Fitzsimons and Thomas join Square 1 Media

Fitzsimons and Thomas join Square 1 Media

John Fitzsimons will join Square 1 Media on 1 March as client services director, while Natalie Thomas joined on 1 February as senior PR account manager.

Fitzsimons brings with him a wealth of experience, having worked as a journalist and copywriter within the mortgage and financial services sector for almost 20 years.


Mortgage Solutions

John started his career at the mortgage trade publication, Mortgage Solutions, in 2007, rising through the ranks to become editor before moving on to the consumer finance website, Lovemoney, in 2009. After a five-year spell as editor, John went freelance in 2016 and has been a treasured part of the team at Mortgage Solutions on a freelance basis.

Over the past eight years, Fitzsimons has written extensively for both the trade and financial consumer press, with bylines in publications such as The Sunday Times and The Mirror.

He will be responsible for overseeing existing client relationships at Square 1 Media, as well as helping to develop internal structures and identifying opportunities for existing and new clients.

Natalie also brings a wealth of knowledge from her time in the mortgage trade press, where she began her career in 2005. Since then, she has worked as deputy editor at Mortgage Strategy, as well as editor of Lending Strategy and Loan Distributor, before going freelance in 2012.

Thomas has since worked for several mortgage and property publications, as well as providing copywriting services for PR agencies. She will be responsible for managing a number of client accounts as the firm continues its growth.


Square 1 Media

John and Natalie will work closely with the company’s managing director, Paul Hunt, and its other directors – Alex Hammond, Scott Philipson and Rob Griffiths.

Paul Hunt said: “This is an exciting time for Square 1 Media. Both John and Natalie bring an abundance of experience, and I’m confident they will be fantastic additions to our team. Together, they have almost 40 years of combined knowledge in the mortgage and wider financial markets, positioning us strongly to meet the needs of our expanding client base and ensuring they are in safe hands.”

John Fitzsimons, future client services director at Square 1 Media, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Square 1 Media and can’t wait to get started. The firm has an excellent reputation for delivering first-class financial PR. I look forward to building on this and putting my knowledge and experience to good use.”

Natalie Thomas, senior account manager at the firm, said: “I’m delighted to join the team. I’ve received a warm welcome and it’s great to be a part of a group so knowledgeable and experienced within the field of financial PR.”

Square 1 Media was established in 2019 and is a PR and marketing agency specialising in financial services.

The firm offers a range of services, including PR; marketing consultancy; content marketing, partnership marketing; branding & positioning analysis; media training and copywriting.

Penrith joins TMA Mortgage Club panel

Penrith joins TMA Mortgage Club panel

Lisa Martin, development director, said: “Penrith Building Society brings a raft of lending possibilities to the club that include lending based on affordability as a result of their expertise in manual underwriting, as well as elements such as mortgage terms of up to 40 years with no maximum age. The Penrith has huge experience and expertise in lending on second properties as well as holiday lets and ex-pat holiday/buy-to-let (BTL) lending.

“We are thrilled to have the Penrith on board, who bring an additional dimension to our lending panel. As we move forward, we look forward to developing some exciting propositions with them to meet the needs of our members and their borrowers.”

Tim Vigeon (pictured), head of product development and distribution at Penrith Building Society, said: “We are delighted to have taken this step with TMA, whose business, ethos and aspirations are entirely in keeping with our own. We hope to become a key business partner over the coming months and work together on new products and propositions for next year.”

On 8 January, Penrith Building Society temporarily removed the application fee payable on its mortgages for all residential and BTL deals.

This applies on all deals for new and existing customers until 31 March.

In November last year, Tim Vigeon joined the mutual as its head of product distribution and development, as exclusively reported by Mortgage Solutions.

Vigeon was most recently associate business development manager (BDM) for nearly two years at Darlington Intermediaries, and worked at Buckinghamshire Building Society, the Ombudsman and Nationwide in previous roles.

Exclusive interview: Dutch pension fund-backed longer-term mortgage lender April soft launches

Exclusive interview: Dutch pension fund-backed longer-term mortgage lender April soft launches

The fixed-term mortgage lender soft launched its remortgage product with adviser networks HLP and Stonebridge at the end of November last year in a bid to convert the market to longer-term, five to 15-year fixed rates.

The lender has plans to widen distribution in due course.

April will offer fixed-rate deals of five, seven, ten, twelve and fifteen years, with rates starting at 4.99 per cent. There are no early repayment charges if someone is moving house or repaying their mortgage.

While it will only lend at up to 85 per cent loan-to-value to begin with, the firm plans to offer mortgages to those with a five  per cent deposit next month as it targets first-time buyers.

The products, developed through research among brokers and consumers, are offered with no early redemption charge (ERC), adviser trail fees and a readiness to reprice rates and the monthly repayment if a property valuation confirms the borrower has reached a lower loan to value (LTV) tier.

The unique proposition is backed by DMFCO, the Dutch asset manager that launched Munt, a lender which became a top five provider within eight years of launch in the Netherlands.

The trail fee model pays a procuration fee of 45 bps and an additional service fee of six bps each year from the fifth anniversary of the client’s mortgage for the duration of the product term. If the client wants a further advance, April will pay a further proc fee of 20 bps on the additional borrowing or an additional product transfer fee if clients choose an April deal at term end, subject to network arrangements.

April pledges it will always refer a customer back to the broker for advice.

It said: “As long as you are available to advise your clients should they need it, we will continue to pay you for your support. This means you’ll be rewarded for building a long-term relationship with April as well as your client. And you can start to build embedded value in your business.”

The lender said it is already in discussions with the next tier of distribution and its product plans include a house purchase offering shortly after launch, widened criteria and a launch into Scotland.

April’s commercial director Tim Hague said: “We are starting slowly but we have very big ambitions.”

In an exclusive interview with Victoria Hartley, contributing editor at Mortgage Solutions, Hague was asked if he hopes the product might establish a trail-fee model in the UK broker market.

He replied: “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”



Halifax slashes remortgage rates; Natwest withdraws deals – round-up

Halifax slashes remortgage rates; Natwest withdraws deals – round-up

On the two-year fixed rate side, Halifax’s deal at 60 per cent loan to value deal has fallen by 0.53 per cent to 4.15 per cent.

The lender said that its two-year fixed rate at 75 per cent LTV has decreased by 0.45 per cent to 4.36 per cent.

Going up to 80 per cent LTV, its two-year fixed rate has fallen by 0.46 per cent to 5.23 per cent and at 85 per cent LTV the contraction is 0.23 per cent to 5.23 per cent.

The provider’s three-year fixed rate at 60 per cent LTV has gone down by 0.27 per cent to 4.39 per cent, along with its deal at 75 per cent LTV which stands at 4.45 per cent.

Halifax’s five-year fixed rate at 60 per cent LTV has decreased by 0.46 per cent to 4.19 per cent and its deal at 75 per cent LTV has fallen by 0.37 per cent to 4.34 per cent.

All the above come with a £999 fee.


Natwest withdraws new business products

Natwest has withdrawn select purchase, remortgage, and buy-to-let deals and extended end dates for two and five-year terms.

On the purchase side, the company has removed its two-year purchase rate at 90 per cent LTV at 4.89 per cent along with its two-year remortgage product with and without £250 cashback at 5.55 per cent.

It is also taking down its five-year fixed rate purchase at 90 per cent LTV at 4.343 per cent along with two remortgage deals at the same LTV at 4.99 per cent. The remortgage deals come with and without £250 cashback.

All come with a £1,495 fee.

On the buy-to-let side, its five-year fixed rate purchase product at 60 and 75 per cent LTV at 4.49 per cent and 4.59 per cent have been removed. Its five-year fixed rate remortgage at 75 per cent LTV offered at 4.59 per cent will also be withdrawn.

The buy-to-let deals are subject to a £3,499 fee.

Natwest has also extended its two-year term-end dates from 30 April 2026 to 30 June 2029, an its five-year end dates have moved from 30 April 2029 to 30 June 2029.

Pure Retirement becomes first later life-only lender to join IMLA

Pure Retirement becomes first later life-only lender to join IMLA

Pure Retirement is the first later-life only lender to join the association and has a portfolio of £5bn of loans under management, offering its range of flexible lifetime mortgages exclusively through intermediaries.

Scott Burman, head of distribution at Pure Retirement, will represent the lender at IMLA meetings.

As a full member of IMLA, Pure Retirement joins a cohort of lenders responsible for more than 90 per cent of the UK’s gross mortgage lending.

Kate Davies (pictured), executive director of IMLA, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Pure Retirement to the IMLA fold. While a number of our existing members operate in the later lending market, Pure Retirement is the first member to focus exclusively on this sector, and we look forward to learning from their perspective and working together to improve the ways in which the financial services industry serves older customers.”

Burman added: “We’re really proud to be joining IMLA, especially as we’re the first dedicated later life lender to do so.”

He added: “Joining IMLA highlights the way the lifetime mortgage space is being increasingly viewed as an effective and mainstream financial planning tool, and we look forward to representing the sector within the association going forward.”


Intermediary mortgage market grip tightens

In December, the trade body predicted the share of mortgage activity being conducted via mortgage brokers will rise to 89 per cent this year, increasing to 90 per cent of the mortgage market by 2025.

However, a contracted market could result in the value of lending arranged by mortgage brokers falling by six per cent in 2024 with a four per cent rebound in mortgage volume the following year.

IMLA is the trade association that represents mortgage lenders who lend to UK consumers and businesses via the broker channel, and associate providers.

DIFF: Breaking down barriers to social mobility

DIFF: Breaking down barriers to social mobility

The Leadership and Executive programmes, running on different days, offered sessions tailored for the separate senior and executive level membership delegates. These were storytelling-led for the leadership group and for the executive tier, workshop-led sessions to offer personal development for the enthusiastic delegates. The sessions revolved around social mobility within the financial services industry and the mortgage sector.

With the executive event hosted by contributing editor, Mortgage Solutions, Victoria Hartley, the first speaker, Sophie Hulm, chief executive at Progress Together kicked off the morning event by laying out a clear case for industry evolution.

“In financial services, 89 per cent of senior leaders are from higher socio-economic backgrounds versus 52 per cent from the rest of the economy. In finance, we’re getting the talent in but we’re not retaining them. They’re leaving before many get to the top,” she said.

“Unlocking this pot of people would release recruitment difficulties, nurture diversity and inclusivity and increase productivity at an organisational level,” she added.

Statistics suggested working class people progress 25 per cent slower than their peers with no link to job performance.

“So, they are performing well at their job but they were not getting ahead,” said Hulm, confirming people are being promoted that fit the mould, but not necessarily the best performers.

Hulm said the regulator and City investors continue to raise their expectations and question companies on individual progress on the socio-economic credentials of their employees.

She added that the last Labour government fully intended to but never managed to make social equality a protected characteristic (like gender and ethnicity) in the 2010 Equality Act, so it may be a target for the party when it, in all likelihood, becomes the UK’s next government this year.

“It’s the mental toll of fitting in. It’s not about saying one socioeconomic background is better than another – it’s about diversity of backgrounds, diversity of thought to ensure people from different backgrounds can fit in.”


Polish and exposure, sponsorship and transparency

Hulm said it’s not about changing people, but evolving promotion and job allocation processes to make the system more transparent. It’s about allyship and sponsorship of those with talent, not just those who look like you and not expecting every candidate to be able to present themselves with confidence if the role doesn’t demand that or expecting people to have a 2:1 on their CV if they have evidenced excellence over a longstanding career.

Hulm urged the room to dig deeper and examine processes which don’t serve the greater good of the company.

In the next session, former live BBC producer and impact guru Esther Stanhope took the room on a journey of self-discovery to boost confidence and greater self-knowledge about delegates’ personal drivers and goals.

Stanhope took the room through a whirlwind of career-mapping and demanded honesty with an attainment mark for current career achievements out of 10, before rounding out to life and career goals.

“Without a career goal, it’s really hard to navigate to your success,” she said.

“Put in some time that is just dedicated to moving yourself forward. Fifteen minutes a day is nothing. But invest some time, money if necessary, but time primarily. It might be an email, it might be meeting someone for coffee or it might be a career graph, or goal mapping for 2024 or just speaking to your boss. Schedule it in the diary,” said Stanhope.

Stanhope offered a roadmap to discovering your own unique selling points and presenting yourself and your unique qualities unashamedly, whatever those might be.

Stanhope said: “It’s a really good idea to get help with your career. It could be a coach, colleagues, mentor, a boss, friends. I cracked how to leave the BBC and start a business when I got a business coach. It’s a gamechanger.”

She said if you want to be successful, it’s not the time to be humble. To be successful you have to leave your comfort zone and feel a little afraid.

Another tip included being a lot more visible in life and boosting your professional profile and pick an action to complete today and then every day, which could be good for your career.


Foreign names hold you back

Next up, Anj Hander from Inspiring Women Changemakers kicked off a searing session with the fact a foreign-sounding name makes you 60 per cent less likely then someone with a British name to make it to a second interview in the UK.

Hander walked us through her own work history, which began in business in London and on to a government quango and following a trio of life-changing events, she started her own business in Leeds.

She said one of the most important things a boss ever said to her was: “Anj. Your voice matters. Never think that it doesn’t.”

This concept of being ‘the only’ person with a certain characteristic in a workplace is very isolating, she said. The global women in workplace report was published in 2022, which surveyed over 40,000 people and found that people who hold double ‘the only’ characteristics faced additional barriers that could lead to work burnout.

Hander said it’s important to remove mask after mask, whether it’s the armour of work suits, or uncovering your real identity, whether its class or Indianness, for example.

“You see it with our political classes, with Rishi Sunak, with Priti Patel, Suella Braverman – they belong to a wider community but really it shows a deep level of insecurity because they are not showing a complete identity. But sometimes we don’t do that because we don’t feel safe. Sexuality, disability, these are all examples.”

“Many of us, mask or pass or cover. We make our accent more posh, but all of these things hinder connection with people. How can they see us if they don’t see what we need help with?”

Hander quoted poet and thinker, Maya Angelou who once said: “You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”

She said the words inclusion and belonging are used interchangeably, from a diversity perspective, but they are very different. A change of leadership or even colleague can undermine a feeling of inclusion completely. Building resilience must first of all come from ourselves, she added.

One delegate in the audience asked how you can evidence or measure this feeling of employee psychological safety, as she said employees at her company tell her they don’t feel safe, yet the management say they feel they provide that feeling and safeguard their team and engagement surveys suggest all is well?

Hander said: “How can we? One individual is never going to see or hear the full picture. This is about trust, connection, these are human powerful traits that we need to develop in ourselves and our leadership. Peer pressure, so, have you seen what our competitors are doing?’ is useful – or have you seen this piece of research?’. Data can be useful, in this situation too.”

“It’s a continuous effort and anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t telling you the truth,” she added.

A huge thank you once again to our speakers.

Learning outcomes:

– Demonstrating why socio-economic diversity, not just with access but, at senior levels matters, commercially and morally
– Developing your toolkit for success
– Building resilience within yourself and your diverse teams


DIFF leadership event

At the Leadership event, the following week, DIFF chairman Bharat Sagar hosted the session entitled: Social mobility: levelling the playing field and creating a fairer system.

Kenny Imafidon, author, journalist and co-founder of Clearview Research began the event at Ironmongers Hall with his presentation entitled: That Peckham Boy.

‘This is a very personal story in the face of insurmountable odds, illustrating what we could be missing by not casting our nets wider,” said Sagar in his introduction.

Reading from his own book, Imafidon quoted Malcolm X, saying: “I believe in the brotherhood of all men. But I don’t believe in sharing it with anyone who doesn’t want to practice it with me. Brotherhood is a two-way street.”

He read: “Who do you look up to? Some people are admired because they have achieved something extraordinary against all odds. Others are admired because of their wealth or the position they have risen to. Some may hold a world record or have had their talents nurtured. Others have tirelessly campaigned for social change or given their lives to enjoy the freedoms we have today.”

He said he was impassioned by the three towering figures of the civil rights movement – Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey.

“They left a strong impression of what inspirational leadership looks like, a blueprint I could follow to become the great man my father never was.”

Imafidon’s childhood was effectively fatherless save for a few hundred pounds in the form of a handout twice a year when he saw him as he grew up in Peckham, surrounded by drug dealers for role models and went to a school which was under special measures.

He got 12 GCSEs and with the help of many inspirational teachers he was targeting Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at University when in the summer of 2011, he was arrested and charged for a murder and a catalogue of other crimes. He found himself inside Feltham Prison for six months for a murder he didn’t commit.

He was the youngest person to pass his A-levels in the prison, having just turned 18 – philosophy, politics and history (he dropped economics) – all the time aware that be could be imprisoned until the age of 47 years old.

After a four-week trial, he knew he was going home due to lack of evidence and was acquitted. However, two of his friends got 30 years to life, while he went on to get a scholarship to do a law degree.


The onward drive

“The journey for me has been very much about making sure people understand, you don’t have to be imprisoned by your past. I never pictured that coming my way, but when it did I had to respond with strength and at the same time. I didn’t want to be a victim of my past and took agency over my life.”

“One thing people are very good at is finding someone to blame but themselves. I didn’t want to be remembered for the worst thing that happened to me,” he said.

He said: “People have a view of what talent looks like. Certain schools, certain universities. A particular skin tone. A particular gender. And that’s where you’ve all got it wrong. I know the grit and resilience it has taken to get me where I am today.”

A Clearview joint-research report, commissioned byfair4allfinance, produced in partnership with Ipsos Mori, showed one in five people from ethnic minority backgrounds have experienced discrimination due to race when dealing with financial providers.

Imafidon shared a raft of statistics suggesting ethnic minorities are underbanked, find financial services hard to understand, with a large proportion saying they have never been told the reason for a rejection for a financial product.

“There are so many people that are being overlooked. For me when we think about diversity, this isn’t a ‘nice to have’, this is not about doing someone a favour, this is about doing the right thing,” he said.


The power of self

Mentorship is one way to ‘build a bridge’ for people and Imafidon said he has stood on the shoulders of many giants.

To all financial services providers, he said the top three things providers need to do are employ diverse staff to understand their clientele and give people the chance to provide context for their lives on applications.

He added that on recruitment, firms need to ask much more interesting questions during the interview process to get to character, beyond age and where you worked before – and offer paid internships.


A huge thanks once again to all our speakers at the leadership event

Learning outcomes:

– Understanding why socio-economic diversity, not just with access but, at senior levels matters, commercially and morally
– Highlighting the role of financial services in increasing social mobility
– Demonstrating the value of joining Progress Together

Tandem reduces rates by up to 90bps across second charge range

Tandem reduces rates by up to 90bps across second charge range

The lender is a ‘rate for risk’ lender so individually tailors products during underwriting for each client.

However, further rate discounts are available to borrowers across the entire product range for properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A, B, or C.

For properties with an A, B, or C rating, customers receive a rate discount of up to 0.5 per cent, aligning with Tandem’s stated goal to help UK consumers transition to greener homes, transport and lifestyles.

Tandem’s head of distribution for second charge, Nigel Brookes, said: “This is positive news for second charge brokers and their customers. These rate reductions will continue to help brokers deliver good customer outcomes and help clients manage ongoing cost of living challenges. This is the first of many positive steps forward Tandem Bank will take in 2024.”

The firm said: “We offer greener ways to save, borrow, spend and share. From low emission motor loans, to lending for greener home improvements, to EPC discount mortgages and green savings, its products make it easier for more people to choose a greener lifestyle and reduce carbon footprints.”

Tandem is headquartered across the North West employing over 500 people in Blackpool, Cardiff, Durham, London and Manchester.

WHJE Group signs up Jeff Knight

WHJE Group signs up Jeff Knight

The deal sees WHJE take a 75 per cent stake in the marketing training and consultancy firm, Grey Matter Marketing Solutions, launched by Knight in 2001.

WHJE was established in 2012 and comprises 15 marketing communications brands with 40+ employees and delivers a turnover of £7m.

Knight remains principal and an active shareholder and he will also continue to run the Mortgage Marketing Forum.

Over a lengthy career, Knight has held consultancy and marketing positions at a raft of heavyweight mortgage brands including Foundation Homeloans, Pepper, Castle Trust, GMAC RFC, Platform and Natwest.

Knight said: “This is really exciting, as the deal provides so many new opportunities for Grey Matter Marketing Solutions and its clients. As a company we have plans for growth and this deal will enable us to offer a wider range of services to clients and bring an important additional service and a new potential to WHJE.”


WHJE: ‘Grey Matter brings a new bespoke service to our group’

Martin Wiggins, chief executive officer, WHJE, welcomed the news, adding: “Grey Matter Marketing brings a new bespoke service to our group and an opportunity for both companies to meet the challenges and opportunities of a new media age together.”

“We look forward to helping Grey Matter Marketing grow in its core markets and beyond, ” he said.

Grey Matter Marketing Solutions provides a range of strategic marketing consultancy services as well as bespoke marketing training and development for organisations.

WHJE now has 14 firms within is group, which include WPB, media buyer Cloth Court and brandformula.

‘There’s pressure to make rates a little more competitive’ – Duncombe

‘There’s pressure to make rates a little more competitive’ – Duncombe

On mortgage affordability and innovation, Duncombe said: “We’re probably in a period now where rates are a little bit more stable but there’s still pressure to make sure they become a little more competitive.

“In terms of procuration fees, we feel at 30 basis points on product transfers, that’s a really fair and competitive figure in fact, almost as much as many lenders pay on their front book pricing.”

In the third debate in the series, in association with Accord Mortgages, he continued: “Having said that, there’s a real difference between some lenders’ affordability [calculators] as well, so I’d encourage brokers to really look at those affordability measures and compare lenders, because you will find quite a big difference depending on how those lenders work. And from our point of view that works quite well.”


August gross mortgage lending high

Duncombe said Accord Mortgages had seen its biggest ever August gross lending figures despite the month traditionally being one of the quietest of the year.

“This year it was our biggest ever application August, which sounds really weird, but I think off the backdrop of other lenders being a bit quieter during that period and then our approach, our share has been a lot higher this year.

“It’s a much smaller market but we’re getting a bigger share of that and I think a lot of that is down to our flexibility and common sense and the fact people need to take affordability to the level where they can get the best deal for themselves. That’s really played in our favour this year,” he said.

Mortgage Solutions contributing editor Victoria Hartley asked Rachel Geddes, MD of Global Mortgage Management, what needs to change for brokers to help them work more effectively for their clients.

Geddes said: “One of the things we’ve seen is how quickly products have been withdrawn this year. Changing that pace. Because brokers work long hours and they’re monitoring these mortgages day in day out and they’re getting rate withdrawals sometimes with two to three hours notice. They do feel like they’re on the back foot.”


Detailed lender communications needed on rates and criteria changes

Geddes said lender communications need to be far more detailed and offer all the product information immediately instead of offering an alert on the simple fact the rate had changed.

“We need brokers to be informed quicker and better about what those rate changes actually are,” said Geddes.

“Brokers are getting inundated with emails of rates changes and criteria changes day in day out.”

To Duncombe, Geddes said: “We want to see more. You’re so good at taking a commonsense approach, looking at incomes and [asking] how can we help a client. You’re looking for a ‘yes’.”

She added: “We need more lenders working with us, working with clients to help them get on the ladder and continue to progress with what they want to do with their families and their lives.”

Richard Merrett, director of strategy at Simplybiz said the industry has become obsessed with speed becoming code for good service.

“It’s not all about speed. It’s about certainty and confidence. Some lenders will have withdrawn products citing that they needed to protect service. Service doesn’t matter if you can get the right outcome for your customer,” he added.




For more of the debates in the series, watch the first video in the series on buy to let and part two on first-time buyers.

Note: Subsequent to filming, Richard Merrett confirmed a move to start as MD at Alexander Hall.

A clean credit score, proof of affordability and broker soft skills key to FTB success – Geddes

A clean credit score, proof of affordability and broker soft skills key to FTB success – Geddes

In the second part of a video series in association with Accord Mortgages, Geddes said: “It’s taking FTBs a lot longer to actually get on the ladder. We’re working with them for maybe 12 to 18 months before they buy their property. So, its staying in contact with them, keeping confidence high in what they’re doing and preparing them because they often need a bigger deposit.”

Geddes added: “It’s changed for every age group. They’re paying more in rent, they’re getting married older, they’re having children and buying houses older. You’re seeing a mix of people having to buy together, so, friends, siblings. These things have really changed, so it’s working with them non-stop just to keep them confident in what they’re doing and when they’re going to do it.”

Due to the smaller deposit, credit scores have to be clean and first-time buyers have to know they’ll need to document all additional ancillary income, including commissions or bonuses, said Geddes.

“We need proof of it to be able to utilize affordability,” she said.

Richard Merrett, director of strategy for Simplybiz said technology adoption was helping brokers explore wider affordability options and said lenders like Accord who adopted a common sense approach to lending often applied a little more flexibility to policy and have become more popular with the intermediary market.

He added: “A lot of brokers have started to challenge customers more. So if you were a first-time buyer, buying a home, asking do you need that large PCP car loan, for example?”

Jeremy Duncombe, managing director at Accord Mortgages, said research from the lender showed people are concerned house ownership might become an elite privilege as we become a nation of renters over the next five years.

“Rising rents mean that drive to get on the housing ladder means people are making quite different decisions, whether its getting married later or not at all, buying later, or staying at home with parents. But while people are having to make these hard decisions, they are still choosing to go for that mortgage, so there are some really encouraging signs there,” said Duncombe.



See the first video segment on buy to let in this four-part series here.

Note: Since the recording of this video, Richard Merrett will return to Alexander Hall to take on a new role as its managing director in January.