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Brokers welcome ‘dead’ August as chance to recharge before market returns ‒ analysis

  • 17/08/2023
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Brokers welcome ‘dead’ August as chance to recharge before market returns ‒ analysis
Intermediaries have welcomed the fact that business in August has been slow, suggesting it offers a chance to recover from the “rollercoaster” of recent months ahead of the market kicking back into gear in the autumn.

The summer months are traditionally slower for the property market, as transactions drop due to prospective vendors and buyers being on holiday. 

While many brokers told Mortgage Solutions that things have once again quietened down, some suggested this has not led to much in the way of a reduced workload as supporting clients takes longer currently. And others argued that their firms had actually seen activity levels spike, despite the usual seasonality of the market.

Put the period of calm to use

Lewis Shaw, founder of Shaw Financial Services, said that August was dead but this was welcome “as long as it’s temporary” after the “economic rollercoaster” of the past year.

He continued: “Anyone that is quiet should take the time to relax, recharge and revitalise themselves. It’ll all kick off again in September and then we’ll be yearning for the chance to catch a break. After three years of property and mortgage market tumult, it’s about time we returned to the norm.”

After a volatile first half of the year, Neezam Romjon, co-founder of Rebus Financial Services, said that it was welcome to have a period of calm in August.

“It’s allowed us to spend more time with our existing clients, reviewing their current deals and making sure we are staying on top of the market and locking in the most competitive deals for them,” he continued.

Martin Stewart, director of London Money, said that while there was activity, purchase transactions would remain down until confidence returns to the market and discretionary movers start to reappear.

He continued: “The market is dominated by product switching alongside a smattering of remortgages but those are for compelling purposes only, and not just for the giggles. There is no competition in the market currently and until lender appetite returns en masse we need to accept where we are and manage what we can in the interim.”

Time to wait and see

The summer slowdown started earlier than usual, according to Rob Gill, managing director of Altura Mortgage Finance, with buyers adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach as mortgage rates surged in June and July. 

The hope is lower mortgage rates from September will see those buyers come back to the market refreshed and with renewed enthusiasm,” he continued.

Daniel Knott, mortgage adviser at Active Financial, agreed that while the market is often quiet in August, the state of the market and interest rates means there is still a high level of enquiries since some are “worried about their position in the market”.

However, this may not necessarily be reflected in the number of transactions,” he continued.

Helping clients is taking longer

Samuel Mather-Holgate, independent financial adviser at Mather and Murray Financial, said the number of clients his firm was seeing was down significantly, due to new purchases “falling off a cliff”. He added that clients looking for remortgage options are “faced with miserable options”, meaning that the time taken per client ends up increasing.

“We are expecting to see new clients venture back to the market in the last quarter of 2023 when rates have plateaued and start to retreat.”


Busier than normal

However, not all brokers have seen business levels drop during the summer months.

Rhys Schofield, brand director at Peak Mortgages and Protection, said that August is normally only beaten by December for being slow, but this year has been different. He explained: “Enquiries have been brisk with purchase work, if anything, are getting busier in a more settled market and remortgage work continuing to be really strong.”

This was echoed by Alastair Hoyne, chief executive officer at Finanze, who said that his firm had seen a wave of investor clients come back to the market, while it has also seen a jump in £1m plus deals.

He added: “Off the back of this we have been extending our own capacity to cope with the volume of business and developing new facilities in the background to further help clients save money.

“We’re glad to see the efforts we’ve put into both creating new types of facilities and offering a level of service and care beyond the norm has lead to our continued growth.”

Ranald Mitchell, director of Charwin Private Clients, said that this summer has been “challenging”, with enquiry levels high and business “brisk” in August so far.

With what is going on around us, tear up the seasonal trend rulebook,” he continued.


Opening the door for brokers

Kylie-Ann Gatecliffe, director of KAG Financial, said that even though purchase activity had fallen, her firm had still enjoyed a busy few months, with more people than ever needing advice on their remortgage requirements.

And she suggested this has provided an opportunity for brokers to connect with clients who might ordinarily go directly to a lender. 

She explained: “Those that may have chosen to go directly to a bank are now seeking out a broker, as every penny counts in this current climate. So we have been busy taking on lots of new clients that are having their first experience of using a broker, which is great to see.”


What lies ahead?

Most brokers told Mortgage Solutions they were expecting to see things kick back into gear from September, once the school summer holidays have come to a close.

Stewart argued it was difficult to tell how much of the current lull was down to seasonal factors, adding: “Only when the kids are back at school and the grown-ups back at work will we get a better steer for how the rest of 2023 will look.”

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