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What can the mortgage market expect in 2019?

The mortgage market saw a fair amount of product innovation last year and that it likely to continue into 2019. In particular, equity release and the later life lending market is set to grow further as the older population increases. ONS figures show that in 2017, around 18.2% of the UK population were aged 65 years or over, up from 15.9% in 2007; and it is projected to grow to 20.7% by 2027.

Bank of England base rate went up twice last year to end 2018 at 0.75% – the first rises in a decade – but will the rate go up again in 2019? It is unlikely there will be any movement until we know what is happening with Brexit and even then any increases will be small and steady.

House sales have fallen in the past two years and RICS believes sales volumes will weaken by around 5% in 2019. It also thinks house price growth will continue to fade in the first half of the year and come to a standstill by mid-2019 taking the annual figures to a static 0%. Others agree that house price growth will stagnate with national estate agent Jackson-Stops predicting an average increase of 1% this year and Strutt & Parker forecast 2.5% growth.

NAEA Propertymark reports that the number of house hunters registering with estate agents is down as is the supply of housing for sale. It says almost two thirds (62%) of estate agents think the trend of renovating rather than moving will continue this year.

We have seen new lenders come into the market and more are set to enter in 2019 and they have the advantage of starting their journey with new systems. Technological development is going to be even bigger this year and we will see its impact throughout the whole housing chain. From viewing houses in the comfort of your own home to the rise in digital brokers, improvements in mortgage applications, enhancements in the surveying process and conveyancing journey.

Fintechs will work even more closely with established banks, building societies and specialist lenders. And the impact of open banking, which is still in its infancy and is a year old this month, will accelerate as more people get to understand it.

It will be a turbulent year for the UK as it withdraws from the European Union. Competition among mortgage lenders will continue as interest rates remain low and mortgage lending is likely to tick along at similar or slightly higher levels to 2018.

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette