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If Godiva loses self-cert case, ‘mortgage claims will take the place of PPI’

Last week, Mortgage Strategy reported that Godiva Mortgages was being sued in relation to a self-cert interest-only mortgage taken out in 2008 that the borrowers were unable to repay…

If Godiva loses this case, the floodgates will swing open for every interest-only self-cert borrower to challenge their requirement to pay the mortgage. And the race will be on for mortgage brokers with some years’ experience to switch career and become ambulance-chasing bite-the-hand-that-once-fed-them claims managers and earn lucrative fees for a few years.

Unfortunately for those of us with eyes on a more comfortable retirement, this case fundamentally cannot fail for the lender because it would challenge every mortgage over the past 20 years where borrowers claim they borrowed too much or had no way of paying it off at the end of a very short term, or where the lender had allowed them to falsify their incomes one way or another. The broker community will not be immune from the fallout, either.

The only good news in the event of such a process is that payment protection claims would cease overnight. Mortgages are much bigger fish to fry and the pond would be huge.

Andy Wilson, Andy Wilson Financial Services

RICS’ forecast of flat market deemed no bad thing in uncertain times

A report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors out last week suggests a rise in tenant demand and a flat mortgage market for the near future…

The report issued by the RICS is sentiment based, so it provides us with a good snapshot of how surveyors view the market ‘from the coalface’.

The perspective of the members who responded in March appears to be that the market overall has remained steady, suggesting that transaction volumes have maintained their current levels so far this year with the ongoing paucity of stock matched by the level of buyer appetite in many areas of the UK.

This has translated into values remaining, for the most part, steady, albeit varying degrees of activity in some regions provide a slightly ‘patchy’ picture. London, of course, continues to operate under its own microcosm, but it seems that RICS members feel that buyer sentiment in the city has gently started to return over the past four months, suggesting a measured degree of optimism in terms of values and volumes in the capital later in the year.

Over in the rental sector, the RICS report suggests that tenant demand continues to rise in most areas, albeit at more modest levels than previously, but this has been matched by a decrease in available lettings stock, leading to the ongoing dynamic of rents holding at their current levels or increasing where supply is more scarce.

The fact that the RICS anticipates that rental stock levels will decline further over the next few months is in line with other industry bodies, which recognise that the impact of both lending legislation and government intervention in terms of taxation on landlords is now beginning to filter through into the market.

So no surprises here, and this is along the lines of what we’ve come to expect over the past few months.

The ‘take-out’ of the RICS survey is perhaps that the market has found a level that, unless consumer sentiment changes radically, could form the basis of a ‘flat’ market over the coming months.

This in itself is perhaps not a negative situation, because a calm and steady picture overall would benefit many, particularly given current political and economic factors.

Brian Murphy, Mortgage Advice Bureau

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