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FLS fails to impress brokers one year on

Sam Cordon

August 1, 2013

The findings revealed that only 16% of brokers said their expectations had been exceeded. Meanwhile 67% felt product pricing had improved and 53% agreed that product choice had grown.

Mainstream borrowers benefited more than near-prime borrowers from improving conditions, according to IMLA. Of those surveyed 35% said they were unable to source a mortgage for a mainstream borrower in the second quarter of 2013 compared to 52% in the same quarter last year.

In contrast 46% of brokers failed to source a mortgage for near-prime borrowers in quarter two 2013 compared to 52% in quarter two 2012.

Peter Williams, executive director of IMLA, said: “Even allowing for the spread of brokers’ experiences these results suggest the FLS has not stimulated the market as much as some people had originally hoped.

“The survey offers a real market level insight into the outcomes being achieved. By setting out with the broad aim of increasing lending the scheme has had limited effects on widening access to the market and left a significant policy hole which the government is seeking to tackle by committing greater funding through Help to Buy.”

When the scheme arrived in August 2012 the Bank of England said it would “incentivise banks and building societies to boost their lending to UK households and non-financial companies”.

But fewer than half of the brokers surveyed said the market was more accessible as a result of the FLS despite 48% reporting a rise in consumer interest prompted by the scheme.

Williams predicts that FLS-related lending figures will improve as the year progresses and expects momentum to continue to build into 2014, with the Help to Buy underway, the new mortgage guarantee scheme due to start in January 2014 and the FLS refocused and extended to January 2015.

He said: “However we now have a series of overlapping measures in place which suggests a lack of long-term vision and planning. All are time limited and increases in housing supply have been slow to materialise. The threats posed by possible house price inflation because of stimulus measures, alongside upwards adjustment of interest rates in the medium term, are considerable.”

And he added: “Unveiling one high-profile plan after another may be electorally attractive but doubts must remain as to whether we can avoid the situation where just a third of young households could be owner-occupiers by 2020 – just half the number seen in 1993.

“It is vital that government, regulators and lenders work to channel our collective efforts towards a balanced housing and mortgage market.”


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