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The mortgage market can look back on 2012 with a mixture of fondness and frustration, with confidence see-sawing throughout but I confidently predict that 2013 will be the year of the broker

Andrew Montlake MS blog

In the markets, three-month Libor is still wedged at 0.52 per cent, while swap rates have dipped again.

  • 1-year money is down 0.03 at 0.505 per cent
  • 2-year money is down 0.04 at 0.66 per cent
  • 3-year money is down 0.06 at 0.72 per cent
  • 5-year money is down 0.03 at 0.995 per cent

As we stand on the threshold of a bright, fresh New Year we can look back at 2012 with a mixture of fondness and frustration.

When I first put finger to keyboard half a century of columns ago there was much to look forward to. But broker confidence this year has been up and down more often than Countrywide financial services director Nigel Stockton’s weight.

While the UK basked in the sunshine and glory of a myriad of sporting successes, the mortgage industry stuttered after a promising start.

We have seen the demise of interest-only, lenders introducing a raft of underwriting criteria designed to reduce business levels during the pre-Mortgage Market Review paranoia, a double dip, banking institutions lurching from one controversial episode to another with Libor rigging, Mexican drug cartels and the sudden realisation that branch staff targets may not quite be in the consumers best interests.

While the Government has made more policy U-turns than PMS group chairman John Malone has made retirement speeches, they have at least made an effort by releasing a clutch of policy initiatives to try to help the beleaguered housing market and get lenders to lend. Weve now got NewBuy and FirstBuy, but it only seems to have finally hit a nerve with the Funding For Lending Scheme.

It does seem that this FLS has had a profound effect, which will continue to be one of the main driving forces in 2013. Let’s not forget Santander were talking about lending £10bn or so less before the introduction of this scheme and are now looking to increase.

In fact, if all lenders deliver the kind of uplifts they have been talking about then we will see around £400 billion of lending next year – okay, just kidding, sadly the reality is that it will be substantially less that half that amount.

But clearly there is work to do to cut through the marketing drivel – to lenders out there reading this all brokers really want is a level playing field and sensible lending policies that enable us to get on with the job and support lenders.

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has strengthened its base with a solid year and should be congratulated by us all for its work on the MMR as well as the other thousands of battles it undertakes on your behalf behind closed doors.

In product news this week there has been the usual raft of changes but highlights are Aldermore which has reduced rates by up to 0.8 per cent, Leeds has a nice three -year fixed priced at 3.69 per cent up to 85 per cent LTV and Newcastle has introduced a 95 per cent LTV product priced at 5.99 per cent with no fees up to £350,000.

The good news is that 2013 looks extremely promising indeed and while some of the old dinosaurs will struggle to meet the demands of the new environment, there is a whole new breed of brokers and future business leaders who will prosper embracing technology and different ways of leading and running successful brokerages.

You heard it here first – 2013 will be the year of the broker.

Heroes

All of you, the broker on the ground, whether a one man band or member of a large firm who has successfully battled through another tough year. Rewards will come.

Villains

Those who have tried and failed yet again to dampen the intermediary market and temper our spirits. We are here to stay, get used to it.

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