The Examiner carried a story about the number of options available to borrowers in the present market and the fact that they have dropped over 50% since 2008.
In 2008 there were 380 different mortgages available on the market across all banks and all rate suites, today, that number rests at 179 meaning that at least 50% of the choice is gone. That is also reflective of the fact that so many lenders have exited the market. Below is a list of several who are no longer lending here.
Many of these providers were in the non-prime/specialist/sub-prime category, however, a drop of 50% in choice doesn’t mean that there are no options left. Certainly tracker mortgages are a thing of the past as are Standard Variables (referring to new business for these products, existing clients will keep their existing product).
The other factor that makes this less spectacular is that many lenders replicate offerings, so when each lender pulled out, their two year fixed rate product being discontinued means that there were 8 less two year fixed products available, but it isn’t the case that the market leading 2yr fixed was necessarily with any bank that quit the market.
The idea that the more mortgages there are, the wider the choice is true in respect of their being more ports of call, but if you wanted baked beans does it matter whether the shop you go to stocks 6 brands or 70 brands of the same thing? Mortgages are not rocket science, there are intricacies and nuances that a practitioner understands better than a day to day consumer but in terms of choice there are still plenty of options and navigating your way through them is perhaps made easier given that there are fewer choices, even if all of the players remained in the market tracker mortgages and standard variable mortgages would not be on offer, so it doesn’t mean that the consumer is definitely gouged when one or more banks stop lending or close up shop.