Balance of positives outweighs negatives

As we reflect on Q1 2012, it’s fair to say there have been more positives than negatives in terms of activity and opportunities.

Some areas appear to have conjured up a bit of both. Interest rate changes have resulted in mixed reactions. The main negatives are for borrowers whose SVRs have been increased. But such moves have also brought much-needed remortgage activity for brokers.

The Stamp Duty holiday increased first-time buyer activity in Q1. One negative is that this could, or should, have been extended in the Budget. We will see how the market copes with any fall in mortgage demand. The NewBuy Guarantee scheme may help to bridge this gap and it will be worth monitoring uptake on this.

Q1 also saw buy-to-let underline its importance to the intermediary market through steady growth. Not much in the way of negatives here, but it highlights the need for brokers to demonstrate their understanding of this sector to secure more business.

A recent report from Connells Survey and Valuation went as far as saying the market saw its strongest start to a year since 2008. It suggested that the number of residential valuations in Q1 was 10% higher than in the previous quarter – a rise of 34% compared with the same period last year.

This is in no small part due to some of the positives I have outlined but opportunities in other areas exist and it will be interesting to see what positives and negatives hit the headlines in Q2.