First of all, let’s get the introductions out of the way.
Some of you will already know me from my time as deputy editor of Mortgage Finance Gazette and What Mortgage. More recently, I also helped to set up Specialist Lending Solutions while working as a freelance journalist.
It’s great to be back in the industry again, this time as editor of Mortgage Strategy, and many thanks for all the warm welcomes I’ve already received!
I’ve hit the ground running in my first week and it’s been good to chat with many familiar and new faces en route.
If there’s one thing that’s never lacking in the mortgage sector, it’s news. The FSE exhibition came at an opportune time to catch up on the latest issues impacting the industry and, as always, the seminars offered great insight into how policy and regulation will influence the next steps that brokers, and the market as a whole, will take.
It is evident to all that the buy-to-let sector is experiencing testing times and landlords will face even more tax pressures when tax relief is cut from next year, on top of the stamp duty surcharge applied earlier this year.
With several lenders already applying stress tests of up to 145 per cent, it’s thought that this could become a more commonplace practice before the end of the year. The surge in limited company lending should continue because this vehicle is subject to less rigorous tax.
The equity release market was in the news this week as the FCA proposed the introduction of a standalone qualification in the specialist area. The industry has had a mixed reaction to the move, with some suggesting that it will undermine those who are currently qualified in equity release if ‘dabblers’ enter the market.
Others welcomed the proposals, saying that more advisers were needed in the sector and this would deliver them. It will certainly be a topic to watch when the consultation closes in December.
Please do get in touch with your news and opinion on the market. I look forward to working with you.
It’s good to be back!