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Leader: Brokers have adapted well

This week’s issue of Mortgage Strategy takes a look back over the last 12 months which have been tumultuous.

In 2009, as the market was in freefall, the big stories were the collapse of major distributors like Network Data and The Mortgage Times Group. There’s been no comparable collapse in 2010. But the underlying cause of those collapses, the stagnant housing and mortgage market, has continued.

There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s been another depressing year for lending, with gross lending predicted to be near £137bn for 2010, down from the £143bn completed in 2009.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders’ latest figures show remortgaging year-on-year was down a massive 24% in October. And that’s hardly surprising when you consider we entered 2010 with the base rate at 0.5%. With the economy still so fragile, this looks unlikely to change any time soon.

Purchase figures are equally depressing. With so many would-be buyers locked out of the market, the UK seems to have replaced booming house prices with rampant rents.

And overall broker numbers have continued to decline. Some estimates put the current figure of intermediaries in the market at between 10,000 and 12,000, down two-thirds from the estimated 32,000 working at the height of the market.

So with lenders and distributors all predicting another static year, what can we feel positive about? Well, the reality is that if you can earn a comfortable living in this post-recession wasteland, you can survive anything.

The truth is that far from heading towards extinction mortgage brokers have shown themselves to be adaptable survivors. And long may that continue.

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