The NatWest Intermediary Solutions’ index measures confidence across six market components. It found the overall index score rose 3.9 points from 62.2 in July 2014 to 66.1 in March 2015.
However, current sentiment is marginally below the level achieved in December 2013.
The survey measured the degree of confidence brokers had for six key market components: Demand for remortgaging; potential for house prices to rise; sufficient funding from lenders across all LTVs; first-time buyer affordability; and homeowners having sufficient equity in their existing properties to move.
Brokers were asked to rate each component out of 100, with a score of over 50 indicating a positive view and a score of under 50 indicating a negative outlook.
Sufficient funding from lenders across all LTVs saw the greatest increase and achieved its highest ever index score (+6.9) reflecting the number of mortgage deals currently on the market from lenders.
Interestingly, confidence about first-time buyer affordability has risen by 5.8 points since last July, despite reports to the contrary.
Graham Felstead (pictured), head of NatWest Intermediary Solutions, said: “It appears that the feel-good factor is definitely back in the market. The last 12 months have continued to remain buoyant despite the introduction of the MMR requirements and this is reflected by the fact that confidence in all the market components that we measure in this index have seen an increase. It is particularly interesting to see the marked improvement in the optimism for first-time buyer affordability and the demand for remortgaging.
“The improvement in perceptions about first-time buyer affordability shows that brokers and their customers have acclimatised to the post-MMR environment and that the continuation of government schemes and lenders support at the higher LTV end of the market has restored confidence. From our own experience, 2015 has so far carried on where 2014 left off with very high levels of intermediary mortgages being written.”