There is little doubt that 2015 was the year of buy-to-let – albeit for all the wrong reasons. This Government clearly has an agenda to drive smaller landlords out of the market in an attempt to free up stock for the owner-occupied sector. We have argued before this is not a sustainable strategy to boost homeownership levels, so hopefully in 2016 we will not see an escalation of this policy.
But that was not the only big issue the market had to contend with over the past 12 months. Lenders spent the first half of the year struggling to get to grips with the post-MMR environment. They had to do this while getting their house in order ahead of the Mortgage Credit Directive, which will come into effect in March.
Lending into retirement is still a massive issue with most lenders, while it continues to baffle brokers that many providers are still not paying proc fees for retention cases.
2016 promises to be equally frenetic. Not only will the FCA launch a review of financial advice but it will also conduct a market study of the mortgage sector and its long-awaited responsible lending thematic review.
At the start of 2016, CML members will be asked to vote on whether to remain as a standalone trade body or be absorbed into one mega-trade body. With the market facing some of its biggest challenges to date, we hope members vote for independence. The sector needs its most powerful trade body to be at its strongest.
Most people will have made their Christmas lists by now, so Mortgage Strategy has also decided on a wishlist for 2016:
1) More lenders paying brokers proc fees for retention deals
2) No further action from the Government on buy-to-let. Let’s see how the incoming measures affect the market before taking any more action
3) Lenders taking a more sensible stance on older borrowers and the self-employed
4) More new lenders coming to market
5) This one is a long shot but – 250,000 home starts
This is the last Mortgage Strategy of the year but we will be back on 13 January. In the meantime, we hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.