HomeLoanMortgageMarket Watch: What an impressive industry

Market Watch: What an impressive industry

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Andrew MontlakeIt all feels a bit déjà vu at the moment, doesn’t it?

Entering the winter months wondering if the dreaded bug will cause havoc once more, mucking up Christmas plans or that holiday everyone desperately needs, while Bojo continues to bluster around.

In fact, I wonder if Peppa Pig is available for the role of prime minister? I reckon if her name was on the ballot she would stand a bloomin’ good chance. Mummy Pig would be a brilliant home secretary and Daddy Pig would be ace as housing minister — he does love reading books about concrete, after all. As for young George, a chancellor in the making, I’d wager.

All jokes aside, we really are in a very different position from 12 months ago. Our industry is fortunate to have had a damn fine year and we go into 2022 with pipelines, a sector that is very much open for business and lenders having reversed a lot of their Covid policies.

It is time to put on our positive pants permanently

Furlough has ended without the big unemployment bang some were concerned about and, as a result, house prices show no signs of dropping significantly as they continue to defy gravity.

Millions are now double or even treble jabbed and there is a quiet determination to go into 2022 and make it work.

There is still so much pent-up demand in the housing sector and no shortage of buyers who need or want to move. We are also on the cusp of an extremely busy remortgage market with a huge number of rates rolling off over the coming months.

We have new lenders, new products and a whole new generation of potential customers.

The Mortgage Industry Mental Health Charter has been an excellent initiative with a wealth of great material

As an industry we have once again proved we are resilient, and we continue to make sure that our clients get the exceptional quality of advice and service they want and need.

Chilled out

Despite the fact inflation is still soaring and getting close to 5%, the Bank of England seems pretty chilled. The last vote did not show it was wavering on the course of action to leave rates unchanged, and as far as mortgage products are concerned any initial rise is now priced in.

What is interesting is that, in the money markets, it seems all the initial panic about rate rises has subsided as even they appear to have started winding down for Christmas. Three-month Libor has completely chilled out and dropped back down to 0.10% while three-month Sonia is sipping Prosecco in the corner and has relaxed back to 0.16%.

It is OK to mix personal and company brands

Swap rates, meanwhile, are smoking a cigar out the window and watching the world go by.

Since the last column:

2-year money is down 0.16% at 1.07%

3-year money is down 0.12% at 1.20%

5-year money is down 0.10% at 1.21%

10-year money is down 0.14% at 1.12% ?

As we enter the home straight of the year, it is important, as always, to take stock and learn from the things we have done well and the areas we can do better. These periods of reflection are always so valuable, whatever job you are doing.

Like everyone else this past year, I have learned a lot about myself, the people I work with and our business. Whether it’s how I flip between Imposter Syndrome and acting with absolute clarity to achieve a goal or vision I am passionate about, despite what others may say or think; or whether decisions could have been made better or more quickly. There is always something we can learn and improve upon.

We are starting to see more innovation; some new companies coming forward with tech solutions that actually help

Likewise, there are many things we could do better as a sector.

We could do more to promote a positive perception of our industry to consumers. To make sure our voices on social media are used to show what an exceptional bunch of hard-working people we are and how we look after our clients, rather than using it as a public battle ground or to say just how much our industry is broken.

We could do more to support the wellbeing of our colleagues. Covid has highlighted the need to empathise more with other people’s experiences and improve our wellbeing by providing a range of support, or simply by listening.

In the money markets, it seems all the initial panic about rate rises has subsided

We could do more to help create the next generation of advisers — one that is both equal and diverse.

Looking at wider issues, why are we still talking about mortgage prisoners, an issue that is becoming more pronounced as we move into a potentially higher interest rate environment?

While pressure is being put on the regulator and lenders to solve this, I would say, as with the cladding scandal, it is something central government should be helping to fix a lot more quickly, rather than trying to apportion the blame elsewhere.

Authentic approach

Despite this, it is perhaps more important to forget the bad and celebrate the good. Think of all the fabulous things all of you have achieved this year and take a moment to be grateful for them.

For every negative voice there are loads of positive ones, connecting with a whole new generation of consumers on a range of social media, showing it is OK to mix personal and company brands for a more authentic approach. These are people who are not afraid to put themselves out there and talk about their issues and their passion for helping others to achieve their aims. Authenticity always resonates.

We are on the cusp of an extremely busy remortgage market with a huge number of rates rolling off over the coming months

The Mortgage Industry Mental Health Charter has been an excellent initiative with a wealth of great material. We are now openly talking about mental health, diversity, equality, equity and a host of issues we previously swept under the carpet, encouraging new voices to take the stage without fear, knowing they will now be heard. We seem more determined than ever to effect real, lasting change for the benefit of all.

We are starting to see more innovation; some new companies coming forward with tech solutions that actually help. We navigated our way through the stamp duty holiday with aplomb — conveyancers, take a bow — and we have been dealing with a load of regulatory proposals and changes that the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has been fighting on our behalf, with some nice successes.

In fact, there are always more positives than negatives. It is time to put on our positive pants permanently and manifest the future we all truly deserve.

We really are in a very different position from 12 months ago

Finally, the seasonal send-off. To our lender and insurance partners, we recognise how hard you have all worked since the pandemic broke. You have helped to keep the market open for business in extreme circumstances and, on behalf of all brokers represented here, we salute you, your managers, your business development managers, your telephony staff and your admin colleagues, who have all performed admirably.

To you, dear brokers, who never cease to amaze, delight, challenge, contribute, go the extra mile, inspire and help. Your passion is my passion and I salute you.

Have a restful and enjoyable holiday season. Remember what is important in life and have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Hero to Zero

Of course, it’s you — who else? You have earned a break. Chillax

Ami — (biased, I know) for the phenomenal amount of work it has got through, fighting all our corners

Nationwide’s Deposit Unlock scheme and Kensington’s long-term mortgages — the right thinking

New FCA proposals on fees that seem to indicate an error has been made that would see small firms facing higher costs

The continuation of the struggle for mortgage prisoners and those with cladding. There must be a central solution

Covid — it is still with us. Be safe

Finopulse

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Finopulse.
Publisher: Andrew Montlake

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