Brokers play a vital role in the success of the housing market


September 18, 2012

Gary Salter is Nationwide’s head of corporate accounts


I thought I’d got off lightly when I saw pictures of some of my colleagues all decked out in a hard hat and luminous vests last week on a Glasgow building site. 


They were of course helping to demonstrate Nationwide’s support at the launch of the MI New Home mortgage indemnity scheme.


For Nationwide, being involved in MI New Home was a straightforward choice. 


As this scheme was going to help boost the market and get people onto the housing ladder, Nationwide wanted to be involved from the start. 


It’s great to see the scheme so warmly received by the media and building industry and all indications suggest that other lenders will join soon.


Of course the Scottish housing market is facing similar challenges to that across the rest of the UK so the introduction of new schemes to aid accessibility can only be a positive step. 


I’m really pleased that, as with NewBuy, we’re right there at the outset, putting this new product in the hands of those that specialise in new build mortgages – intermediaries.


Admittedly, NewBuy has been described by many as a ‘slow burner’ and the scheme has received some criticism as a result of that. 


However, as time goes on we are starting to see momentum build, particularly now that builders and lenders are increasingly getting behind the scheme and promoting it to prospective buyers. 


In my view, the result is more sustainable – people are thinking about choices and weighing up the pros and cons before rushing in head first.


For me, the issue isn’t whether it builds slowly or quickly, it’s about opening up choice and options. 


Through schemes like NewBuy and MI New Home, people with a small deposit now have a tangible opportunity to get on the housing ladder or even upsize to that much needed larger home with a newly built property.


We’ve already seen the NewBuy scheme in England making an impact, and for many, it will mean the difference between being able to purchase a home now or not.


For consumers though, making a choice, even if they have access to all the latest information, cannot be easy.


This hasn’t been helped by the plethora of activity from both lenders and the Government. 


Although its good that steps are being taken to help boost the market, even the most confident and savvy buyer could be daunted by the choice and options available – let alone those doing it for the first time.


Add to that the differing views of indices and commentators, and wider forecasts of economic gloom and concern for job security and it’s a wonder any new buyers are taking the plunge.


However, as an industry, it’s vital for us that they do – and clearly the role of the broker has never been more fundamental in bridging the knowledge gap. 


Experts can help guide a buyer to the right financial solution, adding clarity and insight so that borrowers don’t feel the need to don a ‘hard hat’ when they come to arrange the finance for the purchase of their home.


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