MMR—the unintended consequences, but at last someone is listening.

Ministers are to consider a suggestion that mortgage criteria should be portable. A letter from a well known estate agency figure has drawn a positive response from the Treasury.

The reply is from Alison Wright, ministerial correspondence manager at HM Treasury, after concerns were raised over mortgage portability. The issue has become a major problem, after people wanting to downsize have reported that they now fail mortgage affordability tests – even though they are moving to a smaller property and need smaller mortgages.

The reply says: “I think that your idea that any existing criteria should be fully transferable to another property, subject to certain conditions, is a very interesting one. I am also grateful to you for drawing to my attention the issues you set out in your email, specifically the situation of those who you believe want to move house but are trapped by their mortgage. I can assure you that your suggestions will be used to inform the policy making process.”

That is indeed a positive response and we hope the Treasury take it seriously. The unintended consequences of MMR (mortgage market review) have frustrated the market and adversely affected both buyers and sellers. Many think that the introduction of MMR was an overreaction to the mortgage and financial crisis and is now holding back genuine buyers with minimal risk, particularly those who just want to move down or sideways.

Why should it be necessary to start again, when the mortgage is in place and the payments are being made? Portability is the answer, but please, please act on it now.