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Editor’s Note: Start as you mean to go on

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.



NatWest Intermediary launches new website

NatWest Intermediary Solutions has launched a new website designed to improve navigation and content for brokers. The new website lets brokers submit business, tools including the lender’s LiveTALK instant messaging service and affordability calculator. The relaunched website also includes NatWest’s mortgage application tracker and its new A-Z of lending criteria. NatWest Intermediary Solutions head of […]

Landlord confidence at an all-time low: BM Solutions

Landlord confidence weakened in the last quarter of 2016, with the number of landlords wanting to buy properties dropping to record lows, according to BM Solutions. The quarterly BM Solutions survey found that 16 per cent of landlords wanted to expand their portfolio in Q4 2016, compared to 23 per cent in Q3 2016 and […]


NatWest to introduce retention proc fees

NatWest intermediary Solutions is to introduce retention proc fees for brokers for the first time later this year. The lender will offer 20bps on completion of each case on both residential and buy-to-let business after the introduction of the required technical changes. NatWest head of intermediary mortgages Graham Felstead says, “The topic of retention fees […]

A bull case for US equities?

Neptune video: a bull case for US equities?

Watch Felix Wintle, head of US equities at Neptune, discuss why he believes US equities are in a structural bull market and the key factors that can drive the S&P 500 higher.

In the video, Wintle addresses the following:

• The US market and why — despite equities rising from 2009 — he believes the structural bull market only started in 2013
• Key economic and corporate factors that can drive the S&P 500 higher
• Investment themes and sectors offering exposure to the domestic recovery

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Pension Wise — now taking calls…

Those with decent-length memories will recall that in the 2014 Budget statement George Osborne announced the new (and entirely unexpected) pension freedoms. The new rules come fully into force in less than two weeks.


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