Welcome back, and a very happy New Year to you all!
It is always good to see the New Year in with a bang, and this year more than most the industry can really be said to have hit the ground running.
Now that the 31 December deadline has passed we are just waiting to see how many brokers actually passed the mortgage qualification in time and how many will have to re-sit, but the indications are that the number of qualified advisers is very positive. However, before we sit back and rest on our laurels it has quickly become clear that the industry is not standing still and activity in the housing market has accelerated into 2003, with little sign of a slowdown over the Christmas break. Lenders are already reporting high-levels of interest from borrowers, and trade bodies are again setting out their targets for the year.
But what does the year really hold in store for the mortgage industry? This is the time of year when economists and commentators traditionally make their 12 month predictions, but who are the key figures who are expected to shape the market themselves?
In this issue of Mortgage Solutions, and in the first listing of its kind, we suggest the top 20 individuals to watch this year. These are the people pulling the strings in the mortgage market, whether they are manipulating the economy or moving product design to the next level. Many of these people are already well known to the market, but there are some who only stepped into their roles late last year and some, such as Mervyn King, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, will not make their mark until later this year when they take-over from the present incumbent.
On the whole there is a mood of optimism, and not just from those now holding their mortgage qualification. The longer the boom goes on, it seems the more people believe that there will be a slowdown rather than a crash. Gross mortgage lending is still expected to increase substantially and even if interest rates do rise then brokers should still prosper as borrowers look to fix their mortgage against further rises.
But let’s not get complacent, statutory regulation is drawing closer and there is still much work to do.