UK mortgage lenders braced for further interventions despite market growth cooling

Taylor Scott International News

Mortgage lenders and brokers expect further interventions by the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) despite market growth cooling, according to new research. According to the latest survey by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) some 55% of intermediary mortgage lenders and 40% of brokers are expecting further intervention. The findings come as the first FPC recommendations; the interest rate stress test against a 3% base rate increase for borrowers, and a 15% cap for lenders on the volume of new loans above 4.5 times loan to income (LTI ), take effect across the mortgage market this month. IMLA’s research reveals lenders and brokers are in agreement that the 3% stress test will have the biggest impact of the two measures. Some 54% of brokers and 26% of lenders believe this will have a high impact, compared with just 34% of brokers and 11% of lenders who feel the same about the cap on high LTI loans. Following the implementation of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) in April and the FPC recommendations in its Financial Stability Report in June, IMLA’s research found that industry optimism over the mortgage market recovery has cooled. Just 44% of lenders and 41% of brokers feel market conditions were improving in the third quarter of 2014, down from 100% of lenders and 90% of brokers in the first quarter of 2014. Just 3% of brokers felt conditions were worsening in Q1, but 45% took this view in the third quarter and the proportion that felt lending volumes were growing faster than expected dropped from 87% to 31% among lenders from the first to the third quarters and from 60% to 45% among brokers. Concerns remained over the housing market with the latest findings showing 31% of lenders and 38% of brokers believing house price growth was unsustainable, up from 13% and 25% in the first quarter. However, subsequent data from national house price indices show that the monthly growth of house prices has since slowed. ‘These findings show the industry is well aware that its recovery will be closely monitored in the interests of maintaining economic and financial stability. The announcement that the FPC is considering loan to value (LTV) limits shows it remains vigilant,’ said Peter Williams, executive director for the IMLA. ‘But recent changes, including MMR, have already had a calming effect on activity and the full effects are still to emerge. IMLA’s research has clearly shown that some would-be borrowers are not passing initial broker checks which have been tightened to fully reflect the lender assessments that follow,’ he explained. ‘While caution is needed for the good of consumers and the economy, this applies to regulation as well as lending. Market interventions have been reasonable to date, but an immediate push for further regulation would be excessive, especially when house price growth appears to be slowing,’ he added. Using credit policies to compensate for weak supply in the housing market can have a major impact on who can… Continue reading →

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