Know Your BDM: Claire Askham, Buckinghamshire Building Society

Know Your BDM: Claire Askham, Buckinghamshire Building Society

 

Which locations do you cover?

My role is key account manager for the north supporting relationships across brokers, mortgage clubs and networks – my area is slightly more than North, including East Anglia, West and East Midlands, North West and North East, Humberside and the best place in the country – my home town, Yorkshire.

 

How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers

I pride myself on ensuring that I provide an excellent relationship with my brokers , always in contact with them – not promising something that I cannot deliver. Brokers are looking for a quick response from a key account manager even if it is a no.

I take time to understand the business needs of my brokers, which helps me understand where we can support them as a lender, and help them grow their business.

I feel that I am friendly and approachable with my brokers either over the phone or in a face-to-face situation building a strong trust with them.

 

What is the best bit of career related advice you have ever been given?

When I first started my journey in to financial services I was processing second charge lending applications, each case was a little tricky and not straight forward – a little like today’s market.

However, my manager at the time said to me when looking at an application, if you think that you would lend the money yourself, then you know that the case has merits and to always go with your gut feeling.

This has helped me in so many ways, even more so with cases now not always being straightforward, it helps me know when I should push a case.

 

What was your motivation for a career in financial services and the mortgage industry?

It was not something I had ever really thought about, as I did not really have a set plan doing many different jobs. However, I fell in to financial services back in 2000, working for First National Bank. It was from then that I really got the buzz, and I was hooked.

I have worked in lots of areas in financial services from bank lenders, mortgage clubs, building societies, specialist lenders and even working in a broker environment.

This has really helped me in my career, as it has given me an understanding of the different areas and helped me understand both broker and lender’s view. I cannot imagine ever working in any other industry now.

 

How has your role has changed since Covid and what do you think it will look like in 2021?  

The role has changed over the years in so many ways, but even more so now with less face-to-face visits.

More appointments are being done over the phone or via Zoom, which means that we can contact more brokers in a day, meaning we are more efficient and quicker to respond back to brokers calls.

I think the role is even more important now, with cases being tricky to place.

With events held remotely as well now, we are all learning how else we can communicate.

However, I am a people person so I’m hoping that we will be back to some sort of normality in 2021 with some events and meetings able to go ahead. I had my first face-to-face meeting last week – my first since March – it was great to be back in a broker’s office… Covid safe of course.

 

What is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

I was always told that there is no such thing as a strange question – although I think I sometimes ask a few.

 

Advisers who offer later life options should find growing demand and opportunity – Wilson

Advisers who offer later life options should find growing demand and opportunity – Wilson

 

But I think it’s fair to say that for many older workers, Covid-19 and the subsequent fall-out may well take that decision out of their hands.

To be told that your job no longer exists is going to be hard no matter what age you might be.

However, if you’re an older worker and had no plans to retire before the pandemic hit, then you may well feel even more dismayed by such an outcome.

Some might point at such workers and say, “Well, get another job.” But as I think we all know only too well, the older you are, the more difficult it can be to get work, especially with the same salary, benefits or hours.

Experience counts for a lot – it’s one of the reasons why more people are happy to work past the traditional retirement age and why more employers will hire those in this age bracket. But it can also mean the individual can be perceived to come with a hefty ‘price tag’ and employers might wonder how much longer they will be willing to stay in employment.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) throw into sharp focus the large numbers of older people who have already been impacted by Covid-19 and the subsequent recession.

According to the ONS, employment amongst the over-65s was already down by 161,000 in quarter two this year compared to the previous quarter, and while some of those might have already found other employment, there may be a great many who believe their working lives are now essentially over.

As mentioned, if you were not ‘ready’ for such a momentous life decision you may well feel you are not in a position financially to be able to cope with a greater period of retirement than you anticipated.

Again, according to the ONS, men who are currently aged 65 can expect to live until they are 85, while women of the same age live a couple of years longer. That’s 20-years-plus retired and, it will not need me to tell you, that average pension pots are ill-equipped to deal with this amount of time, without earning any supplementary income or finding other retirement solutions.

 

Equity release provides more options

Advisers, I suspect, will already be hearing from individuals who now find themselves in a vastly different situation than they were at the start of the year. Retirement, which may have seemed a long way off, has not just crept up on them, but bolted headlong through the door, leaving a worried individual who might wonder how they will cope going forward.

The good news of course is that such individuals have more options to deal with these changed circumstances – could they have coped were a similar situation to have hit them 10/15/20 years ago? They certainly wouldn’t have been able to access the equity within their home through the variety of products available today, that’s for sure.

Clearly, we’re not saying that equity release or a retirement interest mortgage (RIO) is going to be right for everyone, but if they do own their own home, at least they have a greater number of potential solutions at their disposal. Ones that won’t just allow them to stay in their home for the foreseeable future but will also provide them with the income they may need in order to have a far more comfortable retirement.

In a society with an ageing population, and where the advice need of older consumers is that much greater, advisers who can offer a range of later life products should find a growing demand and a commercial opportunity which could make all the difference to those older clients who need that help now, perhaps more than ever before.

Change is ever-present in the mortgage market and brokers need to keep pace – Firth

Change is ever-present in the mortgage market and brokers need to keep pace – Firth

 

The affect on the property market rumbles on, even without the ever-present threat of a second wave, and further lockdowns. Across the main residential and buy-to-let categories, brokers’ criteria searches on Knowledge Bank continue to reflect this.

There are some signs, however, that the market is adapting to the new world. While this may be different from what we saw before Covid-19 struck, it is in brokers’ nature to take things in their stride.

It is no surprise to find that searches for ‘temporary maximum loan to value (LTV)’ continue to top the charts in terms of broker searches in the residential category.

The early evidence suggests that the Stamp Duty holiday announced by the chancellor in July, is so far having more of an impact on bringing existing homeowners into the market for a move, rather than incentivising prospective first-time buyers.

Increasing the availability of higher-LTV loans may help to change this, and recent moves in the right direction from lenders are therefore welcome.

The unwinding of the coronavirus job retention scheme is clearly beginning to have an effect, as searches for ‘furloughed workers’ have slipped from their highs in previous months. In some cases, this is because people have been able to return to work.

The flip-side is that, as government support is withdrawn, some employers are finding it necessary to make permanent redundancies. The prevalence of this search seems likely to recede further as the number of furloughed workers continue to decline.

Buy to let changed by Covid

It is in the buy-to-let market that we find perhaps the clearest impact from the Covid-19 outbreak.

Recent weeks have seen holidaymakers returning from breaks in continental Europe only to find themselves caught by new quarantine requirements.

At the same time, many people are now looking for a bolt-hole closer to home. This has made the holiday-let market a much more attractive proposition, giving borrowers somewhere to ‘get away from it all’ while also offering attractive income generation prospects.

Change is an ever-present in the mortgage market, and the last few months have taken this to a new level.

Borrowers’ needs and demands are changing rapidly, and lenders are also responding on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Brokers need to keep pace, and those who have access to the right technology will have a head start.

Tech is essential for advisers in the fight against mortgage fraud – Murphy

Tech is essential for advisers in the fight against mortgage fraud – Murphy

A previous article by Bob Hunt on advisers’ duty of care recently raised this important issue.

His piece missed a key point, though.  

While advisers are the first line of defence against mortgage fraud and they can be liable if fraudulent activity occurs as part of a mortgage transaction, they do not have to fight the battle alone. There is sophisticated technology available to support them in defending both themselves and their clients against financial criminals.  

 

Defending advisers 

The most common type of fraud in financial services is identity fraud. ID fraud made up 61 per cent of fraudulent activity in 2019 according to Cifas, with 87 per cent occurring online.  

An additional threat is income fraud – in the mortgage industry, these incidents occur when borrowers pose as someone they are not, or claim an income they do not receive, to obtain a mortgage.  

We saw this most prominently with self-certified mortgages in the lead up to the 2008 financial crash. 

Even if fraud only appears in one per cent of cases, the money in question could be substantial. For example, there were 58,890 home purchase mortgages completed in December 2019 alone, totalling £11.9bn, according to UK Finance, meaning fraudulent cases could amount to as much as £119m per month.  

Protecting against ID fraud requires a robust solution for ID and address verification.  

Performing these checks manually can be costly, cumbersome, and time-consuming. However, through digitisation and automation, these checks can be seamlessly integrated into an end-to-end mortgage process and improve the speed, efficiency, and cost of verification.  

Combined with advancements like open banking to connect directly to customers’ accounts and verify income, technology is working to make it easier for advisers to meet regulatory requirements at the touch of a button. 

 

Protecting clients 

Of course, advisers must also protect their client against the threat of data breaches, which could concede personal information, client money or both.  

The risks of borrowers publicising their property transactions via social media and the risk of fraudsters using these details to target emails are important, but it is also important to note that simply being an adviser makes you a key target for financial criminals.  

Email is notoriously unsafe and sharing confidential documents through this medium is not only bad practice, it’s dangerous. 

Again, this threat can easily be reduced by using a sophisticated tech platform that digitises data, allowing it to be stored and shared securely via the cloud. This provides an additional barrier between client information and fraudsters.  

The crucial point here, and the point that advisers must be aware of, is that your duty of care against fraud is vital, but you are not in this fight alone.  

By adopting the right tech platform, you can significantly increase your line of defence, and simplify your work in the process. 

 

Shortage of high LTV mortgages creates tricky advice environment – Clifford

Shortage of high LTV mortgages creates tricky advice environment – Clifford

 

In recent weeks we’ve seen further contraction in the high LTV space by a number of lenders and we’ve reached a point where we might justifiably ask whether 85 per cent is the new 90/95 per cent?

Products are of course still available at 90 and 95 per cent LTV level, but nowhere near the number the market wants. And the question must be asked whether the market can learn to cope without 90 per cent and above or if it needs to lobby for, and await, a meaningful return.

Of course, in an environment where we have the significant incentive of a stamp duty holiday, the high LTV position is doubly frustrating.

Most first-timers have become used to calling upon high LTV mortgages to get on the housing ladder and there will be plenty of existing borrowers who may find themselves having to move onto their standard variable rate (SVR) if the product availability at the higher levels just isn’t there.

It would be easy to place the blame for this purely at the door of lenders, but I think most reasonable practitioners will understand the pressures and risks lenders are currently facing.

Not just in terms of assessing increased or changing credit risk in an uncertain economic environment with unemployment on the rise and the UK in recession, but also in terms of firms’ operational constraints.

Lenders have had to adapt to remote working, and many have had to cope with offshore offices being closed. It has been a challenging time to process growing levels of business to say the least.

 

Advisers adapting to the market

That said, it’s also important to appreciate the difficult position this market places advisers in. A dearth of high LTV products undoubtedly affects broker prosperity if they are unable to source mortgages and it also increases the complexity of the adviser’s job.

How do you best satisfy clients who have a five or 10 per cent deposit when lending at this level is seriously scarce?

Is there a possibility to get to 15 per cent, taking into account the stamp duty holiday? Can family support be utilised and, if so, what are the best mortgage options taking that into account?

We are fortunate in the market in that there are a number of schemes and lending options for clients impacted by the product shortage, but it can take time to line up a solution, especially in a market which is so changeable.

The more positive news is that certainly our AR firms are coping well with the absence of high LTV options and are able to either work with clients to get them to a satisfactory mortgage solution, or manage expectations of what is (and isn’t) achievable.

But there’s no doubt that the situation will have an impact on all stakeholders.

For example, one mainstream lender has seen their market share of business from Stonebridge halve as a result of its current product range – which includes a distinct lack of higher LTV products. This is clearly a reflection of that lender’s current strategy – and networks, advisers and customers will be missing the lack of availability from that lender.

Ultimately, it may well be that latter point which results in change – lenders’ appetites for annual lending figures largely remain and may well result in a move back towards higher LTVs, thereby delivering the extensive consumer choice which the UK mortgage market is famous for.

The cost of aborted transactions means they must be kept to a bare minimum – Rudolf

The cost of aborted transactions means they must be kept to a bare minimum – Rudolf

 

That said, I’m also hearing frustration around some of the operational issues advisers are having with lenders. Concerns include the aforementioned lack of products in certain sectors, and the perceived unlevel playing field in terms of offerings through certain distribution channels and indeed in terms of government support (or otherwise) in different countries.

Some of these issues seemed somehow inevitable, especially with the lockdown situation, social distancing, workplace issues changing the very nature of the market and what can be achieved.

However, there are some property market problems that have been with us a long time, and which continue to frustrate all stakeholders, particularly as it is within our means to eradicate many of them.

The prime example of this is the sheer number of aborted transactions we have every single year, the huge costs they incur, and the lost income they inevitably result in.

What will frustrate mortgage advisers is these cases often look destined to complete without any hitches, only to end up on the scrapheap.

At a time when I’m sure you want to make the most of any case which is ‘complete-able’ to have them fall through – through no fault of your own or perhaps your client – will raise the hackles of even the most patient of advisers.

Recent research suggested the most common reasons for an aborted transaction are around buyers changing their mind, sellers pulling out due to the speed of the process, and gazumping. It does not take a genius to work out that there are measures that could be put in place to stop all the above.

Better upfront information giving a clear picture of what buyers are getting, the potential use of reservation agreements to secure greater commitment between buyer and seller, greater use of technology within the conveyancing process to speed it up, are hardly the stuff of science fiction.

The good news is that there is a far greater level of buy-in and commitment to improving the experience of all stakeholders within the homebuying process.

Great strides have already been made and we are getting there, but it will still need the agents, lenders, advisers, conveyancers and government, to keep pushing to ensure that the number of fall-throughs is nowhere near the current level.

A lot of commentators talk about what should be the major takeaways post-lockdown in the housing market; my view is that getting the process right to ensure aborted transactions are always at a bare minimum, has to be the major goal.

The benefits of getting this right will be seen by all practitioners and all clients for many years to come, and now is the time to deliver.

Landlords, investors and developers are all looking to take advantage of opportunities – Ying Tan

Landlords, investors and developers are all looking to take advantage of opportunities – Ying Tan

 

Meaning that activity across the buy-to-let arena continues at a decent pace, especially amongst specialist lenders. 

So, let’s start with some good news from Accord Buy to Let who resumed accepting applications from first-time landlords up to a maximum loan-to-value of 75 per cent. The intermediary lender has reinstated all of its existing first-time landlord criteriaas of March 2020, up to 75 per cent LTV, for any applications now received. 

Vida Homeloans has relaunched into the mortgage market with its core range of residential and buy-to-let products available up to a maximum of 85 per cent LTV.  

As part of its return, the lender has introduced specific criteria to tackle the new economic environment including payment holidays, furlough and bounce back loans.  

In other product related news, West One has launched two limited edition buy-to-let deals for standard and specialist landlords.  

The first deal is a five-year fixed rate loan, with a 75 per cent LTV and a three-year early repayment charge. Rates start at 4.04 per cent on loan sizes from £50,000 to £1m, with terms from five to 30 years.

This loan is available for houses, leasehold flats and maisonettes, new-builds, houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), multi-unit freehold blocks (MUFBs) and holiday lets, including Airbnb. 

The second limited edition product is a five-year fixed rate deal with a maximum loan capped at £250,000. For standard properties, the rate is 3.59 per cent and for specialist securities the rate is 3.79 per cent.  

The maximum loan-to-value is 70 per cent with a minimum loan size of £50,000.  

 

Rate changes 

Foundation Home Loans has enhanced rates on three of its five-year buy-to-let products, available to both limited company and individual landlord borrowers.  

Within the F1 buy-to-let product range – for landlord borrowers with an almost clean credit history – the specialist lender has cut five-year rates on its 65 per cent LTV product to 3.24 per cent from 3.39 per cent, and on its 75 per cent LTV product to 3.49 per cent from 3.59 per cent 

Both products come with a two per cent fee. 

Foundation has also dropped the rate of its large loan, five-year 65 per cent LTV buy-to-let product from 3.29 per cent to 3.14 per cent; this comes with a minimum loan size of £500,000, and a maximum of £2m. These rate reductions follow its recent return to offering 80 per cent LTV buy-to-let products. 

 

LTV adjustments 

Focusing further on LTV changes, The Mortgage Lender has increased its loan-to-value from 65 per cent to 75 per cent on all buy-to-let remortgage products. The rise means there are no limits on the amount of capital a landlord is able to raise in England, Scotland and Wales through a remortgage up to 75 per cent LTV. The facility is available across The Mortgage Lender’s core product range. 

And last but not least, Darlington Intermediaries has extended the end dates to its Specialist Discounted Rate Mortgage range, including a three-year expat buy-to-let product. The specialist range comprises of products that sit outside standard lending criteria such as complex income and complex properties. 

August may not have been the busiest month when it comes to product launches but it’s evident that confidence continues to build across the sector.  

Choice is a key ingredient for intermediaries, landlords, investors and developers who are all looking to take advantage of the opportunities being presented within such buoyant purchase and rental markets.  

And with additional options emerging across many areas of the buy-to-let and more specialist markets, it’s fair to say that we should expect these confidence levels to increase further and for activity levels to heat up in the coming months. 

 

Time running out for landlords to take advantage of stamp duty holiday – Young

Time running out for landlords to take advantage of stamp duty holiday – Young

 

But delve a little deeper into the call from Mortgages for Business to landlords to do just this and you’ll see that there is plenty behind the headline to justify those investors getting their houses in order right now if they want to complete by 31 March 2021.

Not least of course is the process they will need to go through when they have found a property they want to put an offer on.

There is no doubting that everyone will be working flat out in order to achieve completion by that date, and there are clear historical precedents for when the entire industry did just that.

You only need to go back to 2015/16 when the three per cent stamp duty surcharge was about to be introduced, to see the increase in demand, landlord activity, and in pressure on property professionals to get these sales over the line before the extra charges kicked in.

 

Not the same scenario

However 2020/21 feels a lot to different to back then.

We are barely out of lockdown, many firms are still not at full capacity, thousands of people are not in offices, many are still furloughed, and there is uncertainty about second waves, local lockdowns and what this might mean for moving property sales through the system.

You might also have seen the recent suggestion, from the Conveyancing Association based on the average time of marketing to completion, that a property would need to be up for sale by the end of September in order to complete by the end of March and thus secure the stamp duty saving.

I suspect that’s an average taken from previous years, not this one.

The good news however is that, based on initial activity levels post-stamp duty announcement, landlords are not being deterred by this, although their expectation that a sale can be completed is going to need to be matched by reality.

 

Advantage may slip away

As Mortgages for Business pointed out, while supply of homes for sale should improve over the coming weeks and months, this does not necessarily favour landlords as the current situation may do now.

We were already seeing an uptick in remortgage activity immediately post-lockdown – before the stamp duty announcement was made – which seemed to show that landlords were literally gearing up to add to portfolios anyway.

If they have that finance in place, the ability to secure a property now will clearly put them in a strong position in terms of making offers and having them accepted.

As supply increases, and residential owners get to grips with their own needs and purchase options, that ready to move quickly advantage may slip away.

 

Competitive market

There are other existing advantages for landlords right now that may not hold forever – namely strong competition from buy-to-let lenders, keen pricing and broadening criteria, plus current property valuations which may begin to inch up the further along we move.

From our perspective, there is a strong desire to help as many landlord borrowers as possible to secure their remortgages/purchase loans in order to help them achieve a stamp duty saving and to do everything we can to get them to completion well in advance of the deadline.

The ability to do that will however rely on the market looking more normal for the next seven months or so, and for no significant Covid-19 related setbacks.

This is truly the great unknown and, as advisers active in this market, there is therefore no reason to hold back on a message that mirrors that of Mortgages for Business.

The time for landlords to act is now.

 

 

Ignoring existing protection plans and inadequate research creates compliance issues – Lakey

Ignoring existing protection plans and inadequate research creates compliance issues – Lakey

 

Many early to mid-year intentions have been placed on the backburner with a view to introducing them in autumn and early winter months and so September and October are going to be far busier than usual.

The year started briskly with Scottish Widows and LV= improving their plans, as covered in depth in my February round up.

 

Royal London

Mid-March found Royal London introducing numerous changes. Like Aviva and L&G it has removed HIV as a condition and included removal of an eyeball. Four additional payment conditions were added – carotid artery stenosis, cerebral or spinal aneurysm, cerebral or spinal arteriovenous malformation and non-malignant tumour of the pituitary gland.

Brain injury due to anoxia or hypoxia has been merged with traumatic brain injury to sensibly consolidate two conditions with similar claim requirements.

Similarly, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have finally been merged into a single condition. This has long been a source of exasperation because Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia and while its inclusion bulked up condition numbers, it was pointless.

Pulmonary hypertension had its reach extended by removal of the need for it to be primary.

The drug or alcohol exclusions have been removed from accidental hospitalisation, benign brain or spinal cord tumour, coma, intensive care and liver failure – all of which increase the potential for future claims.

The final improvement related to extending the age range for child cover to 21st birthday or 23rd birthday if in full-time education.

 

Aegon

Early April brought a number of alterations from Aegon. Like Royal London, it merged brain injury due to anoxia or hypoxia and traumatic brain injury and also removed the drug or alcohol exclusion from liver failure, loss of limb and paralysis.

Other notable improvements included radiotherapy and chemotherapy being added as treatments for benign brain tumour and the cardiomyopathy definition now allowing either a reduced ejection fraction or New York heart association III as triggers for a claim.

Early stage prostate cancer can now be treated by hormone therapy, brachytherapy or radiotherapy. The deafness trigger has been reduced from 90db to 70db in the better ear. A number of other conditions have been reworded or slightly enhanced.

Unusually Aegon decided to remove a number of conditions that result in few if any claims – accidental hospitalisation, critical fracture cover, donor cover, intensive care, paralysis, removal of an eyeball and rheumatoid arthritis.

Finally, child cover has been extended to end at 22nd birthday instead of 21st and the survival period cut from 14 to 10 days.

 

LV=

Unsurprisingly May and June passed without change, then in July LV= introduced its second upgrade of the year – this time focusing only on child-related cover.

Ten new child specific conditions were added – cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, diabetes type 1, Down’s Syndrome, Edward’s Syndrome, hydrocephalus, intensive care, muscular dystrophy, Patau Syndrome and spina bifida.

Additionally, the £5,000 child death benefit was extended to include stillbirth. As with some competitors, a fixed £5,000 payment for certain named pregnancy complications was introduced.

 

Aviva

In late August, Aviva made headlines for the welcome slimming down of its condition numbers. Previously it had led the way in the removal of HIV and loss of speech.

On this occasion stroke and spinal cord stroke were integrated into one condition and similarly brain injury due to anoxia or hypoxia and traumatic brain injury.

Logically, Aviva also recognised that sixteen less advanced cancers used identical surgery requirements so these have been removed with the creation of two new wider-ranging conditions – less advanced cancer in situ with surgery and low malignant tumour of gastro-intestinal stromal (GIST) and neuroendocrine (NET) types. Not only has this reduced sixteen conditions to two but has also served to widen the coverage as other in situ cancers will fall within the scope of the claim wordings.

As August draws to an end HSBC has opted to remove HIV form its roster of conditions.

 

Two key messages

There are two messages from the year thus far.

First, plans are continuing to be improved which is good for consumers and readily enables advisers to strike up sensible conversations with their clients.

The second relates to the greater focus on simplifying plans rather than the mad dash to add yet more conditions, many of which will never result in a claim.

The regular review of existing plans is something I endorse.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) regularly receives complaints from policyholders where a claim has been denied because their old plan did not include the condition being claimed for yet the insurers current plan now includes it.

Professional indemnity (PI) insurers also now ask what research is carried out when re-broking critical illness plans.

Clearly this is an area where ignoring existing plans or failing to adequately research alternatives can create compliance problems and potentially trigger a complaint.

 

 

Huge demand for holiday lets, but where are the lenders? – Karasavvas

Huge demand for holiday lets, but where are the lenders? – Karasavvas

 

You can see why our knowledgeable clientele are rushing towards these opportunities.

Great returns, even in low seasons, coupled with the added bonus that it’s something the family can also enjoy, creating memories as the kids grow up.

Beautiful places around the UK such as Cornwall, Devon, Norfolk, Pembrokeshire to name but a few, have beaches that compare to some of the finest overseas but as they are UK based, often get forgotten.

Well not anymore.

Now more than ever, the attraction of seaside towns are a little more astute than arcades, ice cream parlours and dodgems.

Coronavirus travel restrictions, quarantine rules, and genuine fear by many to travel, have seen a huge upturn in enquiries and it turns out these little beauties can be quite an investment.

 

Missing lenders

One thing, however is missing. Where are the lenders?

Many mutuals have been supporting this type of investment for years but the high street banks are not at the table.

The result of this is that a currently thriving market has very little competition on price. With minimal competitors, there are no price wars so rates are fairly high.

The calculation of what can be used varies from lender to lender, but common place is to find the median of the low, medium and high seasonal rental figure which is normally driven by a reputable local agent.

Lenders will then work off a weekly numerical value, which seems to be 24 in today’s climate but was normally 30, and this would then be worked back on a stress test to give the borrowing potential.

With astronomical increases in rent due to demand, this can result in a higher average, meaning higher borrowing can be available.

Others will tend to work off the “safer” aspect of a normal assured shorthold tenancy (AST) but the downside here is that it may not generate the same kind of leverage.

But lenders need to take stock of risk, and many want the assurance that if any defaults occur, the property can be let on a standard AST while they recover the debt.

 

Funding exhausted

West One are a relatively new addition to the funding of holiday lets but see a potential gap in the market that they are targeting. Is this a trend we will see from others?

In what is a growing market, some of the smaller building societies have mentioned they have had to withdraw due to allocated funds already having been exhausted.

This in turn will result in even less competition and as we have seen in the residential space, an increase in margins due to restriction.

I spoke with one lender last week and was amazed to discover their annual holiday let funding budget had been exhausted as early as May this year, due to the huge increase in demand, so more additions like West One are certainly needed for the benefit of the borrower.

But will we see a rush to assist?

 

Valuable assets available

As people flood to invest in homes in the coastal regions, surely only one thing can happen – this huge increase in demand will result in a lack of supply, especially given such areas are very limited.

The result, one would expect, will be a heavily weighted gain, that will outperform the saturated markets of previously popular investment such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and such where investment opportunities are abundant.

This may be a flash in the pan but speak to most brokers and you will get the same answer: holiday let enquiries are higher than ever before, and at present a quick search on Rightmove shows what bargains are to be had.

If this market gets supported by more mainstream lenders it could see a real boom in the next 12 to 18 months.

Like all investments, it will have its pitfalls and drawbacks but at present it looks like many people are seeing the merits of such an investment and the availability of these will reduce, making them all the more valuable as an asset.

I guess the next question is, who will join the mutuals and support what looks to be a growing sector?

Lenders, it’s over to you.