Brokers bullish about the mortgage market

Robyn Hall

September 17, 2012

The research, by BDRC Continental for Halifax Intermediaries, revealed that seven out of ten brokers were encouraged by the more competitive rates being offered over the second quarter of the year.

This led to an increase in the average number of cases being written per individual broker to 74.5 – up from 62 in the first half of 2011 and 66.5 in the latter half of 2011.

Overall, UK mortgage approvals during the first six months of 2012 have increased by 12% compare to the same period last year, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

David Hollingworth, associate director of London & Country, said: “The general feeling is that there are more opportunities due to improved rates and an increased sense of competition between lenders which is having a positive knock-on effect in the remortgage market.

According to the findings, remortgage activity has increased by 3% over the first half of the year compared to H1 2011.

Hollingworth added: “We are seeing a record low in fixed rates which is helping to encourage people to shop around.”

However he was skeptical about the accuracy of the remortgage market figures drawing attention to a conflicting study recently released by Halifax which stated “activity in the remortgage market continues to shrink, with volumes falling by 75% since 2007”.

He added it was important to look at the market as a whole which is “still extremely tough”.

Of those surveyed, 7.5% were more confident in the sector than in H1 2011.

Many quoted increasing lending volumes and less competition in the broker channels, as smaller independent financial advisors and appointed representatives drop out due to incoming regulatory changes, as the main drivers of the increase in confidence in the intermediary sector.

Ian Wilson, head of Halifax Intermediaries, said: “Mortgage brokers are a resilient bunch and it is encouraging to see increasing confidence over the course of the last few years –albeit slowly.

And he added: “However, the economic outlook remains challenging and the mortgage market is still limited, with brokers concerned that whilst an increasing number of products are available, distribution remains restricted.”

Matt Tristram, director of Loans Warehouse, added: “Secured Loan Brokers are witnessing similar trends. Last month’s Secured Loan Index revealed lending levels in July were at a 3-year high and with lenders like Blemain Group announcing a new funding last week of £640m that confidence is well placed.”

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