Mortgage difficulties expected to continue this year

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Increased regulatory pressures, lack of funds and a tough economic climate will make this year a challenging one for lenders and continue to restrict the availability of mortgage finance to borrowers.

Hometrack, the property analytics business, report that homebuyers face a continued struggle to obtain mortgages in 2011, with approvals expected to remain flat over the next 12 months.

Hometrack, who provide automated valuations and risk analytics to more than 90 per cent of the UK mortgage industry, expect lenders to approve 1.2 millon mortgages this year.

These will be made up of 575,000 mortgages for new home purchases and 355,000 remortgages, while 270,000 other borrowings will be secured on home owners’ properties.

David Catt, chief operating officer at Hometrack, said: “This represents no change on the 1.2 million Hometrack expect to see approved in 2010, a decrease on the 1.3 million approved in 2009 and a far cry from the three million-plus mortgages that were issued at the height of the property boom in 2007.

“The benchmark has been reset and what we’re seeing now is a new norm in lending.”

Last year was a time of economic uncertainty, causing both lenders and homebuyers to delay making a decision on whether to lend and borrow.

While the present economic uncertainty looks set to continue into this year and 2012, Hometrack has identified a number of other major factors that will also constrain mortgage lending in the forthcoming year.

Hometrack expects the next 12 to 18 months will be dominated by regulatory policy, post-2012, they expect to see the return of competition to the market.