15 May 2014

Volumes continue to rise, but so do delays..

The market is creaking as delays strike lenders, valuers, solicitors and ultimately the end consumer.  Volumes continue to rise, rates remain low and attractive, but the new regulations are biting in to the processes and thus these are taking longer than normal.  Some lenders are taking over an hour to answer their phones whilst taking up to ten days to look at mortgage applications.  In addition the already apparent shortfall in surveyor numbers is becoming more apparent as customers seek quick turn-arounds in order to compete deals, but the reality is that although volumes are increasing, staff  number increases across the sector can't keep up.  AToM has had first hand of this as we've been recruiting over the last three months.  But finding the right person with the right experience and/or qualifications has been tough!   Whatever transaction you are looking to do, especially with purchasing, be aware that the market is experiencing these delays and the processes are taking much longer than expected.

However, I won't spend to much time on the lows of the market as the fact we have so many lenders offering so many fantastic products across all areas of the market is superb and more people are buying houses than have been for some time, albeit supply might be faltering a little.   Certainly makes it more enjoyable working in our industry with 11,000 product offerings, than when there were fewer than 2,000 not so long ago!
With this in mind, the average two year fixed rate rose by 9 basis points, from 3.52% on 1 April to 3.61% by the end of the month, according to moneyfacts.co.uk. This was the largest one month increase since February 2012, when two year fixes rose 0.13%.  Not time to hit the panic buttons yet, but be aware that there is rate movement occurring.

Finally, the Halifax House Price index suggests that house prices are up 8.5% over the last year with the average property price standing at £178k.  It is also suggested that while London and the South are fairing well and seeing some increases, the North and Wales are still static.  

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