Network JLM Mortgage Services raised the idea, suggesting that a homogenised product range is no longer suitable for the nation’s mortgage market and urged lenders to follow the lead of insurers who are able to tailor their products in a more personal way.
Sebastian Murphy, head of mortgage finance at the firm, said that this could present an opportunity for newer lenders. He said: “Previously we would have had the smaller building societies operating in such a way, and while this still goes on, the market in different areas of the country is crying out for something aimed specifically at them, especially for example in the specialist sectors.”
A wide range of options
Rachel Lummis, mortgage adviser at Xpress Mortgages, argued that so long as a lender’s offering covers a variety of options “then it shouldn’t matter if the property is in London or Lands End”.
She continued: “Rather than concentrating on an area and adding to a broker’s work, if a lender’s product range can cater for all with a suite of products that offers various options – free valuation, free legals, cashback deals, no or low arrangement fees, for example – then that should work, whatever area you are in.”
Don’t let south east drive minimum loan sizes
Mark Dyason (pictured), director of Edinburgh Mortgage Advice, said that lenders can have products which suit specific regions “without having a ‘north east exclusive’ style”.
He agreed that most lenders have ranges that offer a blend of fee and rate, but argued that it’s important to ensure that minimum loan sizes are not being driven by house price levels in the south east.
“More lenders coming to Scotland and especially to Northern Ireland would benefit lenders, in terms of business spread and balancing their books, and add to the client’s options,” he concluded.
One-size-fits-all approach is not helping
David Sheppard, managing director of Perception Finance, suggested that there is no need for products to be region specific, but said lenders should be more tolerant over certain types of property on a regional basis.
He explained: “Within the larger cities there are many new build developments that are very high and there are also the flats above commercial units or ex-local authority flats in good locations that can be an immediate refusal when they should be considered due to the demand for property in these areas.
“It is time for lenders to be less restrictive in this area and start to consider that having a one-size-fits-all approach for the entire country is not helpful,” Sheppard added.