We have even seen a number of the now famous, if short-lived 1.99% loans.
The economic climate however remains challenging and it is still easy to become downhearted as we digest the daily diet of our economic woes. But there are reasons to believe that things are starting to improve here too, albeit from a very low base.
Recent commentary across a number of industry sources suggests a more positive outlook. Forgive the moment of self indulgence, but I am going to start with the mutual sector and mortgage lending last year.
In 2012, gross mortgage lending by building societies and other mutual lenders increased by 30% over 2012 to £30.7bn, according to Building Societies Association figures.
It is likely that this strong lending performance will be maintained into the first half of this year as the Funding for Lending Scheme starts to filter through to consumers and business.
Continuing on this positive theme, HMRC confirmed recently that housing transactions in 2012 reached their highest level for five years. This represents an additional 47,000 homes bought and sold compared to the previous year.
I don’t want to risk presenting a picture that all in the housing-market garden is rosy, but the facts are these:
1) There are more products available to borrowers with lower deposits than there were
2) Mortgage lending is increasing
3) Mutual lenders are open for business
So, there are some reasons to be slightly more cheerful as the snow starts to melt in a chilly 2013. It is likely that for many brokers’ clients, whatever their mortgage needs, if they are creditworthy and can afford the mortgage, a solution will be found with a mutual lender.
Paul Broadhead is head of mortgage policy at the BSA