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Prime numbers

Some lenders fear that the sub-prime crisis and the credit crunch may begin to have an impact on prime mortgages as well.

Many think that if criteria ever do tighten to this extent, then balance-sheet lenders will also have to adjust their lending criteria to manage their exposure.

Those with a clean credit history may face paying more on top of increased interest rates and find it more difficult to get loans, exacerbating many of the structural problems in the market, particularly with firsttime buyers.

This is hardly a perfect storm but it is not good news for anyone in the mortgage market.

It is also difficult to discern whether rates for sub-prime are moving back to what might be described as a normal level.

Is lending becoming more prudent because intrinsically sub-prime borrowers were getting far too a good a deal before the crisis or have lenders gone beyond erring on the side of caution under pressure from owners? It may also simply be because many lenders cannot raise the funds to lend as their model does not fit the current market conditions.

Clearly, it is going be a tough time for borrowers and for brokers and mortgage IFAs, with forces at work that are very much beyond their control.

They can only source loans from the available market and yet in many ways that is their job – to help people buy the homes they want, and to get the best deals on remortgaging, balanced with their clients’ ability to pay. If nothing else, this tough market will be a test of the mettle of intermediaries.

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