Matthew Cumber is managing director of Countrywide Surveying Services
As we enter H2 2021, it’s been an eerily quiet few weeks with very little to report and everyone going about their business as usual. Yeah right.
England has been swept along on the Gareth Southgate bandwagon – and yes I’m writing this after the final and trying to keep my spirits up by focusing on the positives rather than any negatives.
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We’re also on the cusp of ‘Freedom Day’, entering the final part of the stamp duty extension and I’m sure there are many other things in the offing that I’ve not mentioned.
Business remains brisk throughout the housing market. In the surveying sector we remain busy, but simply being ‘busy’ seems something of relief when considering the huge amounts of pressure we, as a sector, have faced over the past 12 months.
Of course, we have not been alone in this pressure cauldron and I’m sure that intermediaries will also look forward to a little bit more breathing space within their days over the summer months.
Focusing on market conditions over course of H2, the purchase market will experience an inevitable slight lull but that’s not to suggest that activity will dry up.
The next few months will see the final phase of the stamp duty holiday come into effect resulting in sustained activity across the housing market, and with lenders, intermediaries, surveyors and conveyancers all in a far stronger position to manage volume and expectation, I expect Q3 to pass without too much consternation.
Lenders will continue to ensure that an array of borrowers have access to solutions which allow them to get onto, or take a step up, the property ladder in a responsible manner.
Competition is mounting and with pricing – even at the higher LTV bands – sharpening, we are seeing increasingly attractive headline rates. To offset some potential shortfalls in the purchase market, levels of remortgage business are likely to increase with homeowners taking advantage of low interest rates as lenders look to secure market share.
For example, data from CACI suggests that October will see around £29bn worth of mortgages move onto a standard variable rate, meaning plenty of opportunities will emerge for intermediaries to bolster their remortgage business.
The effects from the ending of the furlough scheme remain to be seen but employment levels appear to be holding up well and a number of welcomed positives are emerging across various industries which have struggled over the pandemic. Long may this continue.
From a business perspective, our main aim is to continue servicing the needs of our lender partners and our clients as best we can, whilst maintaining the safety of our people at all times.
In addition, we will invest further in our already robust and innovative tech offering and bolster our recruitment process to keep attracting the best possible candidates and attract new blood into the industry.
As we have learnt in recent times, it’s difficult to predict even the near future and who knows what might happen in H2 2021. However, what I do know is that all links in the mortgage chain are better armed to deal with any potential adversity which might come our way.
And we are certainly looking forward with renewed and sustained optimism, attributes which were not always so evident or prominent this time last year.