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Hope and fear mingle in our market survey

Although many 2012 housing and mortgage forecasts are downbeat, our recent survey does suggest some optimism remains.

The survey indicated that brokers were seeing good levels of remortgage business in Q4 2011 and there was considerable optimism about the buy-to-let market. Most thought mortgage volumes would echo last year and that brokers’ market share would be sustained.

While some might dismiss this as the voice of vested interests, lending statistics suggest a modest upturn in activity and there is even evidence to suggest a double dip recession might not materialise.

So there may be grounds for modest optimism. But the findings also show that almost 80% of brokers had been unable to source a mortgage for one or more clients in the preceding three months.

This highlights the challenges borrowers and brokers face and its impact on the market. Lenders are working hard to increase volumes but there is caution, as is shown by tightening up of interest-only.

The Mortgage Market Review consultation ends on March 30 and the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association will be making recommendations on it.

The MMR offers a common sense approach but may reduce who can get a mortgage, especially in the near-prime market.

The proposal for almost all sales to be advised also means the broker sector needs qualified individuals. We will continue to make the case for the role of brokers and the importance of the advice they offer.

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