View more on these topics

60 seconds with…Marcus Radcliffe

Managing director, Gateway Surveyors

How is the surveying sector faring in the credit crunch?
There have been a number of casualties in the past couple of years due to steep rises in professional indemnity insurance premiums and reduced volumes, particularly in remortgaging. Some established firms and smaller local outfits have been unable to survive.

Big corporate panel managers have had to hold onto work volumes to keep their own surveyors busy at the expense of smaller local firms. Of course, some established firms had extensive exposure to the sub-prime market and these have suffered badly. There’s a danger this will result in a lack of supply of surveyors as the market recovers in the next few years.

What have been the biggest changes?
Lenders’ emphasis has changed from using valuations to drive mortgage sales to controlling risk. Valuation panels have been cut and the lack of lenders in the market has concentrated more power in the hands of corporate panel managers with large inhouse teams.

What’s your prediction for house prices this year?
I expect growth of between 2% and 3% if supply and demand remain consistent and the Bank of England base rate stays at 0.5%. But a lot will also depend on the outcome of the general election, the health of the mortgage market and unemployment trends. Price growth is subject to location and national statistics can be distorted in times of low transaction volumes.

Did house prices fall as much as expected?
No, but nobody expected the base rate to drop to 0.5% as quickly as it did. A lower number of properties coming onto the market coupled with fewer transactions helped to maintain asking prices.

What’s in store for the surveying market this year?
There will continue to be a focus on risk management and pressure on pricing. Volumes will remain low so the traditional model of a large business with a fully employed workforce will evolve into a mixture of part-time and full-time surveyors.

But provided robust risk management processes are in place lenders should not fear this development.

I’ll also be interested to see what happens with Home Information Packs, and if Home Condition Reports or single surveys come back into play.

Interview by christine toner


Conti sees 48% increase in go aheads

Overseas mortgage specialist Conti has seen its busiest month for almost a year in terms of mortgage ‘go aheads’, the point where prospective buyers take their mortgage quotes through to the application stage.



Coreco Group’s Andrew Montlake takes a tumble down a restaurant slide in Austria Can you put the boot in to your nearest and dearest to win this super-stylish pen? Submit a witty caption for the photo above and you will be automatically entered into our prize draw. Remember, the funnier it is, the more likely […]

Ashley Cole: Cable compares the crestfallen striker with the PM begging for another chance

That Cable guy seems to know the score

Give rent-a-quote Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor Vince Cable his due, he and his party cohorts knew the economy would crash back in 2000. Addressing the faithful at his party’s last conference before the election Cable told his audience this prophetic moment occurred when 10 years ago “a group of us Lib Dem activists fought the […]

Deal with defunct Network Data costs Manchester dear

Manchester Building Society has lost £2.5m due to the collapse of Network Data Holdings after it sold its broking arm to the network. In 2008 the society disposed of its loss-making subsidiary Mort-gage Broking Services Limited to Network Data Holdings in exchange for shares in the network. But Network Data went into administration in 2009 […]

Why we all need to back the housing underdog

The UK loves an underdog. There is something irresistible about the story of the little guy standing up to the established players and leaving them with a bloody nose, whether it is Henry Cooper putting Muhammad Ali on the mat or the Wallabies trouncing the Kiwis in rugby. At the Conservative Party conference, LendInvest championed […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up