Asked, “Do you predict a record year for your business despite the end of stamp duty post-June?,” 28.1 per cent of readers said, “Yes. A record year. Strong pipeline should keep us busy well into H2.”
The majority, 47.9 per cent, opted for, “Great start to the year, but slowdown after June.”
Meanwhile, 24 per cent answered, “Business as usual.”
Brokers pointed to numerous Covid-linked factors driving activity, including professions where people’s income had declined and they were now selling their properties, couples separating post-lockdown and looking for new homes, people moving closer to family, new working-from-home arrangements, and properties bequeathed where the owners lost their lives to the virus.
Dale Jannels, managing director at Impact Specialist Finance, said: “From our experience, we’re not seeing any let up in new business right now. Obviously business coming in today is not going to complete by end of June. But the next quarter will be the busiest of the year so far.
“As long as people know they are not necessarily going to meet that deadline, they still want to go ahead.
“We’re doing a lot of inherited properties, where people have unfortunately lost loved ones over the past 18 months, and so they have to buy it from the estate and then maybe buy out a sibling.
“As well as normal purchases — in some cases, people have been stuck indoors for the past 18 months with their partner, and it has either gone well or it hasn’t.
“There are very many different scenarios, it’s a busy, busy market,” Jannels said.
Advisers reported working harder and longer hours to keep up with a multitude of process and market updates, and levels of demand from customers.
In processing applications and handling documentation, sometimes working from home has meant that lender personnel are more likely to do things by the book, rather than having access to managers who can let them waive small requirements, as might have happened when working in an office.
Jannels said he was “encouraging people to turn off the mobile and take advantage of holiday entitlement.”
Meanwhile The Mortgage Hut has changed its entire process to cope with demand.
Nicola Arbon, managing director at The Mortgage Hut, said: “We used to get enquiries in and they’d go straight to our advisers. But it has increased so much it wasn’t feasible for our advisers to handle it. So we brought in a whole new team of lead managers, who qualify them, so that our advisers only speak to the serious enquiries.
“It has been a complete change to the business.
“We’re the busiest we’ve ever been, and with lending criteria changing every day.
“We are still incredibly busy with enquiries. We have seen a little bit of a downturn in the past couple of weeks, that’s more to do with people being allowed to go out again and not looking on Rightmove.
“We have lots of clients still looking, who may not have found a property in time for the stamp duty deadline, but have the bug and are still going to move.
Darren Meehan, broker and principal at Bright Money, said while some brokers had slowed down, remortgages were still trickling through.
“We have done about 30 or 40 per cent more business during Covid, so we haven’t had a lot of time to get out and unwind. We are perhaps a bit relieved that we’re not going to be under as much pressure,” Meehan said.
“People are starting to take a holiday now.”
He added that more 95 per cent lending coming in to the market, which was driving down rates at 90 per cent, was encouraging new buyers in.
David Sheppard, managing director at Perception Finance, added that a slowdown happened some weeks ago, and buyers were now coming back in.
“There’s a point now where the stamp duty incentive has been forgotten by those looking to buy.
“There are people who need to move for one reason or another. At this time of year, it’s parents thinking about school catchment areas for September and beyond. It’s maybe not as busy as I would normally expect for this time of the year, but it’s certainly picking back up again,” Sheppard said.