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Housing policy crucial to lending success in Wales, says CML

Published: 17 May 2017

A strong mortgage voice will continue to be heard across the UK under the forthcoming new trade body UK Finance, according to CML director general Paul Smee in his keynote address at the CML Cymru annual lunch in Cardiff today.

Mr Smee commented that the housing agenda in Wales was increasingly led by the Assembly, and issues such as the effective regulation of the housing associations and innovative house building in Wales would need to be high priorities of the new mortgage board within UK Finance.

Julie-Ann Haines, CML Cymru chair and customer director for Principality Building Society, echoed this sentiment as she outlined her priorities in helping evolve the Welsh market going forward.

Julie-Ann Haines said:

The last year saw the highest home buyer activity in Wales since 2007. First-time buyers have been a key driver of this and they have been helped enormously by government schemes such as Help to Buy Cymru. We were delighted that the Welsh Government, after consultation with CML Cymru members, decided to extend the scheme to continue in aiding home buyers and builders in Wales.

She encouraged the lending community to continue finding new ways to innovate the market and that the industry must focus on ‘innovation’ over ‘tried and tested’ and ‘leadership’ over ‘complacency.’

She added:

Innovation in construction types such as modular homes is desperately needed if we are to tackle the shortage of affordable housing stock in Wales and across the UK. Addressing the barriers to housing supply and working collaboratively to ensure we provide appropriate affordable housing right across Wales. It is vital that lenders work with government on new forms of housing tenures such as shared ownership and Rent to Buy. I am delighted that we now have cross-sector working parties addressing these last markets.

To coincide with the CML Cymru annual lunch, the CML has published a News & Views article exploring how the housing market in Wales differs from the rest of the UK. The article also provides a lending industry perspective on current Welsh housing policy – and how it might evolve as a result of the election campaign and what happens thereafter.

Paul Smee concluded:

There needs to be a strong mortgage voice in the new trade body UK Finance through its product board and I am satisfied that this was well understood by those setting it up. It had to be remembered that mortgages, unlike several other banking products, were distributed by intermediaries, that housing policy was devolved to the national governments, and that the new trade body had to be as active on housing issues as CML had traditionally been. This would shape the workload and approach of the new body towards the mortgage sector. I wish the new team every success with this challenging mortgage and housing agenda.

Notes to editors

1. The Council of Mortgage Lenders' members are banks, building societies and other lenders who together undertake around 97% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.1 million mortgages in the UK, with loans worth over £1.3 trillion.

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