With the end of the year approaching, Mortgage Strategy has compiled the ten most-read articles of 2017.
From mortgage rate changes to proc fee introductions to regulatory overhaul, 2017 was certainly not short of big issues, and you can revisit the biggest of the biggest here.
The first story of our top ten is the news that the The Mortgage Works planned to re-enter limited company buy-to-let with a pilot scheme.
The lender had previously offered the category in 2011, and said the pilot was a reaction to the “growing professionalisation” of the buy-to-let market.
Another buy-to-let story, this article from January detailed the first of two big regulatory changes to the buy-to-let market, with the second shake-up coming in October (and also featuring in this top ten list).
This piece was a roundtable discussion from industry bigwigs on what the new stress-testing requirements would mean for the sector.
This was one of the first big stories of the new year, and set the scene for a major shift in lenders beginning to pay retention proc fees that continued throughout the year.
Now, almost all the large lenders pay the fees or have pledged to do so within the next quarter.
Perhaps a big theme of 2018 will be lenders beginning to increase retention proc fee levels, following broker feedback that levels of 0.20 per cent are miserly.
This year saw the fortunes of equity release booming, and a major chapter in this story was the nation’s second-largest lender throwing its hat into the ring.
In November, Nationwide became the only current high street lender to operate in this market. The move was evidently well-received by brokers, who read the story in huge numbers.
The 30 September PRA buy-to-let changes caught many brokers and landlords napping, as a result of many lenders being slow to react and a lack of intermediary education.
Here, in a story published just weeks before the changes came in, Mortgages for Business chief executive David Whittaker hammered this point home in indefatigable style.
This piece, published in January, looked at the early stages of landlord-only lenders beginning to diversify as the overall buy-to-let market looked set to contract.
The rest of 2017 saw more of this happening, but also saw many building societies look to diversify too.
Regulation stories are always among our most-read, and this is a good example.
The Bank of England announced it planned to change mortgage affordability rules to prevent loosening underwriting standards, meaning some lenders would have to raise interest coverage ratios.
Mortgage Strategy spotted and published the story first, and the piece was well-read accordingly.
It is a tenet of journalism that if a headline asks a question then the answer will be ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ but never ‘yes’.
For this piece, published in June, the answer was ‘maybe’. Industry experts were undecided on the future direction of house prices, with some believing a downturn was coming and others more sanguine.
Of course, what happened was a slow but cooling rise in UK house prices with the notable exception of London.
The popularity of this article speaks volumes about the fevered interest around the topic of Bank of England base rate rises this year.
The article reports the views of a former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member, who also predicted the UK could lose about 3 per cent of GDP by 2020 as a result of Brexit.
Another well-read article focusing on predictions, our most popular piece this year analysed which direction mortgage rates would follow. This article was published back in February, when the market was accustomed to ever-falling mortgage rates.
But this article predicted that rates would begin to rise in 2017. Fortunately for Mortgage Strategy – but unfortunately for consumers – this prediction came to pass, and it seems the days of rock-bottom rates are a thing of the past.