The trouble with specialist mortgages is that they are not easy to define. We all love a mental shortcut. Just think about the Spice Girls. They were successful because you could label them with five words: Ginger, Sporty, Scary, Baby, Posh.
It might be just me but the amount of jargon and acronyms in our industry is crazy. I recently experienced this trying to explain my job to friends.
"Surprise, surprise, the unexpected hits you between the eyes." So sang our Cilla for so many years that it surely couldn't have been a surprise to anyone that the programme was eventually taken off air.
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After implementation of the mortgage market review and various consultations on the Mortgage Credit Directive (for which we await the final rules), just before Christmas we received the latest tome from the Basel Committee in Switzerland.
Rather disappointingly, an outstanding action of the MMR was that it did not include the individual registration of mortgage brokers. It is unbelievable to many that this measure, which, uniquely, has almost unanimous support across the industry, has still not been implemented despite being talked about for many years.
It has perhaps gone a little bit quiet on the interest-only mortgages front. During 2013, interest-only mortgages were a hot topic - and at HML, we certainly haven't taken our foot off the pedal when it comes to customer contact campaigns.
This week Ipswich Building Society launched a new transitional lending programme open to all borrowers, not just our own. Some lenders have viewed borrowers who need to use transitional as ‘niche' and are classing them as a risky part of the market.
Following a year which has seen the Financial Conduct Authority implement the MMR, the biggest mortgage market shake up in 10 years, as well as taking over the reins of the consumer credit market, one might be forgiven for thinking the regulator has taken its eye of the ball when it comes to its other guidelines.
Our mortgage market this year faces a number of "headwinds" - to use a phrase that the Bank of England is fond of, but also will have the benefit of a number of "tailwinds" too. So, some things which will hold the market back, but others which will push it forwards.
As we enter 2015, many buy to let (BTL)landlords are considering their portfolio expansion plans and the underlying health of their lettings business. One in four landlords tell us that they derive a full time, profitable living from their property related investments, with the ‘tipping point' to professionalism occurring somewhere north of 11 properties.
The UK is short of homes and this is pushing up prices and making ownership for many an unlikely prospect. Over the last few years, governments have launched numerous initiatives in an attempt to stimulate house building and the broader economy.
Housing policy will be one of the key election issues for 2015, with the main parties certain to focus in on the general public's desire to see changes in the market.
Major world events come with their own abiding images that are inextricably linked to them. For the media they provide an immediate summation of the ‘story' and can be particularly hard-hitting, visceral and emotional - we are just weeks into 2015 and I'm sure we can all think of some pretty powerful images that seem to sum up the recent news agenda.
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