December 12, 2016 / 10:14 AM / a year ago

UK financial watchdog opens mortgage market competition review

LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Britain’s financial watchdog has launched a full review of the country’s 1.3 trillion pound ($1.64 trillion) mortgage market to see if customers could get better deals and whether links between industry players harm choice.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) began preliminary work in October 2015 to see if there were parts of the mortgage market where competition could be improved.

The review comes as the British government is facing pressure over a housing shortage in parts of the country and rising prices have put home ownership out of reach for many people.

“As a mortgage is likely to be the biggest financial commitment most people make in their lifetime, we’re keen to ensure that competition in the mortgage sector is healthy and working to the benefit of consumers,” said Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s executive director of strategy and competition.

There are 11.1 million home loans totalling 1.3 trillion pounds in debt, with 220 billion pounds borrowed in 2015, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, an industry body. (Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)

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