06 April 2009

Mortgage Approvals up!

The mortgage world entered this nightmare way back in August 2007. The first signs of problems, to the public eye at least, were that of Northern Rocks issues in October 07. In just that small passage of time, we lost some four or five lenders in ‘our world’. Yes they were relatively small, lending just 1 or 2 billion per annum, but they were specialist. Great for unique self certification mortgages, buy to lets and sub prime. How we miss some of those product offerings today!
Since late 07 and right up to the present (Dunfermline BS this week) many others have fallen by the wayside. Some well known and many not so well known: Victoria, Rooftop, Preferred and Mortgages plc to name but a few. They all gave us, your mortgage broker, many market options and gave you, the customer, products designed to meet your specialist requirements. As with most lenders they were owned by larger conglomerates and had funding pulled at quick or no notice, as soon as financial institutions started to come under the auditors and credit department’s scrutiny. Long gone have the days that a lender was run by sales! Everything now is purely profit and quite rightly, compliance orientated! Ignoring the latter for a second, you may have seen that this week the Woolwich launched a £150 charge for every mortgage application, even if it does not proceed for any reason! With others charging huge arrangement fees for their mortgages, it appears that lenders simply can, right now, call the shots.
There’s no doubt we have a long way to go before we see any decent signs of recovery in the market as a whole. But, as Yazz! once sung, ‘The only way is up!’. In contrast to the announcement from the Council of Mortgage Lenders recently, the Bank of England last week advised that mortgage approvals for purchases were up in February and the highest since May 08. At the same time, consumer debt repayments were the highest since records began in 1993.
Nothing to jump around about just yet, but certainly a glimmer of hope in a very uncertain and testing time for all.

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