Future of advice safe for time being

The organisation found that despite frequent claims to the contrary, the internet is only popular for gathering information and comparing products, and the number of online mortgage applications is still low.

While the emergence of the internet has helped new entrants to launch into the industry, without the need for a high street presence, many are now re-assessing their position and more are also targeting mortgage intermediaries for new business.

Another new area highlighted by the survey were the development of new mortgage products by both new players and established lenders that target specific groups of customers;

Peter Williams, deputy director general at the CML, said: "Intense competition, greater use of technology, growing customer sophistication and changing work and lifestyle patterns will fuel further structural change in the UK mortgage market in the coming years. Developments like the possibility of the UK joining the euro and Basel II Capital Accord will also affect the structure of the market.

"Statutory regulation will also have a profound effect, particularly on the distribution of mortgages through intermediaries. The research identifies a highly innovative industry, focused on driving down costs and delivering value for consumers. It is essential that statutory regulation is proportionate and does not choke off the sort of innovation that benefits the industry and its customers."