The New Year brings a new set of targets for our lender partners. Having seen another year of growth in volume in 2017, early discussions indicate that no-one is looking to take a step backwards in 2018. Indeed with many lenders indicating ambitious growth targets, it looks like we will have a year of opportunity as rates and criteria remain competitive with the customer being the main beneficiary. The challenge again this year will be for brokers to energise enough customers to meet lender demand. With potential homemovers still avoiding the buy button, it is the worlds of new build and first time buyers that are sustaining activity but with remortgaging leading the way. Brokers will have to get even better at managing their existing customer base to help lenders achieve their goals.
What will become clear as we go through the year is that the appetite amongst the biggest lenders is going to change the market. They are going to write more business, so the medium sized lenders are going to have to either improve pricing, in a rising background rate market, or take more risk if they are to meet their targets. Whilst many looking at the arrears and repossession numbers will be comfortable to do this, as we are not heavily exposed at this point in the cycle, it will be interesting to see how the regulators view such changes. I suspect that there will be some tough conversations, but expect that the government desire to build more and fund increased lending will prevail so opportunity will be there for the market for the foreseeable future.