Editor’s Note: Riding the wave of uncertainty

If one word could sum up 2016 to date, ‘uncertainty’ would surely be a strong contender. And nowhere is that word more prevalent than in the financial sector.

As we live in limbo waiting for the trigger to be pulled on Article 50, we are confronted with the word on a daily basis and can only speculate on what the future holds; even the educated forecasts of the experts are purely theoretical.

There are many outstanding questions, the answers to which are fundamental to the health of the mortgage market. As Monty points out in this week’s Marketwatch, the UK’s housing policy has been unclear for some time.

At the start of the year, David Cameron vowed to build 200,000 homes for purchase by first-time buyers by 2020 – but new housing minister Gavin Barwell has homed in on the value of the private rental sector and says it is crucial to have a “thriving” PRS.

Adding to the confusion, taxes are being added left, right and centre in the buy-to-let sector, and these expenses will no doubt be passed from landlord to tenant, making it even more difficult for those attempting to take a first step on the property ladder to save for a deposit.

Speaking of deposits, it seems that the high-LTV market was depleted somewhat in August, as highlighted in our cover feature. Coupled with the planned ending of the Help to Buy 2 scheme in December, this will make it even more difficult for FTBs to access the market, particularly in areas with a heftier price tag.

Now is the time for brokers to come into their own by helping newbies to navigate the complexities of the market and shining a light on the products that are accessible to them, when their prospects look bleak.

Overall, it seems that the market is riding the wave of uncertainty, with the CML reporting the highest level of lending in August for nine years, at £22.5bn.

It is also predicted by those in the know that intermediary mortgage sales, which currently account for two-thirds of the market, are set to dominate even further. No surprises there as, in the midst of economic uncertainty, everybody needs advice.