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Wave goodbye to promising recruits

Whatever your views of the government’s Stamp Duty move, at least it had one positive effect – ending speculation about the tax, which has had a negative effect on house sales.

In terms of the other measures proposed in Labour’s mortgage rescue package, I don’t have a handle on what is going to happen and I’m not sure anyone else does either.

But I feel sorry for consumers who completed purchases on September 2, as the Stamp Duty changes came into force the following day.

Although I don’t imagine hordes of borrowers were affected, it seems unfair to me.

Of course, it also means we could see a rush of completions when the temporary increase to the Stamp Duty threshold comes to an end next September.

Again, I don’t believe the numbers involved will be huge because the mortgage market is unlikely to have improved enough by then but it could cause a bit of a bubble.

I went to a conference recently and found myself chatting to a chap I first met in the Spring. Back then he had recently passed his exams to become a broker and was full of enthusiasm. I became self-employed at around the same time so we compared notes about our experiences of going it alone. I had an industry track record and a number of professional contacts behind me, as well as the reassurance of savings in the bank.

I was also armed with the knowledge that even in the good times a new business can take two years to become established in the mortgage market.

He had just set up as a sole trader working from home. Perhaps he could have planned his move into self-employment better but when we first met his excitement was almost tangible.

As it turned out, the two of us could have chosen better times to become self-employed brokers – to say it’s been a difficult year for the industry would be an understatement.

For him, the downturn came as a shock. It’s been too much of a mountain to climb so he’s looking for an alternative way to pay the bills.

I tried to encourage him but it’s likely that his enthusiasm will be lost to our industry. Sadly he won’t be the last casualty.


Rescue Mission

US moves to save Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stand in stark contrast to our government’s feeble efforts to resuscitate the market, says Christine Toner

SMS offers extra commission

Solent Mortgage Services is offering brokers commission fees of up to £50 or an additional 10% on business submitted via its online portal Porthole and its Solent Enquiry to Application System.

BoE ignores liquidity pleas

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association has warned that appeals to the Bank of England to restore liquidity are continuing to fall on deaf ears.

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Three questions for employers…

The Family and Childcare Trust’s annual survey has been widely reported in the media and the two headline figures were these: the average cost of a nursery place for a child under two has risen by 33 per cent since 2010; and the costs have risen by five per cent in a single year.


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