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sentiment. Will I have a job? Are house prices going to go down? Will I get a deposit? Am I going to be able to pay it back? So that’s actually in my mind the biggest thing that’s not on the list here which is the confidence factors in the underlying economy. It’s in the interest of the government to help stimulate activity in the wider economy and through the housing market as their inextricably linked. JW: There was a survey last year by HSBC of 1,000 people who were not first-time buyers and only 20% worried about the economy, employment and all that. It is the deposit that concerned them the most. NS: Look at the FirstBuy scheme, look at the MIG scheme, look at the local authority housing scheme, the shared equity schemes and shared ownership schemes. They’re all to do with getting to 95% on it. Those are the things that make a difference to first-time buyers. Yes mum and dad are helping them in the vast majority of cases but the thing to get the market moving, and I’m actually quite hopeful for the first-time buyer market, is schemes which get the deposit issue addressed and looked after.

DO FTBs UNDERSTAND HOW TO ACCESS THESE SCHEMES? NS: That’s where the broker comes in. CH: These schemes, they’re not going to solve the issue. They’ll make a difference around the edges and it’s moving us in the right direction. What we need to see is the new initiative come out. NS: We need the details. RS: The challenge is the government taking a view that says if we have scarce resources, we are going to try and get construction going. By getting the buildings built, they’re going to force the rest of the people in the value chain to work harder and better. So that’s where the government is going to go with them so let’s get them to de-focus around “how do we get them to 85% through MIG,” but also “how do we get confidence into builders to build.” JW: It’s an engine starter. The 100,000 or so new homes is still peanuts

compared with what’s needed over the next few years but if it does give the confidence it will start accelerating. NS: They want access to this sort of help. We have specialist brokers in our roster to do all of the stuff that’s complicated and they provide the first-time buyers with an awful lot of help in buying. It isn’t easy to get a local authority scheme with Firstbuy over the base. You have to pick your lender, you don’t have an awful lot of choices and we have people who are doing that all the time. So you get this virtuous circle, the developer trusts the broker who’s an expert and it goes around and the developer wants that broker because he knows more about Firstbuy than the rest. These schemes are complex and it plays into a broker’s hand. It certainly doesn’t play into the man in the branch on the high street.

FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW ROBERT DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS SOMETHING THAT AMI SHOULD BE DOING TO HELP BROKERS BECOME MORE SPECIALIST OR DO YOU THINK THAT IT’S SUCH A NICHE? RS: It’s a fine balancing act with people knowing what business they want to be in and being confident. I’ve always said that being jack of all trades in this industry is the worst thing to be. Knowing what your marketplace is and knowing what you’re good at and building against it. So you can’t dabble in this. As Nigel said, if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to know the scheme,

know the structures and know the lenders who are prepared to fund it. That’s the way it works. Yes a trade body can always do more but it’s a question of that at any one point in time there’s also all the things that we’ve been asked to do. So at any time there isn’t an MMR or EU Mortgage Directive then yes I could probably do more on this but at this moment in time given the current challenges, it’s not something I can go near. By the time we’ve come out the end of MMR again, depending on wherever the EU Mortgage Directive is, then as we move into the second half of the year then perhaps that might be where we are. DJ: We’re looking at focusing on new build scheme at the moment and looking at the old stuff as well. If you go to building societies you’ll find quite a few of them look at the big picture for first-time buyers so if they fail the lender’s credit score down the high street, they can’t get up the whole 20% property, put in a charge on one property. Even two years up front mortgage payment, all these sorts of things, there’s so much a mortgage broker can offer if they know where to find it. It’s a case of educating brokers as well as first-time buyers. So it comes to specialists like us, we’ve got relationships with building societies, we will look at things differently.

THE BANK OF MUM AND DAD IS INCREASINGLY FILLING THE DEPOSIT GAP FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS – ARE LENDERS DOING ENOUGH TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF THIS DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGNING PRODUCTS THAT HELP? CH: Small lenders are doing their little bits in the equation and clearly we’re very small in the scheme of things but what we are trying to do is offer different alternatives to the Bank of Mum and Dad. Clearly some people want to hand the cash over and clearly some people don’t. So there needs to be more of those schemes. It gives the brokers more options. We know deposits can be difficult for some time to come so once


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