation dates.
Halifax, HSBC and Santander
Halifax Intermediaries started to communicate with its brokers on 13 May, and has begun arranging valuations. It expects the first in-person surveys to begin on 18 May.
HSBC impressed brokers by sending out emails confirming valuation bookings within hours of the publication of the government’s guidance on how to safely work in other people’s homes on 12 May.
The bank said it will begin arranging valuations on the oldest paused cases first but if there are any urgent requests a fast track option would be considered.
HSBC said it had worked hard to progress as many cases as possible by using desktop and automated valuations.
HSBC UK head of buying a home Michelle Andrews said it was a very welcome step forward towards some kind of normal.
“We have worked hard to continue to take forward applications with desktop and automated valuations, but that has not been possible in all cases,” she said.
“We will be systematically working our way through those applications that have been paused, and our surveyors will be in touch with customers or the property occupant at the earliest opportunity to make an appointment so applications can move forward.
“There is no action needed on their part, or by mortgage brokers, to apply again for a valuation. We will be in touch over the next few weeks to make arrangements.”
Santander too has been quick off the mark in kick starting stalled applications. Mortgage brokers took to twitter to celebrate the bank’s swift response.
Graham Sellar, head of mortgage distribution, said: “We’re working with valuers to make sure that we can safely support physical valuations as soon as possible.”
Earlier, Accord confirmed it would be restarting physical valuations this week, and from 15 May it will be increasing its loan to value to 85 per cent.
TSB lifts product transfer restrictions on mortgage holidays
In a statement on its website, the bank said: “To make sure we’re looking after our customers through Covid-19, we’ve temporarily removed our restrictions on customers applying for a rate switch when on a payment holiday.”
TSB’s decision follows Halifax Intermediaries’ product transfer update brought in before the Easter break.
Nationwide, Barclays, Accord and Family Building Society have also confirmed they will allow product transfers during payment holidays.
In mid-March, chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announced that banks would offer a three month holiday to those facing financial difficulty because of the spread of coronavirus.
However, brokers found that some lenders would not allow a homeowner whose deal ended during the payment freeze, to switch to a new rate.
More than 1.2 million mortgage payment holidays have been issued to homeowners so far, according to UK Finance.
The number of mortgage payment holidays in place more than tripled in the two weeks between 25 March and 8 April, growing from 392,130 to 1,240,680. One in nine mortgages is now on hold.