Mortgage Solutions polled brokers on their confidence levels for the rest of the year, with 47% of brokers forecasting they will have an improved second half to the year. Around one in five brokers expect to do the same levels of business, with a further 20% expecting business levels to drop in the coming months.
Uncertainty can be a good thing
James McGregor, director at MESA Financial Consultants, noted that there is a strong remortgage market currently, with many borrowers appreciating the need for advice from professional advisers, and pointed to the uncertainties of Brexit and interest rates as driving further business.
He explained: “I believe uncertainty is a good thing for advisers, as we can be the sounding board to bring normality back in to people’s thoughts amongst all the mess.”
Stuart Gregory, managing director at Lentune Mortgage Consultancy, agreed, suggesting that brokers could benefit from the current Brexit uncertainty with borrowers looking to “take control of their own destiny”.
He continued: “The mortgage borrowers in the UK need to ensure that they don’t rely on others, for example the Bank of England, to give them clues on how to protect their futures.”
Keep pushing yourself
Helen Pierson, head of business development at Mortgage Bureau, said her firm has historically had a better second half year, which she put down to the brokerage’s “continuous drive for growth”.
She continued: “It sounds like management consultancy ‘poppycock’ I know, but having a clear vision of where you want to be focuses the mind on getting there.”
Pierson added that having a new build specialism was also driving increasing levels of business.
She said: “For schemes such as Help to Buy, it’s not unusual for a firm like Mortgage Bureau to be asked to complete Help to Buy forms for a client purchasing new build and using their own broker. It’s an acknowledgement of the value of and need for specialist knowledge, even by our mainstream broker peers.”
What can brokers and lenders do to drive more business in H2?
McGregor called on lenders to focus their marketing and product offering on first-time buyers, arguing that with prices reducing across the country this could encourage would-be buyers to take the plunge.
He added: “This is the same with brokers; by bringing in a new tranche of first-time buyers this will move the market on, as it would allow others to step up the ladder.”
Pierson added that margin pressure and strong competition meant lenders had less room to manoeuvre on rates, but suggested that improving criteria was one way they could help drive more business.
She added: “For a broker, keeping up to date with, who’s doing what – for example what each lender includes under ‘essential living costs’ and how net profit is determined for self-employed clients is absolutely pivotal in maximising the number of cases you can place.”