The findings revealed that 75% of brokers were encouraged and more confident about the mortgage market coming into the New Year, representing an increase of 6% compared with the previous quarter.
Continuing the upward trend of the previous two quarters, brokers are increasingly more confident about the intermediary sector, with an increase of 3% more brokers citing greater confidence in the industry, compared to the previous month. Many signaled increasing lower rates as a result of the funding for lending scheme as the main driver of the increase in overall confidence in the intermediary sector.
Ian Wilson, head of Halifax Intermediaries said: "It is encouraging to see increasing confidence in the sector over the last quarter. Whilst the economic outlook remains challenging, we are seeing a slight easing of funding pressures, leading to an increasing number of lenders reducing rates and launching new products to the market, providing further optimism."
The number of brokers confident in the performance of their own business/firm dipped slightly with a 2% quarterly decrease; however this quarter saw a greater proportion of brokers respond as being "very confident" since the survey began.
The more competitive rates being offered through 2012 saw the average number of cases being written per individual broker in the preceding 12 months, to 70.25 – up from 64.25 in 2011. In terms of the type of business being conducted, brokers are reporting that in the final quarter cases from homemovers and first time buyers remained consistent, with volumes down this quarter for remortgage and buy-to-let applications. . Overall, brokers reported an increase in the volume of specialist buy-to-let lending and remortgage activity last year (+17% and +1% respectively, compared to 2011).
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