Expats, adverse credit and contractors among popular broker queries in Q4
According to the latest quarterly figures from Primis Mortgage Network’s product desk, there were 6,075 queries in Q4, which was slightly down from 6,413 queries in Q3.
Expat lending, which covers residential, buy-to-let (BTL) borrowers and foreign income lending, surged in Q4. This was partially attributed to several lenders bringing back high loan to value (LTV) BTL mortgages for expats and a softening of criteria to apply for these products.
Adverse credit queries also experienced an increase, with the report adding that there was “significant appetite” among lenders to help these kinds of borrowers.
It continued that there was a wide range of mortgages on offer to cater for these borrowers with more complex financial circumstances.
Primis said some lenders were offering higher LTVs for self-employed borrowers and others had cut the period for which earnings had to be shown, which made mortgages more accessible.
Queries for contractors and agency workers with irregular work, or those who had not been in the same line of work in the past 12 months, also grew.
Primis said this was because the pandemic had caused some people to take on new full-time or part-time work to supplement their come.
It added that some lenders had relaxed their criteria for freelancers and some would also accept those who had made use of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
Vikki Jefferies (pictured), proposition director at Primis, said the figures highlighted the “continued success” of its product desk in supporting brokers.
She added that demand in the mortgage market “remains strong” and said Q4 was one of the busiest periods throughout 2021.
Jefferies said: “Lenders have regained confidence as they introduce more options for borrowers with complex circumstances, such as adverse credit. For brokers, access to this broader range of mortgages could be critical to helping them support these customers to find a good deal, particularly with the recent rise in interest rates, and the possibility of further increases throughout 2022.
“Working together with the right network can empower brokers by giving them access to the most suitable and affordable products that meet their clients’ needs, and we look forward to continuing to provide our invaluable support to our brokers as we enter 2022.”
Holiday let interest grows in September – Primis
According to the Primis Mortgage Network product desk, holiday let mortgages were the most common broker query during the month.
This was followed by buy-to-let mortgages for first-time buyers and landlords with minimum income. The network said new investors were being enticed by low rates and a widening of product criteria to consider those with complex incomes.
Vikki Jefferies (pictured), proposition director at Primis, said: “Today’s results reflect the market’s ongoing recovery and buoyancy. With the recent boom in the staycation market, it’s of no surprise to see increased queries on holiday lets as people see their investment potential, especially in the run up to the festive season.”
She added: “The low rates and updated criteria from many lenders in the buy-to-let market also explains the rise in queries on these products, especially those tailored towards complex first-time landlords.
“However, with a potential rate rise looming, it will be interesting to see how queries evolve over the coming weeks, especially as more borrowers might look to fix into lower rates for longer.”
Queries for adverse credit mortgages also rose in September which the network said signalled a rise in lender confidence.
This was followed by searches for mortgages for the self-employed, particularly those on day rates or agency workers who have recently gone self-employed. It said this aligned with the increase in lenders now accepting borrowers who used government support during the pandemic.
Jefferies added: “It’s also especially promising to see high levels of queries on adverse credit and self-employed mortgages, suggesting that many borrowers who may have struggled during the pandemic are now able to access affordable products.”
The number of appointed representative brokers the product desk served also rose from 1,903 in August to 2,387 in September.
Coventry for Intermediaries’ bot-free chat gains rapid acceptance from brokers
The lender saw the communication channel grow in popularity from handling 20 per cent of incoming new business questions when it first launched, to 50 per cent today.
“We introduced this service based on broker feedback. Our focus was on personal contact, conversation and getting straight to an adviser. There are no bots involved and no automated or scripted responses,” said Keith Williams, intermediary operations manager at Coventry for Intermediaries.
“The younger generation of brokers, particularly, have adopted it, and the experience of brokers, and of our policy experts internally, has been positive,” Williams said.
The lender introduced the cloud-based technology alongside telephone support, with the same team of advisers crossing between channels.
The chat function was dedicated solely to new business lending policy enquiries, while the telephony service additionally offers support also across areas like products transfers, systems support and case processing.
The web-chat conversations have typically lasted for up to 30 minutes and the average wait-time for queries to be picked up is 33 seconds, the lender said.
There are currently no plans to expand the service, however, Williams said: “You can imagine in the future how it would be possible to add additional functionality, like video.”
Cladding, JBSP and expat deals add to rising number of broker queries – Primis
Questions most commonly focused on cladding, joint borrower sole proprietor products and expat borrowing.
Primis’s product desk answered 2,123 queries in total in July, compared to a monthly average of 2,083 last year.
The cladding issue drew questions trying to clear up confusion about criteria for EWS1 forms. The joint borrower sole proprietor queries reflected growing numbers of parents looking to help offspring get on the property ladder.
Finally, expat questions related to concerns that lenders may stop offering products to these borrowers owing to Brexit and this would preclude those clients from switching deals.
Vikki Jefferies, proposition director at Primis (pictured), said: “These figures demonstrate the success of our product desk, with the increase on July last year especially interesting given the high levels of market uncertainty at that time. Obviously we’re very pleased brokers have continued finding value in our support.
“There are still challenges in the market and we will continue to invest in our broker relationships and provide support through our product desk and virtual experts webpage,” Jefferies added.