Salient to Investors:

US buyout firms are playing an increasingly larger role in the U.K. housing market.  US private-equity investors Wilbur Ross and J. Christopher Flowers are lining up to finance British homebuyers as the country’s biggest banks pull back.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders says RBS, Lloyds Banking, Barclays, HSBC and Santander U.K. (formerly Abbey National controlled 62 percent of Britain’s mortgage market in 2011, and 73 percent in 2010.

Wilbur Ross said that in one recent month Virgin made more than one-third of all the single-family mortgage loans in the entire U.K. market.

Stephen Noakes at Lloyds said the U.K. looks more profitable for mortgage lending because lenders can change rates after a few years depending on loan terms and market conditions.

In 2012, 4.66 million previously owned houses sold in the US, the most since 2007, while prices gained 12 percent in January from a year earlier, the biggest 12-month increase since 2005.

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