The world health organisation has now declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. This week has seen extraordinary measures taken around the world trying to contain and delay the virus. At the time of writing this blog America has now implemented a travel ban into the country from Europe. We live in extraordinary times at the moment!
Smart Money are operating as normal and we will update you accordingly. We are closely monitoring the situation and adhering to guidance set out by the UK government. We have taken the decision to halt face to face meetings between our National Account Managers and brokers. The team will instead be offering meetings via video call, as well as being contactable through email and telephone. We are prepared for all eventualities and are confident that we can maintain the high standard of service you expect.
The measures taken by the Bank of England this week to cut interest rates to record lows of 0.25%. This will help stimulate the economy during the outbreak. The rate cut is predicted to only be a short-term measure so now could be the best time to see further rate reductions across the marketplace. There are other contributing factors to lending rates which include competition within the marketplace and the use of banks’ lending capital available. Rate reductions on standard variable rate products are already taking place from Lloyds, Halifax, HSBC and Barclays. Over the coming weeks we could see this to start feeding into the Specialist Lending market.
The budget also took place this week which was heavily focused on supporting businesses through the Coronavirus impact and there was very limited amount of information for the property market to take away. The chancellor decided against a stamp duty overhaul and property taxes are set to bring in £12.8bn into the Treasury. A 2% surcharge was announced for foreign buyers to be implemented by April 2021 and it is expected there could be a mini-London property boom before the deadline. Next week we will see Andrew Bailey take over as the governor of the Bank of England on Monday. These will be testing times for a new governor but with a strong government ready to combat the crisis this will put us in good stead.
To conclude the banking system is in a more robust state than it was in the 2008 financial crisis and being far better capitalised this has given the UK far more scope to manoeuvre with further quantitative easing potentially. Lenders have been putting plans in place to mitigate the risk and to still functional as normal. As a result, in the coming weeks now could be the perfect time to secure the very best lending rates available.