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Call for concerted shout from rooftops on the need for fair proc fees

On the call for higher procuration fees to be paid to brokers, made at the Financial Services Exhibition in Glasgow…

Proc fees have barely moved since 2007/08. Within that timescale, the broker workload on behalf of the lender has increased year-on-year. There are no excuses.

What we need now is a concerted effort – from all parties in the intermediary sector – to work on this issue and get an end result that reflects the input brokers have in the process.

0.2 per cent on retention deals when we still have to complete the same level of compliance checks as if the client was remortgaging?

The time for brokers to be ‘thankful’ for 50 per cent of the proc fee based on 2007/08 payments has passed – a while ago, in fact.

Why isn’t this issue being shouted from the rooftops?

Stuart Gregory

Lower mortgage lending ‘not a sign of all-around doom and gloom’…

On the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ latest data, which found that mortgage lending was down by 8 per cent in February compared to January…

Although the CML’s estimate for mortgage lending in February is lower than January’s figure, it isn’t all doom and gloom. The market is still in a fairly healthy position, up on February last year.

The main focus for brokers now is to help those millions who have fallen onto SVRs. There is a real opportunity to enable these people to get a better deal and further increase the growth in the remortgage market while interest rates
are low.

There is always speculation regarding a potential increase in the base rate – but currently there also exists an air of caution, among both consumers and those that set policy.

Richard Pike

…and rise in CPI inflation is predicted to boost activity this year

Despite the decrease in lending from January, first-time buyer activity, supported by government schemes, has still been strong, as has growth in remortgaging.

Overall, average house prices are expected to rise modestly this year, albeit with significant regional variance. Growth will probably occur outside the cooling capital market and more in regional centres such as Birmingham and Manchester.

There was no housing stimulus in the Budget, and estate agents forecast that completed home transactions will fall by 11 per cent this year. However, I still expect March’s gross lending to be slightly higher than February’s, although it will not reach the heady height of 2016 that was driven largely by impending buy-to-let changes.

Of course, one thing could change this. The recent jump in CPI inflation to 2.3 per cent is the first above-target rise since November 2013. No doubt this will put pressure on the MPC to consider rate rises.

If that happens, it will mean higher monthly payments for people on trackers and SVRs, and lenders will pull the cheapest deals.

With this mood music playing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an unusually higher spike in mortgage activity over the coming months as people look to bag the best deals while they’re still available.

Henry Woodcock

Call for more help for FTBs – ‘the driving force of the property market’

On the latest ONS figures showing that house prices rose by 6.3 per cent in January…

These figures show that the struggles of those raising a deposit for their first home are likely to continue in 2017.

First-time buyers are hit hardest by rising house prices. The latest Aldermore index found that 94 per cent of them thought getting on the property ladder was hard, and almost half (46 per cent) that the issue of rising prices should be addressed.

As FTBs are the driving force of the property market, more needs to be done to tackle the supply issue.

Charles McDowell

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