You go away for a few weeks and don’t expect much to change in your absence. Oh, how naïve!
A month is a long time in the mortgage industry and it seems you can’t take your eye off the ball for even a minute for fear of missing something.
While most in the sector finished last year less scathed than first expected in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, the forecast for 2017 was less promising.
The pound was expected to fall to a 30-year-low this year as fears mounted that a ‘hard Brexit’ was in store, while the Bank of England warned us that it would take until 2020 for inflation to return to the Government’s targeted 2 per cent.
The mortgage industry was braced for a tough start to the year, partly in anticipation of further reluctance from borrowers in January – traditionally a quiet month anyway. But this foot-dragging was expected to increase as consumers awaited the infamous triggering of Article 50, which it was hoped would give some insight into the direction the economy would take once out of the EU.
Fast-forward a few weeks and the BoE is somewhat eating its words. The economy is expected to grow by 2 per cent this year, up from the earlier forecast of 1.4 per cent, with economist and MPC member Kristin Forbes admitting forecasts had been “too gloomy” for consumer spending post Brexit.
In the mortgage world, several lenders and brokers that I’ve spoken to in the past week have reported some of their best January figures for some time, which is heartening to hear.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Warnings have been issued that a sharp inflation is heading our way as businesses face rises in costs, and it’s premature to celebrate Brexit survival.
It’s crucial to prepare for the worst. But the word on the ground in the past week has been yet another tale of resilience in the mortgage industry. So here’s hoping for a continuation of the same throughout the year.