Utilities company, npower, is expanding into the property market next year with the launch of a new conveyancing service and a mortgage broking firm.
The move could pose a threat to thousands of solicitors and brokers across the UK, as the Npower brand is already well known to consumers as a utilities provider.
Npower has claimed that it will be able to speed up the conveyancing process, as it brings its branding to its subsidiary company, The Move Factory, which specialises in conveyancing. The company has pledged to reduce the average time of the conveyancing process down to 10 days.
Sarah Neil, spokesperson for Npower, said: ‘The Move Factory is part business to business working mainly on referrals from estate agents, and part direct to consumer where business is channelled through referrals from consumer website, www.myhomemove.com. Npower has a 60% share in The Move Factory, and the move is another string to its bow along with loans and insurance.’
It will open for business seven days a week from eight till eight and will also allow users to monitor progress using online case tracking.
The new conveyancing service will be launched around March 2003, and will rebrand as Npower Conveyancing, although as yet there is no firm launch date for the new mortgage broking arm.
Neil said: ‘The mortgage brokerage will probably happen next year, although it is too early to start talking about the specifics, such as the size and how it will place itself in the market.’
Commenting on the news David Hollingworth, mortgage specialist at London and Country, said: ‘Firms outside the mortgage industry can see what a big market this is, and how intermediaries distribute a major part of the UK’s lending. People are always going to want a piece of the action. But, we will have to see if npower buys into another existing company, otherwise where else will it get the experience?’