Intermediaries growing more confident in the market

Mortgage brokers are becoming increasingly bullish about the state of the mortgage market – a promising sign that the flow of transactions is expected to improve this year.

Some 83% said they are confident in the market outlook, up from just 69% in October, the findings from IMLA’s Mortgage Market Tracker found.

Kate Davies, executive director of IMLA, said: “It is great news that confidence is returning to the mortgage industry after a challenging year, and that intermediaries are feeling positive not just about the future of their own businesses, but the wider market in which they operate. We will watch closely to see whether sentiment continues to improve if inflation carries on its downward trend.

“It is interesting to note that the level of buy-to-let business remained broadly consistent throughout 2023, despite negative headlines. The slight drop in first-time buyer numbers was perhaps to be expected given the ongoing cost of living crisis and the increased challenge of saving for a deposit, on top of wider affordability constraints.”

“These latest results are a testament to the resilience of intermediaries who have been operating in difficult conditions to secure the right solutions for their customers.

“Competition in the market is now lively, and lenders are confident that mortgage advisers will continue to work hard to find the most suitable mortgages for their clients from a vast array of products on offer. As a result, IMLA predicts that intermediaries will account for 89% of all mortgage business written this year.”

Confidence levels in intermediaries’ own businesses were even higher, with 92% of intermediaries describing themselves as confident in the outlook for their own firms in Q4 2023.

The average number of mortgage cases placed by intermediaries on an annual basis increased to 95 per year, compared to 92 in Q3. Mortgage brokers placed an average of 103 cases, while IFAs reported an average of 62.

Residential lending continued to accounted for roughly two-thirds of intermediaries’ business, buy to let around a quarter and specialist about one in 14 cases. The proportion of buy-to-let cases placed remained roughly the same as the previous three quarters of 2023.