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The property market is in a state of flux. Recent government incentives like Help to Buy have encouraged first-time buyers to get on the property ladder and house prices are rising as demand begins to get the edge on supply. This all has an impact on the mortgage market where there has been an increase in lending to borrowers with smaller deposits.

In the next few weeks the mortgage market is set to undergo more changes as new regulations aim to make it more sustainable as well as consumer-friendly. The Mortgage Market Review (MMR) was undertaken by the Financial Services Authority to guard against the kind of loose lending that led us into the financial crisis in 2007.

The proposed changes will mean that lenders will be responsible for stricter affordability checks. The plans are intended to ensure access to mortgages for those who can afford them, whilst promoting good practice. Lenders will be expected to test homebuyers to see if they will be able to afford  higher monthly costs as rates rise - and to generally lend more responsibly. Many mortgage lenders already operate this way anyway.

Writing in The Independent, Chartered Surveyor Richard Sexton said: 'Despite the regulation shake-up, the mortgage market should continue strengthening in 2014. The initial hype surrounding Help to Buy may die down, but buyers will continue to be attracted by low rates. And banks are lending more to borrowers with smaller deposits, as their confidence in the continued economic recovery grows. First-time buyer numbers have grown 28% in the past year as a result.

'The new regulations may potentially create a short-term lending bottleneck, but they will ensure a safer lending environment for leagues of future buyers, and that can only be a good thing.'

The changes will apply from the end of this month.

Blair Cadell are a leading firm of Edinburgh solicitors, dealing in a wide range of property, business, tax and personal legal services. We deliver Big Firm Service at a Competitive Small Firm cost. Call us FREE on 0800 515 626 for an initial consultation.