View more on these topics

Don’t bank on Brown to help buyers

It’s not long now before Gordon Brown makes the short move from 11 to 10 Downing Street. The burning question is whether this will have an impact on the housing market. I’m not optimistic because Brown has not done much for the market as chancellor.

A few years ago, Mortgage Strategy launched its Step up Stamp Duty campaign and I handed in the petition to 11 Downing Street. Whether Brown looked at it is another matter. In the end, he did no more than tinker with Stamp Duty, increasing the lower threshold to £125,000. This had a minimal impact as you’d be hard pressed to find a property for less than this.

So it’s not surprising that Nationwide is calling on Brown to help home buyers by tackling the problems of affordability and rising house prices when he becomes Prime Minister. It points out that in the past decade, affordability has deteriorated significantly as house prices have increased by 215%.

Nationwide is not alone in arguing for Stamp Duty to keep pace with rising house prices and calling on the Prime Minister and his chancellor to link Stamp Duty to house price inflation.

Another area where Brown has angered people is with his tightening up of loopholes on Inheritance Tax. The lower limit is now £300,000. Because of rising house prices, an increasing number of people are having to pay 40% IHT bills – no longer only the wealthy.

A further failure of Brown’s was Professor David Miles’ report which was effectively buried after much hype. GMAC-RFC took the brave step of launching a 25-year mortgage as recommended in the report but this was short-lived. Other lenders have tried since, but there doesn’t seem to be much appetite for this type of deal.

But Brown has achieved some success. His decision to establish the Monetary Policy Committee has helped keep the base rate at low levels. But rates are starting to creep up, so perhaps the cracks are starting to show here too.

On a different matter, Tesco’s plans for world domination are hitting problems – in Glasgow at least. The supermarket giant has applied for planning permission for one of its villages which will include houses, probably with Tesco mortgages available. But Glaswegians are up in arms about it and Tesco has accused protesters of being aggressive. I find it hard to believe that normally chilled out Glas-wegians are being anything other than charming.


Tomorrow unveils online system

Tomorrow has launched an online quotation system for lifetime mortgages. Brokers will be able to get quotes 24 hours a day and track the progress of their clients’ cases from application to completion. It is also reducing its minimum initial advance from £25,000 to £15,000.

Pink enhances GI proposition

Pink Homes Loans has enhanced its general insurance proposition by offering its members more providers to choose from. It found that 90% brokers surveyed stated that they prefer to have the choice of using both of Pinks general insurance providers; first4cover and Paymentshield, whereas, just one in ten wanted to use a single provider. Phil […]

Only the fittest networks will survive

When regulation came into force in 2004 there were over 80 networks. Only a third survive and this number will fall again as they are forced to expand, consolidate or die, says Richard Coulson

L&E poised to launch into Irish mortgage market

London & European is on the cusp of launching into the Irish market in anticipation of a boom in remortgaging activity across the Irish Sea.Last week, the title insurance and conveyancing firm un-veiled plans to launch op-erations in the Republic of Ireland, where it aims to gain an edge by offering its services more cheaply […]

Time for a new approach to asset allocation

Trevor Greetham, RLAM’s head of multi asset, introduces the recentlylaunched RL GMAPs. Asset allocation has become an increasingly difficult challenge for investors and advisers in the years since the financial crisis. Sometimes violent price swings in stock and commodity markets coupled with the collapse in the rate of interest on bonds have made it harder […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up