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Housing market in Wales sees "rising consumer confidence"


Published: 22 May 2015 | Author: Bernard Clarke

The CML in Wales welcomed a new chair at its annual lunch in Cardiff, with Julie-Ann Haines, customer director for Principality Building Society, saying she wanted continuity as she succeeded Peter Hughes, who had chaired CML Cymru since 2009.

Julie-Ann acknowledged that she was taking up the role at a time of rising consumer confidence, with more people having bought homes in Wales last year than at any time since 2007. First-time buyers had been key drivers of growth, aided by government schemes like Help to Buy, and the CML would continue to seek to nurture this and help people realise the aspiration of owning a home that is right for them.

Referring to her predecessor, Julie-Ann said:

“I would like to thank Peter Hughes for his dedication as chair and providing a strong voice for the industry over the past seven years.  I am excited to be the first female chair of CML Cymru and look forward to continuing Peter’s hard work, representing the voice of mortgage lenders in Wales.”

In a speech welcoming Julie-Ann, Peter Hughes spoke of some of the changes during his period as chair, in particular the continuing expansion of the private rented sector, which had grown as the tenure for 7% of the population in 2000 to 14% currently. The CML has worked actively with the Welsh government to raise standards in the sector, he said, while seeking to ensure that the lending environment remained stable.

Referring to stock transfer in Wales, Peter noted that 10 out of the 11 transfers had taken place since 2007, with the lending industry playing a key role in committing over £1 billion in funding. Again, there had been close co-operation with the Welsh government, with several transfers taking place “in the teeth of the credit crunch.”

In his address to lunch guests, CML director general Paul Smee outlined some current challenges for lenders more generally, including implementation of the mortgage credit directive, lending into retirement, the transparency of mortgage fees and charges, and ironing out any residual problems from introducing the mortgage market review.

Specifically in Wales, the CML has worked with the government on the equity loan scheme and the Housing Act, and was keen to continue to work with government as it developed policy on shared equity and on the implications of the new land transaction tax.

For a trade association like the CML, working in a particular market place, the objective should be to help the market function effectively for all consumers and providers.  “It is this ability of the CML to deliver practical and practicable ways forward which should be a hallmark of our work,” he said.