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Fleet Mortgages new lending rises by over half YOY to £1.2bn

  • 09/01/2023
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Fleet Mortgages new lending rises by over half YOY to £1.2bn
Buy-to-let specialist lender Fleet Mortgages’ new lending completions in 2022 came to £1.2bn, the first full year of lending following its acquisition by Starling Bank.

This is 58 per cent up on the previous year’s figure of £782m.

The lender added that its busiest months for completions took place between August and November, and the average loan amount over the year was around £215,000.

Fleet Mortgages said its employee numbers had grown over the course of the year from 112 to 170 at the end of December.

The lender also introduced a satellite office in Cardiff, which has a specific focus on underwriting.


Quality of mortgage book high and arrears low

Fleet Mortgages said the quality of its mortgage was “very high” and landlord borrowers were managing their finances so they did not develop into higher mortgage arrears.

Arrears in the mortgage book were pegged at 11 across its 13,000 outstanding mortgages, up from the seven reported in the previous year.

The company said its lending mix had changed through the year, noting that rising interest rates had limited affordability during the last quarter of the year.

This also translated into high demand for tracker products, but Fleet said it expected for demand for five-year fixed rates to return in anticipation of a lower interest rate environment.

Fleets offers three core ranges, standard, limited company and houses in multiple occupation (HMO) and multi-unit freehold blocks (MUFB). It offers five and seven-year fixed rates, trackers, along with green fixed rates and  tracker deals.


Mortgage applications for investment properties growing

The lender noted that the proportion of mortgage applications for buying investment properties had risen during the second half of the year, with “significant demand” from portfolio landlords purchasing through special purpose vehicle limited companies. Areas outside of Greater London also seemed to be popular.

At the start of the year, around half of mortgage applications came from this source, and this increased to two thirds in the last quarter of 2022.

Services levels are high, with the lender assessing documents in 48 hours, conducting same day decision in principle reviews and providing valuation turnarounds in 48 hours.


Buy-to-let pricing to continue to settle after ‘rollercoaster year’

Steve Cox (pictured), chief commercial officer at Fleet Mortgages, said 2022 was a “rollercoaster year” for the mortgage market and it was “very pleased to be able to announce a significant increase in our lending completions”.

He said the firm had added “considerable resource” to the business, including hiring more people to the head office and opening its satellite office in Cardiff.

“This has allowed us to retain our service levels and to ensure we can work quickly on behalf of our intermediary partners and their clients,” Cox explained.

He noted that the support it had received from Starling was “top-class” and had allowed “enter the new year full of ambition to continue lending”. He added that professional and portfolio landlord sector of the market would “continue to thrive”.

Cox said it was “positive to see pricing coming off its most recent highs” and it expected this trend to continue in the year ahead.

He continued: “Fleet remains absolutely committed to this market, and we believe the fundamentals of the private rental sector remain strong particularly the high level of tenant demand that continues to exist against a backdrop of low supply.

“We therefore are fully committed in 2023 to providing them with the products and service level they, and their clients, have come to expect from us.

Nicola Richardson, Fleet Mortgages’ CFO, said the firm was delighted to have achieved more than £1.2bn in new lending completions.

“To reach this level while also growing a more sustainable, scaleable business – and given the macroeconomic conditions – is something the executive team are very proud of. 2023 will undoubtedly be a challenging year but with the support of Starling Bank, we look forward to continuing to serve this market,” she said.

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