Mortgage access improving
Research from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association has suggested that during the first half of 2014, 34% of brokers had been unable to find a suitable product for at least one standard borrower, but just 25% have reported the same in the first half of 2015.
Similarly, 28% had been unable to help at least one first-time buyer enquiry in the first six months of last year, but just 20% had this problem between January and June 2015.
However, 85% of lenders are concerned that consumer access to mortgage finance has unduly suffered from actions by the Financial Policy Committee to cool the housing market in the second half of 2014. The majority (76%) of brokers echo this view.
Peter Williams, executive director of IMLA, said: “The mortgage market has recently undergone a series of major adjustments, and the industry is once more facing a collective challenge to remain open for business while getting to grips with the latest changes to working practices.
“It has been encouraging to see life returning to the market as this year progresses, and sentiment is about as positive as we have seen at any point since the MMR was introduced.”
The trade body’s research also showed almost three quarters of mortgage brokers (74%) are worried about the impact of the incoming European Mortgage Credit Directive on overall lending activity over the next year.
Two fifths of brokers believe a smooth implementation of the MCD will be more challenging for the industry as a whole than MMR, including 11% who believe it will be significantly more challenging.
The majority of lenders believe it will be at least as challenging for industry to implement MCD (71%). This includes 21% who believe it is more of a challenge, although 28% feel it will be less challenging.
Williams added: “Every new layer of regulation brings a danger that it will upset the balance between protection and access for consumers with legitimate cases to be granted a mortgage, as well as imposing extra costs and reducing efficiency.
“The governor of the Bank of England recently highlighted the scheduled open forum in November when it is planned to look at the impact of the reform agenda in financial markets. It would be helpful if the mortgage market was part of this to ensure we can move forward on a stable footing.”