Which product areas do you think lenders will target over the coming months and why?
It is too simple to see remortgaging as the target area but lenders have been focusing on this for most of the past year. Unfortunately, it has not stimulated a remortgage market. Expectations for a base rate rise have created talking points but the mass consumer market will not look to remortgage until the first letters land on the doormat with “Your payment will increase by £X on the XX/XX/XX.” There are some specifics that lenders can work on, however, such as Help to Buy remortgages. Many of the initial deals will be coming to an end. The tax changes in the July Budget may make some lenders look at their buy-to-let offering but it is too early to say if it will improve or restrict this type of lending.
Are there any product types missing from the market that you think would benefit borrowers?
Who remembers capped rates? I have been asking lenders for a while to look at offering these. A good first-time buyer deal with the flexibility of the low variable/tracker rate and the security of the cap must be a winner.
Which way will rates go in the next six months?
We will not see a repeat of what is happening in China but I would be surprised if the change in base rate happens before February 2016. It is likely that the MPC will wait for the November Inflation Report and then it is questionable if they will do it in December. The Governor may then decide to wait for the February report so my prediction is for a 0.25 per cent rise in March. Some lenders may cut rates near the end of the year to build pipeline for 2016 but many will hold off on some changes due to back-office technology amendments that they will have to implement for the Mortgage Credit Directive.
If you could change one thing about the mortgage industry, what would it be?
Payment of a reasonable proc fee to advisers for retention from all lenders when customers come to the end of the deal, plus less administration on these deals.
What is the best advice you have received?
There is no point in getting frustrated when things don’t go your way. In this industry what goes around comes around – usually every two years.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A motor mechanic.
Which famous person (alive or dead) would you most like to meet?
Eric Morecombe. I often find myself quoting some of his one-liners.