FSA Backs Down

Posted on March 28, 2011 by Professor Benfield There have been 0 comments

MMR

No, not the vaccination, but last year’s FSA Mortgage Market Regulations. Having come under intense criticism for the onerous nature of their proposals, their recently announced Business Plan for 2011/12 recognises the validity of this.

No New Rules

Promising not to introduce any new rules, their current aim is to embrace the overall economic situation.  This year it intends to publish indicative cost benefit and impact analyses this summer, with final measures being introduced in early 2012.

Hoping to avoid similar criticisms of these measures, it asks that these are not pre-empted.

Proposals Abandoned

Abandoning proposals for

a)     requiring all mortgages to be assessed over a common 25 year period,

b)    banning interest only loans

It will also consult further on the Government’s intention to transfer the control of second mortgage loans to the FSA.

New Promises

Additionally it has promised not to introduce any new rules until the market is able to cope with these.  This will be related to comprehensive impact assessments conducted in close conjunction with external bodies like the Home Builders Federation.

Shared Equity Protected

Taken in conjunction with the assistance for first time buyers announced in the Budget, this may signal that shared equity type schemes will be protected. Though whether or not this will prove of any use to the thousands of small house-builders around d the country is a different matter.

BOE Reports

Meanwhile the Bank of England’s pre-Budget report indicated a return to buyer hesitancy, reflected by cancelled reservations, disappointing survey valuations, and continued financial barriers for first time buyers.

Additionally they report:-

  • A slowdown in growth of spending on consumer goods and services
  • Slightly more activity in a depressed housing market.
  • Steady growth in manufacturers capital spending plans
  • Continued rapid rise in exports, especially to emerging & some European markets
  • Gentle growth in business services turnover
  • Steady rise in domestic manufacturing output, including investment goods
  • Higher construction activity, despite slowdown in [public sector contracts
  • Greater employment in manufacturing, but flat service sectors

In Summary

Despite best intentions, Government and its agencies continue to be pretty ham fisted in their attempts to revive the economy – and the housing and construction sectors in particular.

Nevertheless, the industry’s efforts to continue to ‘bounce along the bottom’ seem to be showing a few higher bounces, with some actually getting onto a slightly higher step.

Whatever ‘they’ do, it seems those firms that remain may be able to survive and gradually see their fortunes restored.

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