Monday, April 6, 2009

How The Credit Crunch Is Affecting Mortgage Lending In 2009

The current economic crisis has had a profound affect on UK property developers and landlords alike. A causal relationship between the two means that whilst prospective landlords are not eager to buy property at a time of low lending and credit, companies and individuals at the beginning of the building chain are also not inclined to invest any money in the construction of houses that are likely to remain empty for a long while. Over the last month there have been many announcements and changes within the mortgage lending industry, and so I thought I would discuss the major ones in a simple article.

In the middle of February there was a significant amount of news concerning house prices in the country. Despite the presumption that they would fall, it seems that different (but well-regarded) sources such as Nationwide and Halifax were giving very different statistics on the matter. The problem here is that both banks have varying criteria for their mortgage products and so their results can differ significantly. As a result, Halifax reported that UK house prices had increased by 1.9 percent, whilst Nationwide had shown a decrease by 1.3 percent. Similarly, both banks publish their results at different times during the month (Nationwide publish during, and Halifax at the end), meaning the results are not from exact same time period.

At about the same time, a more certain set of statistics were released by the Department of Communities and Local Government concerning a countrywide lull in building new houses. They reported that the amount of houses set for development (just over 16,000) in December 2008 was 58 percent lower than it was a year before, whilst the private sector statistics were even worse (at 64 percent lower). As expected, lack of finance has been to blame for the biggest decline ever in this area, with little being available for residential and buy to let mortgages also.

More recently however, there has been some good news coming from such banks as Northern Rock and Lloyds/HBOS. In late February, the former announced they had £5 billion to lend in 2009 for residential mortgages, which increases competition in the sector and may be an incentive for others to offer more on the buy to let front. Following this, at the beginning of March Lloyds/HBOS announced they would increase their mortgage lending budget from £9 billion to £12 billion this year displaying a gradual shift in the accessibility of credit for borrowers.

By: David John Martin-11606

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