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Optimism high for mortgage business

IFAs are rediscovering an optimistic outlook for the mortgage market following a winter of discontent, according to Paragon Mortgages.

Its financial adviser confidence tracking index of mortgage business shot up from 104.4 during the last quarter of 2000 to 111.8 in the first quarter of this year, the highest figure since 1999.

IFAs expect a rise of 8.7 per cent in mortgage sales during the second quarter of this year, a level that Paragon says confirms the upward trend in confidence.

High levels of remortgaging account for much of this renewed optimism, with the index revealing that sustained growth in this area is driven by borrowers&#39 attempts to reduce their outgoings.

The number of remortgages arranged to release cash rose to 13 per cent from 9 per cent during the last quarter while the number of borrowers remortgaging to buy second homes fell to 10 per cent from 12 per cent.

Discount mortgages fell in popularity over the same period, down to 38 per cent of sales in the last quarter from 45 per cent of sales but still ranked alongside fixed and capped-rate mortgages, which went up to 38 per cent from 32 per cent.

Paragon managing director John Heron says: “Confidence in the housing market is still apparent but it remains to be seen how well it will stand up to stockmarket volatility and other crises such as foot and mouth.”


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