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Dispelling the rumour mill on residential survey delays – Countrywide

by: Nigel Stockton
  • 06/05/2015
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Dispelling the rumour mill on residential survey delays – Countrywide
I have read with increasing incredulity the comments from ill-informed brokers that we are going to be facing long delays for residential surveys after the general election.

It’s the old adage of never letting the facts get in the way of a good rumour.It looks increasingly unlikely that the overall gross mortgage market is going to close 2015 at £220-£225bn. It may limp there in the last few months of the year – there is evidence in the CML’s data for February that overall lending may increase by 10% at the most in 2015, compared to 2014, which would be a total of £225bn.

But, just because some brokerages have seen lending increase 10% to 15% so far this year, that doesn’t mean that the whole of the mortgage market is. Look at the latest CML forecast, they are talking about ‘subdued’ lending, so what exactly are these surveyors supposed to be valuing?

With the exception of part of Q2 2014, surveyor availability was excellent in 2014 and lending reached £205bn without too many issues.

The largest surveying firms, including Countrywide, have invested further in their surveying capability after the issue with capacity in 2013 when activity in the housing market started to pick up. These firms are able to cope with more than 2014 volumes and this adds to the confidence that there will be fewer problems.

The London residential housing market is manageable at present. This is, historically, the location at which any shortages have shown themselves. Sufficient capacity remains in place for the remainder of the UK.

Finally, I would add that all of the large surveying firms are planning for a £230bn to £240bn gross mortgage market in 2016/17.

As someone who has worked for a lender, given the capacity experiences of a few years ago, I would be insuring against any risk by making sure that the surveying firms I work with had sufficient capacity to cope with my work even in the busiest of times.

Nigel Stockton is financial services director at Countrywide

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