2006 Dawns on a confident market

Just a year ago the mortgage market was facing an uncertain future. Out of mortgage regulation came a host of problems. However, today the industry couldn\'t be more different. Not only have problems been overcome, all sectors of the industry are more confident.

Much has been made of Gordon Brown’s decision to renege on placing residential properties in self-invested personal pensions. Although the reality is that they will have had little impact on brokers, which can’t be said for Home Information Packs. Let’s see whether the chancellor pulls a last-minute U-turn on those as well. Over the course of the next year, it will be interesting to see the government’s stance unfold. Nearly 1m a day is wasted on sales that fall through and HIPs will supposedly address these problems by providing information upfront.

Estate agents will make their mark when it comes to HIPs and setting the date back to June 2007 at least leaves 18 months to put a strategy in place.

Indications elsewhere show that despite profit concerns, activity in other areas is becoming more ferocious by the day. Specialist lending is one of those sectors where there has been a significant amount of movement. And this looks set to continue throughout 2006 as more companies aim to benefit from the UK mortgage market. Countrywide (US), for example, has moved closer to setting up a UK sub-prime lender by purchasing the remaining 30% stake in Global Home Loans.

Obviously, it would appear that the fears about regulation have not surfaced. Clearly a year has passed since regulation, and far from raising the barrier to entry, exactly the opposite appears to have happened.

Knowing the Financial Services Authority’s regulations have been in place for more than a year, providing the market with certainty and stability, has created attractive qualities for investors with an eye on becoming part of this dynamic market.

Finally, happy Christmas to all our readers and let’s hope we all enjoy a prosperous new year.