Thanks to Prince for the title of this piece, but finally our new website is up and running, subject to the usual teething problems of course. Now I guess the hard work really begins. The fact that I am free from all constraints, not that it actually stopped me writing what I thought anyway; means maybe I can be even more honest!

During the “down time” I have been getting to grips with the technology front even more and really understanding how great something like Twitter is. You can follow me at montysblog, short, sharp and to the point.

Anyway, so what is going on?

At the moment, trying to accurately predict where the housing market will go next is a little like herding cats. While we have seen mortgage approvals rise for the second month running, leading to renewed hope that we might be seeing the early signs of a recovery, talk of a full-blown recovery is still premature. It is this uncertainty factor and the ‘are we or aren’t we at the bottom’ debate that is still lowering confidence in the housing market.

On a more positive note, we are starting to see lenders offering more competitive products with higher LTVs, and while a growing number of buyers are keen to take advantage of low house prices and mortgage rates, lenders’ reticence to lend is fuelling uncertainty in the market.

Remortgages continue to suffer as borrowers coming off fixed rates choose to move onto their lenders’ SVRs rather than look to fix again in the short term. This is a worrying trend and the general consensus is that fixed rates aren’t going to fall much further, if at all, and borrowers should fix now before it’s too late.

Playing the waiting game could be disastrous – if house prices continue to bump along at the bottom, when rates start to rise, many could be caught in an interest rate trap with no means of remortgaging.

I doubt we will see any changes in the Bank Base Rate this side of summer and it will be interesting to see the results of the US Banking “Stress Test” report that is causing such a fuss across the pond. This has already been delayed a few days and the results could put down a marker as to whether confidence will return in the short-term or be prolonged further.

Whatever happens, the new dawn has broken and we all need to make the best of it.

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