House prices hit £281,000 in April – ONS

House prices hit £281,000 in April – ONS

 

This was compared to the annual growth of 9.7 per cent recorded in March where average prices reached £278,000. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), house prices in April were £31,000 higher than the average price during the same period last year. 

ONS said the 12.4 per cent growth seen in April was the strongest since June last year but noted this was in comparison to a drop in house prices last April. House prices fell in April last year as the initial end of the stamp duty holiday in March resulted in a rise in purchase activity which pushed prices up. 

On a monthly basis, house price growth in April softened slightly with a 0.4 per cent increase on the previous month compared with a 0.7 per cent rise between February and March. 

 

Country and regional breakdown 

Average house prices in England increased by 11.9 per cent to £299,000, while in Wales there was a 16.2 per cent rise to £212,000. Average house prices in Scotland rose by 16.2 per cent to £188,000 and in Northern Ireland, there was a 10.4 per cent uptick to £165,000. 

Regionally, the South West reported the highest yearly growth in house prices with a 14.1 per cent jump. This was up from a growth rate of 10.5 per cent in March. 

London reported the lowest annual growth, as prices increased by 7.9 per cent. However, this was stronger than the 4.9 per cent yearly growth recorded in March. 

 

‘Agony’ for first-time buyers 

Noting that the annual rise in average house prices matched the average UK salary of £31,285 according to ONS, industry officials said this could be disheartening for first-time buyers. 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “The average home now costs over £30,000 more than it did this time last year, but with sluggish wage growth and lower disposable income, it may feel like the goal posts have been moved for first-time buyers.  

“Estate agents are still seeing an imbalance between supply and demand, with potential buyers queuing up as soon as properties come up for sale. When this eventually begins to narrow, we may see house prices cool down to more achievable levels.” 

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, added: “Your home made almost as much as you did last year, at an impressive £31,000. At the same time, inflation has been eating away at the real value of your mortgage, so anyone who owns their own home is quids in. But delight for homeowners means agony for prospective first-time buyers. 

“Prices continue to run away faster than they can ever hope to save a deposit. Even if the pace lessens, we’re not expecting the market to hit a brick wall. There’s still exceptionally little up for sale at the moment, so the market still has an enormous number of buyers who are keen to snap anything up that’s reasonably priced. This is going to keep a floor under prices for a while to come.” 

 

A historic picture 

Other sector professionals said the data did not reflect the current economic situation as that had moved on and house price inflation was due to slow. 

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said: “April is an age ago, so this data is not a true reflection of where the market is at right now. The era of ultra-cheap money is finito and that will soon start to feed through into house price growth.  

“Increased borrowing costs and the immense pressure on household finances will almost certainly start to temper demand in the months ahead, which will see the rate of price growth slow. The one constant in these times of flux, of course, is the lack of supply and homes being built. The dearth of good quality, affordable housing for sale will support prices even as we go through an unprecedented cost of living crisis.” 

Ross Boyd, founder of Dashly.com, said: “Property prices were on fire in April but that was then and this is now. Economic conditions have deteriorated significantly in the past few months at the same time as interest rates have risen. More rate rises are almost certainly on the cards as the Bank of England attempts to control inflation, which is now at 9.1 per cent.  

“It’s inconceivable to think the housing market will remain unaffected by the current interest rate cycle, which is now firmly on an upwards trajectory. The property market will cool throughout 2022 and in 2023. When they come to remortgage, it will be less a case of rate shock for many borrowers but rate trauma. The pending remortgage crunch will significantly add to the cost of living crisis. The cost to rent has hit another record high and that will drive a degree of demand as people seek to get onto the ladder.” 

Dashly announces multiple partnerships with advisory firms

Dashly announces multiple partnerships with advisory firms
Advisers at these firms will be able to alert their clients of new mortgage rates using the Dashly platform. This aims to help borrowers save money, taking into account early repayment charges and fees.

This comes following the appointment of senior sales development manager, Peter Harte, formerly of Mortgage Brain, to further establish Dashly within the intermediary community.

Martin Myers, managing director at Goldwyns Financial, said: “At a time when the property market is booming, we want to give our clients the best possible service – but we know that to beat our competitors we need to embrace the technology that will give us the edge.”

James Green, founder of Green and Green Mortgage Protection, said being able to use Dashly’s technology would allow the firm to give its clients a “truly personalised service”.

Tom Mullarkey, managing director of MortgageFinda said the function would help his firm have an : “exemplary relationship” with its clients.

Ross Boyd (pictured) CEO of Dashly, added: “Borrowers are matched with the most suitable deals, advisers can add genuine value to all client interactions, and now – with our recently launched Lending Labs offering – lenders too can take advantage of Dashly by designing mortgage products that appeal to the kind of customers they want.”

Last month, Dashly launched the product design platform Lending Labs to work with lenders to develop personalised home loans for segments of the market such as the police and armed forces.

It uses data collected from Dashly’s customer base to design bespoke mortgages for lenders. Once the loans have been designed, Dashly said one distribution option would be to target customers signed up to its switching service by notifying them and their broker that new deals that fit their circumstances are available.

Harte joins Dashly’s sales division to build network partnerships

Harte joins Dashly’s sales division to build network partnerships

 

Harte’s move to Dashly follows an 11-year period as sales development manager at software solutions firm Mortgage Brain.

For advisers, Dashly is a communications and marketing tool logging clients into an ‘always on’ algorithm constantly checking their mortgage deal against the market. When better deal flags are raised, advisers can choose to re-approach clients while maintaining regular communications to culture loyalty.

Iain Swatton, head of intermediaries at Dashly, said: “Peter’s prowess within our industry, unrivalled network relationships, and bespoke approach to sales gives us even more confidence that our clients can have the best possible experience when they choose Dashly.

“We look forward to developing new relationships across the sector with advisers and lenders alike so that we can transform the mortgage market for everyone involved in it, and Peter will be crucial to making that happen.”

The software firm confirmed it already has relationships with advice firms MMD, Paradigm, Oakwood, Primis and Quilter.

 

Tailored products

Last week, Dashly launched Lending Labs, a predictive analytics and insights engine that uses data to help lenders design and deploy specific products for customers, such as in this instance the police or armed forces, expected to launch before the end of the year.

The technology company confirmed Barclays and a number of building societies were ‘in talks’ about the service. Dashly said one distribution option would be to specifically target customers signed up to its switching service by notifying the customer and their broker that new deals fitting their circumstances are available.

Peter Harte, senior sales development manager at Dashly, said: “After over 25 years in mortgages, my instinct was that the product should fit the person.

“Dashly is the only firm offering this kind of holistic service while championing the importance of human advice, and I relish the opportunity to persuade even more firms that embracing its sophisticated technology can help them retain valued customers, and get ahead of the competition.”

Harte was also part of the industry-wide team that developed the Blood Bank initiative, a blood donation drive that aims to increase awareness to boost NHS blood supplies at a time when the service is under enormous pressure.

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Dashly readies launch of personalised mortgages with lenders on board

Dashly readies launch of personalised mortgages with lenders on board

 

Dashly says it already has Barclays and a number of building societies interested in its service, which the firm calls Lending Labs.

Lending Labs is a newly set up platform that uses data collected from Dashly’s customer base to design bespoke mortgages for lenders. Once the loans have been designed, Dashly said one distribution option would be to specifically target customers signed up to its switching service by notifying them and their broker that new deals that fit their circumstances are available.

Dashly says two types of personalised mortgages are currently under development and will be available to borrowers before the end of the year. The first is a mortgage designed for police and armed forces personnel.

Features including enhanced affordability criteria to take into account the rapid rise in police officers’ salaries during the first five years of their career, and leniency towards some missed bill payments for borrowers in the armed forces, can be built into the deals and reflected in the interest rate.

A green mortgage aimed at encouraging reduced carbon emissions is the second deal under development.

Writing for Mortgage Solutions, Dashly’s chief executive Ross Boyd (pictured) said the recent wave of green mortgages was “little more than greenwashing” with lenders offering deals that rewarded people for buying more energy efficient homes.

To improve the impact that green mortgages can make, Boyd said Dashly is working with a number of lenders on a “decarbonisation mortgage” whereby homeowners who live in D-rated properties and below have access to exclusive deals that come with benefits such as free insulation.

On the launch of Lending Labs, Boyd said: “The future of mortgages is not robo-advice it’s creating personalised mortgage products designed for particular groups of people and advertised and distributed specifically to them.”

Banks offering low rates to energy efficient homes “is little more than greenwashing” – Boyd

Banks offering low rates to energy efficient homes “is little more than greenwashing” – Boyd

 

It’s impossible to ignore. 

Green initiatives are omnipresent; targets for net-zero emissions were announced by all major political parties at the last election – some more ambitious than others. When Amazon founded The Climate Pledge, to encourage companies to publicly commit to meet the Paris Climate Agreement in 2040, 10 years before the agreement’s official 2050 goal, the world listened.   

The plastic bag charge has been rightly lauded as an example of positive behaviour change in people doing their bit for the planet, and there is certainly an appetite within society to take action to protect the environment – thanks in particular to David Attenborough’s Blue Planet – a real watershed moment. 

Now, many companies are doing their bit for nature. This includes the newly-established initiative ‘Finance For Good’ which encourages best practice in financial services. It specifically asks firms to maximise the role financial services plays in reaching the UK’s net-zero 2030 target. 

But many won’t know that among the many changes they can make in their personal lives to do their bit for the environment is via their mortgage. 

Green mortgages have been on the horizon for some time. But many consumers and advisers who have been rushed off their feet with a booming property market are yet to get to grips with the advantages of these products that more and more lenders are offering. 

 

Mortgage ‘greenwashing’ 

And yet, what lenders are offering if we’re really honest is little more than greenwashing. Taking a low interest mortgage and calling it green does not an environmentally-sound product make.  

Nor does it have any impact on the UK’s emissions. 

Put simply, the recent wave of ‘green’ mortgages are those that are specifically designed to reward people for buying more energy efficient homes.  

According to Ipsos Mori, 52 percent of people care deeply about climate change. But the uptake of green mortgages so far has been negligible.  

Until people had to pay for a plastic bag at the supermarket, very few chose to use bags for life. Similarly, before Elon Musk created a vehicle with a ludicrous mode, very few people wanted an electric car. 

Until a green mortgage means your energy bills are lower, why would we expect anyone to choose this option?  

It’s for this reason that we are working with a cohort of big name lenders to create exactly that; a new, personalised ‘decarbonisation’ mortgage whereby those with D-rated properties and below have access to exclusive deals that come with benefits such as free insulation.  

This could reduce a property’s annual carbon emissions from four tonnes to two tonnes, for example, and for existing highly efficient or well-insulated properties, unlock some of the equity to subsidise and fund more radical things like ground source heat pumps, reducing our addiction to natural gas.  

This work can increase the value of a property exponentially. This would mean no erosion to the over £7tn pounds of equity in the UK’s housing stock, the equity remains.   

Mortgages offer the perfect vehicle to accelerate the green housing agenda. But in order for that to happen the industry must turn its focus to the over 50 percent of homes rated D or below, rather than rewarding the 0.5 percent of properties already rated A. 

What’s without doubt, is that the financial services sector has an enormous role to play if the UK is to meet its carbon targets, and there’s no better time than now for the sector to take action and play its part. 

Why fintech is changing the mortgage industry for good – Boyd

Why fintech is changing the mortgage industry for good – Boyd

 

Mortgages are no different. According to Infosys, 80 per cent of borrowers want a fully online mortgage application, and mortgage calculators and comparison sites can automate much of the process.

But many customers will be unaware that the best deal on a comparison site may not be the best deal for their specific circumstances. Customers are either overwhelmed with digital information, or apathetic towards new deals because they expect technology to find savings for them automatically.

And just as borrowers have new tools at their disposal, so do property professionals. AI, open banking and front-end fact-finding technology can all help brokers build detailed profiles of customers, and estate agents can use tech to automatically process and store information to match buyers with properties. AI can even underwrite mortgage applications by making real-time decisions, quickly crunching numbers, and eradicating fraudulent activity.

 

Technology combined with human advice

 

Building more accurate profiles of clients using technology means being able to better predict their behaviours. Open banking can show a broker or lender two people who earn the same salary, but who may have radically different spending habits, or even that someone who earns a higher wage isn’t as good a candidate for a mortgage as someone earning less.

So arguably, human advice is more important than ever. In getting to grips with tech, brokers can more easily analyse and compare mortgage rates, thus being able to help their customers find the best deal. Better deals mean more frequent and more meaningful customer interactions, and this contributes to a broker’s bottom line. Symbiosis at its best – broker and buyer in perfect harmony.

In my own organisation, we know that a tailored, properly analysed mortgage deal can only come from a broker with years of experience. Without it, the tech is almost redundant, and it doesn’t serve the ultimate goal of helping people buy their dream home.

Just as QuickBooks and Xero are now ubiquitous in accountancy, brokers are finding that by working with technology, their customers are more satisfied with the new, streamlined mortgage application process – as we know from our successful pilot scheme and now partnership with Paradigm and its members.

 

Fintech is gaining ground

 

And there’s no better time: the market is booming. Brokers will have a backlog of work thanks to the stamp duty holiday, and tech is at the heart of easing the load. We’ll also start to see the personalisation of mortgage products and innovation, with new challenges for the industry such as manufacturing and distributing green mortgages, for example, as the mechanics of the market change.

Although paper-based processes are still very prevalent – despite the pandemic forcing a move to more digital processes – anything that saves customers money and speeds up the lending process can only be a good thing. Fintech, it seems, is here for good.

Tenet & You advisers use Dashly to offer mortgage advice as employee perk

Tenet & You advisers use Dashly to offer mortgage advice as employee perk

 

Dashly is a switching tool that users sign up to that sends notifications telling them when they can switch to another mortgage deal that will save them money.

The three-way tie with Personal Group means that employees of firms that use the group’s personnel benefits, and who have signed up to use Dashly, will be passed through to a Tenet & You broker to receive mortgage advice. If the mortgage switch is worthwhile, the broker will process the transaction.

Personal Group provides employee benefit services to large companies such as DHL and Royal Mail as well as small and medium sized businesses.

More than one million employees are members of Personal Group. The company supplies employees with an app called Hapi that allows them to access employee benefits such as discounts and gym memberships. Dashly’s mortgage monitor, also located in the app, is being rolled out to employees in phases with a target of 50,000 employees in phase one.

Speaking to Mortgage Solutions, Tenet Group chief executive Mark Scanlon (pictured) said: “We have leading-edge technology from Dashly, the Tenet & You advisers and then you have the source of business from Personal Group, which is breathing life into this endeavour and the product. We acted as the lynch pin in bringing those elements together.”

 

Eye on expansion

Given the potential number of leads this could generate, Scanlon has an eye on the expansion of Tenet & You.

Tenet & You is Tenet’s own advice division. Former Tenet Lime MD Simon Broadley was placed in charge of one of Tenet’s own mortgage advice firms, Tenet Mortgage Solutions, which sits within the Tenet & You arm. Tenet Mortgage Solutions was the result of the acquisition of Police Mutual’s mortgage advice arm.

Around 30 advisers work within Tenet & You. Scanlon thinks there is the capability to expand the business to 100 advisers in the next 12 months.

The roll out of Dashly among Personal Group users will be controlled and slow so Scanlon said there is time to grow Tenet & You in the same way.

Scanlon said there were three growth opportunities: approach firms outside the Tenet Connect network, acquire appointed representative firms from within the network that are interested in a change of ownership, and strike up new trading relationships with companies like Personal.

“We have one mortgage firm under consideration at the moment to buy into the business,” added Scanlon.

Tenet is also interested in other opportunities to use Dashly’s software in its business.

“If we look beyond where this has begun, there is no reason why the mortgage monitor wouldn’t be a consumer product. Being inside that app with Hapi is a key enabler, that’s our first real venture into consumer-facing digital activity, but if we were to take the app which it lives in and just turn it towards the general customer base then there is an opportunity specifically for Dashly and for mortgage monitoring, and of course it could go wider than that into wealth management and all the other things we could do.”

As well as Tenet & You, Dashly has also been working with MMD and mortgage club Paradigm Mortgage Services.

Dashly runs ITV broker ads to boost sales platform roll out

Dashly runs ITV broker ads to boost sales platform roll out

 

The software firm’s first advert aired at 09.30 this morning targeting consumers, following a partnership with ITV AdVentures Ignite, which offered strategy and planning support on the campaign.

ITV viewers will see the advert during programmes such as Good Morning Britain and Coronation Street and is projected to reach just over 3.25m viewers in total within the Anglia region, according to the channel’s figures.

We would expect the campaign to reach between 3,250,000 – 3,408,000 viewers in total, within the Anglia region. And those viewers would see the ad an average of 7/8 times across the campaign.

This is between 39-43% of all people in the Anglia area

The mortgage switching fintech Dashly has finished a pilot and been working closely with mortgage advice firms Tenet Group, MMD and mortgage club Paradigm Mortgage Services.

Dashly’s broker roll-out programme combines expert, human advice and search, fact find and marketing communications technology offering a consumer-facing dashboard to boost sales.

Bob Hunt, chief executive of Paradigm Mortgage Services, said: “It’s no secret that we’re ambitious, and our focus over the last few years has been growth – for ourselves and for our members. And after a successful pilot, we’re delighted to be rolling this technology out to more of our firms.

“Dashly’s proposition, in many ways, has been tailor-made for Paradigm and its brokers: it allows firms to retain a strong brand identity while also taking advantage of highly-specialised technology to get the best deals for its clients, which in turn promotes loyalty and trust and, ultimately, increased earnings.”

Paradigm is encouraging all of its 1,612 DA member firms or roughly 3,000 advisers to sign up to the dashboard and Dashly continues to increase its team to onboard brokers more quickly, it said.

Dashly said research found more than 80 per cent of customers would prefer a fully online mortgage application process, many of whom are unaware of how crucial it is to secure the kind of tailored deal that can only come from a broker.

Ross Boyd, CEO of Dashly, said: “In a world of tech, human advice is more important than ever. Complexity, uncertainty, and increased competition in the market mean customers are overwhelmed trying to navigate comparison sites which don’t offer the kind of bespoke deals a broker would for each individual’s circumstances.”

James Keable, financial services director at privately-owned, estate agency-driven South East-based Mortgage Matters Direct (MMD), said: “Our high-performing mortgage team already excelled at retention thanks to our in house support team,” but added: “We’ve seen unprecedented levels of sales in recent months, and it’s nice to know no matter how busy we are with new business, we are still able to maintain the best possible service levels to our existing customers and clients with the assistance of Dashly.”

Mark Scanlon, CEO of Tenet Group, added: “Our advisers can feel confident that they’re giving clients best in class bespoke mortgage advice. This in turn means better customer interactions, and client retention for years to come.”

 

Dashly hires ex-Connells sales director

Dashly hires ex-Connells sales director

Ex-investment banker Salma Kalisvaart has also been hired, joining the business from JP Morgan as chief operating officer.

Swatton spent more than two decades at Countrywide, latterly as its financial services director, before the company was taken over by Connells.

Kalisvaart worked at JP Morgan in its merger and acquisitions and equity capital market divisions.

After following Dashley’s chair, Mike Harris, to Monument Partners she worked for private equity fund Aquiline Capital.

“For years, the financial services industry was not fit for purpose but for consumers fintech has been a game changer,” Kalisvaart said.

Dashly’s admirable commitment to make the mortgage market work better for everyone involved, its bright and inclusive team, and potential to be highly scalable were immediate differentiators and is perfectly aligned with my passion for businesses with purpose.”

Ross Boyd, chief executive of Dashly, said: “In welcoming Salma and Iain to the team, we have the backing of two highly-respected individuals from the worlds of fintech and mortgages.

“Their expertise will allow us to grow at pace, and further realise our ambition to combine the very best of people and technology to make mortgages work for all.”

Dashly launches fridge magnet to provide mortgage switching updates

Dashly launches fridge magnet to provide mortgage switching updates

 

Once borrowers have added their data into the account the Blink lighthouse-shaped magnet is connected to Dashly’s mortgage switching technology which compares existing deals against those available on the market every day.

If the Blink lighthouse flashes pink instead of the normal green it means a cheaper deal has been found – this even includes being in a fixed rate with early redemption charges applying.

The app also warns when a fixed-term is set to expire.

Borrowers can then be directed to one of the firm’s advisers if they wish to proceed.

In one example, Dashly switched a borrower halfway through a five-year fix saving £5,717 over the remaining two years and five months of the mortgage — after the borrower paid an early repayment charge of £4,978 and all other set-up, legal and arrangement fees.

It had identified the value of the borrower’s home had increased and that his personal circumstances had also changed since taking out the loan. This meant he would now be eligible for a lower loan to value.

CEO Ross Boyd said: “It’s a bit of fun, of course, but there’s a serious message to it all, too: your mortgage shouldn’t be forgotten about but should be compared against the market daily to ensure you’re always on the best deal.”

Boyd added that the vast majority of Brits only think about their mortgages only every two, three or five years.

“This is because we’ve been trained to believe that paying an early redemption charge means it’s impossible to save money during a fixed rate mortgage, but that’s no longer the case given the new technologies available,” he said.