Paragon Mortgages has reported continued confidence returning to the mortgage intermediary market.
The buy-to-let lender says that brokers expect a significant upturn in mortgage business in the third quarter of this year.
Paragon’s Financial Advisor Confidence Tracking Index, a quarterly survey of financial advisors, found that brokers expect to do 8% more mortgage business in the three months to the end of September than in the second quarter. This is the second quarter in a row that brokers have predicted an increase in mortgage business and follows a negative 2008 when the intermediary market, on average, predicted contracting levels of business.
Overall, 58% of respondents predicted an increase in mortgage business, with nearly a third (31%) expecting to see a 10% or more uplift in business. Only 7% of brokers expect business to fall, which compares favourably to the March 2009 and December 2008 surveys, when 19% and 39% of brokers respectively stated that they expected business levels to decline in the following three months.
The increased level of confidence is reflected in staffing levels at brokers, which rose by an average of 3% over the second quarter. According to the survey, 18% of brokers said they had increased staffing levels, with 9% stating that staff numbers had increased by 25% or more. Over the same period, 5% of brokers said that they had cut staff numbers.
Paragon Mortgages managing director John Heron said: "We are starting to see concrete signs of confidence returning to the mortgage market and that can only be a positive for the UK housing market. Mortgage brokers have endured some tough times in the past 18 months so it is welcoming that the market if finally seeing some positive news.
"However, the mortgage market cannot fully recover unless more is done by Government to increase the availability of mortgage finance to consumers. Lending is still at very low levels as lenders seek to retain capital and normal funding avenues remain closed. Mortgage availability is still relatively scarce and only those with high deposits can secure the most attractive rates. The Government has made some progress through its various lending stimulus packages, but it is clear that more needs to be done."