The buy-to-let Stamp Duty increase is well embedded along with changing rental calculations and the market is moving at speed, in a positive mode even in a post-Brexit economy.
What I have noticed though is that as new lenders enter the market and try to define and differentiate their propositions and existing lenders tweak their criteria, we seem to be slipping into old habits and trying to put everything into a box with a label. Why do we feel the need to do this?
The label that seems to be the most overused is complex prime. What exactly does this mean? What is ‘complex’; is it the person or the property?
I’m not sure there is a real definition for this type of lending, or whether it is just a catch-all label for non-high street lending. I can be cynical at times (must be part of the aging process) but I also understand the need for marketing spin to create a market norm.
However, surely not all non-high street lending is complex just because it fails a scorecard. When a case fails, perhaps it’s just a case of needing good old-fashioned broking skills to source the best deal. After all, that’s why the consumer uses the intermediary market.
Complex can be applied to a raft of different scenarios. It may be that it’s only available via limited distribution, and predominantly via a specialist distributor, even if the product is in most cases a standard product. It can mean certain product sets such as bridging, near prime and HMOs.
But does it really need this label? If we just call it residential (mainstream) and buy to let we can avoid putting the customer in a specialist box, which let’s be honest, they’d rather avoid, so we as an industry should step back from pushing the client into this category.