As consumers find mortgage products increasingly difficult to navigate, and lenders face tougher rules, who ya gonna call?
By their very nature, mortgages have always been multifaceted, in terms of both scale and financial commitment. But should they be so complex in the modern age?
Tougher lending rules have been introduced more recently, changing the way lenders assess affordability, which inevitably has generated an additional layer of complexity. On the flip side, though, technology is constantly evolving to help simplify both access to information and the mortgage journey as a whole.
So how does this combination affect the consumer? According to recent research from Go Compare, mortgages were considered the most difficult product to switch for the third consecutive year, with only 45 per cent of people saying the process had been straightforward. This represented a 16 per cent year-on-year decrease.
However, in terms of the adviser market, mortgage accessibility hit a post-MMR high in the second half of 2016, with almost a third of intermediaries (30 per cent) encountering no problem sourcing a mortgage for any type of client, according to data from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association. This figure was up from 26 per cent in the first half of the year, and was double the rate recorded a year earlier for H1 2015.
Both sets of data are positive news for the intermediary community. And perhaps they provide some form of answer to the complexity question itself.
There is little doubt that increasing numbers of lenders are relying heavily on intermediary partners and their distribution channels.
The specialist skillset and knowledge bank accrued by advisers are more prized assets than ever in filtering through additional regulatory demands.
So perhaps we should shift the complexity issue to one side and aim a more pertinent question towards potential buyers: who can best help them to meet their mortgage needs?
Thankfully, the answer remains far clearer.
Sidney Wager is intermediary partnerships director at Barclays