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Home loan rates set to drop more as HSBC introduces record low mortgage of 0.99pc

Mortgage rates are poised to break new records and edge even further down.

HSBC recently made headlines by introducing a record low mortgage rate of 0.99 per cent, with economists from the bank predicting policy rates would stay at their all-time lows of 0.5 per cent until at least 2016.

It looks unlikely to end there.

“We see lenders further reducing rates in order to achieve this year’s annual lending targets,” Rob Killeen from mortgage brokers Capital Fortune told City A.M.

“Many report to us they have fallen short due to implementation of the Mortgage Market Review [MMR].”

MMR rules make it harder for banks to grant mortgages.

Killeen also explains that many banks anticipate policy rates staying low due to low inflation and weak economic growth in Europe. As a result, markets have pushed their expectations of the first Bank of England interest rate hike to Nov­ember 2015 from the beginning of 2015.

Competition between banks has also driven down mortgage rates.

“There is intense competition still going on and lenders are probably a bit under-lent compared to where they want to be,” Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau told City A.M.

“For the last four or five weeks, we’ve seen successive rate reductions. I think rates can go a little lower,” Murphy said.

Murphy expects competitive pressures in the mortgage to increase in 2015. Challenger bank TSB which was separated from Lloyds Bank will be allowed to offer mortgages through third party brokers in January, allowing them to be more competitive.

“TSB are going to be a relatively significant player. That creates more competition and more choice for consumers, therefore, we should see prices remain relatively low in the short to medium term,” Murphy said.

HSBC’s 0.99 per cent mortgage rate is a discounted variable – it tracks slightly below an in-house interest rate set by the bank which will typically change in line with policy rates. The Post Office offers the cheapest fixed-rate mortgage at 1.43 per cent for two years, according to

The downward pressure on mortgage rates comes despite it being revealed that two of the Bank of England’s (BoE) nine interest rate setters voted for a hike two weeks ago. Ian McCafferty and Martin Weale, the two voters in question, have voted for a hike every month since August. The pair believe low inflation is temporary and is at risk of rising quickly if wages spike.

The other seven policymakers cite falling commodity prices and weak global economic growth – which may not be temporary – as reasons to keep policy rates down.

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Fresh move to restart London’s stalled Pinnacle tower

A consortium of investors is understood to be in talks to buy the stalled Pinnacle tower development.

French fund manager Axa is leading a consortium of other overseas investors that hope to buy the 22-24 Bishopsgate site in the city, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

Pinnacle developer Arab Investment and Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund Sedco have been looking for a buyer after funding dried up on the landmark London project.

The 63-storey tower, nicknamed the helter-skelter because of its complex twisting profile, would be the tallest building in the Square Mile.


Brookfield Multiplex started the project in 2010 but funding dried up just after Byrne Brothers started pouring the building core back in 2011. The seven-storey core has since been nicknamed the Stump.

Several attempts to refinance the project failed and architects have been commissioned to draw up a less costly tower design for the site, but property agent CBRE was also called in to find a buyer for the site last year.

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Mace to start London Elephant & Castle resi tower

Mace will start work in January on the next major tower project at London’s £3bn Elephant & Castle regeneration scheme.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, with developers Mace and Canadian residential operators Realstar, has confirmed work is to begin on the 457-home Newington Butts project.

The site is owned by the Greater London Authority and will become one of the largest long-term rental developments in the capital when finished in 2018.

Homes in the 44-storey tower, designed by Rogers Stirk and Harbour, will be available on long leases and will mirror similar style longer-term rental apartments in large cities in the US.

Newington Butts

The tower will also include a new theatre space for the Southwark Playhouse and a café as well as retail and marketing space.

The Newington Butts site was among 670 hectares of surplus public land taken on by the Mayor in 2012, more than 85% of which has now been moved into the development pipeline.

The new development will include 179 low cost homes for rent and shared ownership, being delivered by social housing provider Peabody.

The project bears a strong resemblance to the One the Elephant housing block being built by lend Lease.

In September, the Mayor announced two further Greater London Authority owned sites, Silvertown Way in Canning Town and Pontoon Dock in Newham which are now being brought forward for institutionally backed private rented sector homes.

Chief operating officer of Mace Investment, David Grover, said, “Since Mace was selected as the GLA’s partner for Newington Butts, we have been working through the options for this complex project to deliver much needed housing for the capital.

“We are now able to move forward and deliver an iconic piece of real estate, which will be a strong addition to the London skyline, reinforcing the capital’s position as a major city in the world to live in and work.”

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