Confidence is rising among mortgage advisers for the year ahead and business will increase by 3.5% for the first quarter, according to the latest Paragon Mortgages Financial Adviser Tracking (FACT) Index.
The encouraging news follows what can only be described as a dower year, with general confidence levels among intermediaries dropping to 104.4 on the FACT Index from 109.7 last Spring. However, an optimistic outlook for the house sales market over 2001 and a record 12% increase in commission from mortgage lenders has boosted morale.
Commenting on the results, John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages, said: “Levels of confidence indexed throughout the year have mirrored the haphazard levels of activity in the house sales market during the same period. This makes it all the more interesting that the FACT Index shows rising forecasts for new mortgage business for next year.”
Base rate tracker mortgages were reported to be on the increase. Included in the index for the first time, this type of variable rate mortgage was reported to have gained a 15% market share. Endowments, on the other hand, were found to account for just 7% of new mortgage business – a dramatic decline from almost 50% three years ago.
A fall in fixed and capped rates from 39% to 32% was also recorded, with both categories of discount rates dropping too. Cashback mortgages followed a similar pattern, falling from 15% to 13% with discounts falling to 32% from 36%.
But according to Heron, the year ahead looks positive due to the renewed popularity of repayment and interest mortgages and the rising interest in base rate tracker products. He added: “This must augur well for the stability of house prices and the economy as a whole, provided there are no shocks from overseas.”