These are just the latest high profile examples of a trend that may have passed you by, given the wider turmoil in the market.
In the past 18 months, small and medium-sized players such as Lexicon and Habitus have been folding virtually on a weekly basis.
There are obvious reasons for this. Valuation instructions are estimated to be 70% lower than at the start of the crunch, and the fall for some firms must have been even greater as lenders have reduced their panels.
Industry consultant Jonathan Cornell hit the nail on the head in Mortgage Strategy recently when talking about a company closure, commenting that with brokers not able to instruct surveys, the firm found the going tough.
But the corollary of this must be that lenders – that control some 95% of instructions – had also stopped supporting the firm.
Lenders have their reasons for withdrawing support. For example, they have understandable concerns about business robustness and professional indemnity cover.
Insurers are playing it tough with valuers, raising premiums or even withdrawing cover.
So income down, costs up, PI cover limited – it’s a perfect storm. Even in the unlikely event of a quick market upturn, expect more casualties.