The FSA has updated its information on the numbers of authorised mortgage firms, AMI has revealed.
At its peak, the number of firms registered with the FSA having mortgages as their primary category of authorisation was 3,553 in January 2006.
This gradually declined to 1,394 in March 2012, a figure that has remained static in both the June and September 2012 numbers.
The total number of FSA directly authorised firms holding mortgage permissions (adding those with Investments or Insurance as their main permission) peaked at 7,174 in December 2007, before the mortgage market imploded. The number of these firms then declined gradually until the numbers bottomed in March 2011, at 5,007. Since then numbers have risen in the two succeeding quarters, to 5,055 in September 2012.
The number of appointed representatives of authorised firms also peaked in December 2007 at 5,123. This also declined gradually over the following 4 years, to 2,383 in March 2012. We have now seen the first rise in this numbers in the latest quarter to 2,434 as at the end of September 2012.
This brings to an end a long run of falls in the number of firms advising on mortgages and indicates that for the first time broker numbers are on the rise. Not hugely, but this is definitely great news.