Ease of use beats cost in the hunt for broker technology – Marketwatch

Ease of use beats cost in the hunt for broker technology – Marketwatch

 

While cost and reputation count for a lot, so does day-to-day functionality. 

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: What are your main deciding factors when shopping around for new technology? 

 

Adam Wells, co-founder and director of Lloyd Wells Mortgages 

When we were employed at both Which? Mortgage Advisers and a small brokerage in Bristol who were under the Tenet network, we used the Key by Mortgage Brain and we knew the software inside out. 

Although it could be clunky at times, it worked. We knew that the client information was correct, we could do multiple applications at one time, the documents were held securely, the client portal was usable and the mortgage illustration it produced was accurate. 

When we set up with a new network, we chose another provider. The software was dreadful and resulted in us having to re-key information across several different forms and software, rather than being fully integrated. 

We then went with another network and this time, the software they offered was more important to us than when we first set up. 

The network allowed us access to a practice version of the software that allowed us to input cases as if it was a real scenario. They also have fantastic video tutorials that you can run alongside to help with any problems. 

When we were looking at different options, we wanted it to be easy to use, compliant with our network, and integrated so we weren’t having to input data repeatedly. Cost would have been a concern, but we’re quite happy to spend money if it made sense. We also like the idea of a client portal, although the quality of these can differ. 

We also use Criteria Brain, primarily for the Affordability Brain. We were offered a 30-day free trial and it is so useful that we signed up immediately. We also like the ability to compare criteria. Yesterday I was able to check which lenders accepted professional landlords and HMOs with eight bedrooms. Vida to the rescue.  

I’m now actively telling friends in the industry that this is a bit of kit that they need. 

 

Darryl Dhoffer, mortgage and protection consultant at The Mortgage Expert 

The key with technology is that it must be easy to use and once in place becomes a time saving tool, otherwise people will avoid using it.  

Cost is always going to play a large part in the decision making but ultimately it must be of real benefit to the end user. 

The next consideration is whether the new technology integrates with other systems we already use.  There is pressure in our industry to be technologically advanced to keep up with the online mortgage services that are available. However, there is simply no point in taking on new systems for the sake of it, especially if it means having to key data more than once to achieve the results.  

Over the past 18 months or so we have seen a shift in the way in which documentation is sent to us by clients and in the way we are asked to send them to the lender. There is fast becoming a need for a portal to make it easier for the client to provide these documents and this surely must be a consideration when building new technology. 

Another consideration is that of the profile of the company providing the technology. In the past we have had many demonstrations of systems that have been built for brokers, but clearly by IT specialists, culminating in an unadaptable system that just doesn’t work.  

We would shop around for as long as it takes to find right solution that works for us and benefits our clients. 

 

Mark Pattanshetti, associate director at Largemortgageloans.com 

The main system we use is Twenty7Tec, but because of the nature of the deals we do involving clients who make money on the internet a lot of the time they don’t fit. 

So, we rely on our own research, spreadsheets, notes, conversations and an internal database. We also work with ex-pats who want a buy-to-let property in London. Putting that into the sourcing system we use, not all the options come up.  

If I was a broker who saw more standard clients, then Twenty7Tec would be the system of choice. We also use the Legal and General Mortgage Club’s service where you can contact them, connect with operators who filter through potential options then they email a list of lenders that can help.  

We also use Criteria Brain which is very useful. 

Those are what I use the most. 

However, because I’m familiar with private banks, I can still suggest potential options to clients outside of those systems because they typically aren’t available. Which is a shame as that would be very helpful so someone should come up with that. 

We haven’t tested any other systems because of the way our research and compliance is set up. 

Ease of use and the speed at which we can obtain information is a main priority when looking for technology, cost is not a problem as long as it works well. 

 

 

The property sector should have an independent valuation process – Star Letter 08/10/2021

The property sector should have an independent valuation process – Star Letter 08/10/2021

 

This week’s comment came from Adam Hosker, in response to the feature: Let’s drop the term ‘down valuation’ and unify the industry – Baguley 

He said: “Totally agree but if you want this to change, its more than rebranding down valuation. It starts by recognising valuers are not infallible and putting in place an independent valuation process. 

“Let’s fix it rather than putting on a rebranding bandage.” 

He added: “Yes, agents need to present why they believe valuations may differ, then what next? Fix the next and there is less of an argument.” 

Vida runs ‘alternative marathon’ for Crisis charity

Vida runs ‘alternative marathon’ for Crisis charity

 

Vida’s employees at all levels will take part in a variety of activities, such as a 2.6-mile sky dive and a mixed marathon relay. Chief executive Anth Mooney will also walk his dog Walter in a half marathon. 

This is the second fundraising event the lender has arranged for Crisis since partnering last year. 

Vida pledged to donate at least £150,000 to Crisis over a three-year period. 

Mooney said the alternative marathon was inspired by the London Marathon, which the lender wanted to replicate in “some small way with a twist”. 

He added: “The aim was to bring people together after a tough 18 months in support of our charity partner Crisis in a way that is open to everyone regardless of interests, ability or location. 

“At Vida we believe no-one should be forced into homelessness. I’m grateful to all my colleagues who are taking part, or supporting, our first alternative marathon. I know I speak for everyone at Vida when I say we are delighted to be partnered with Crisis to assist the fantastic work they do to change people’s lives for the better.” 

Richard Lee, head of fundraising at Crisis, said: “We are so pleased to be working with Vida and support their efforts in raising vital funds with the alternative marathon.  

“The past year has been incredibly tough for everyone and having somewhere safe and secure to call home has never been more important. With Vida’s help, we can support people and help them find a path out of homelessness for good.” 

Being humble as a novice mortgage adviser will teach you an awful lot – Marketwatch

Being humble as a novice mortgage adviser will teach you an awful lot – Marketwatch

 

For any seasoned adviser, it has also been the guidance, achievements and mistakes along the way which have helped them get to where they are in their career.  

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: If you could give your younger self any advice about getting into the mortgage industry, what would it be? And what were the defining moments of your career?

 

Andy Wilson, director of Andy Wilson FS 

My own entry into the industry was straight from school and via the Halifax Building Society as it was then.  

Their structured training gave me a thorough insight into various aspects of mortgages that an adviser in a small firm might never come across, such as arrears management, death claims, title deeds, the law and practice side from a lender’s point of view. 

I think an entry route with a bank or building society gives you solid and rounded training. I don’t regret it, but it would be a slow process for those keen to be set loose as mortgage advisers. These lenders also now recruit far fewer advisers. 

If I were starting out with a broker firm, I would welcome mentoring from a colleague. Formal training is useful, but experienced advisers know more about the real world and how to get things done.  

Choose a firm with a demonstrated culture of doing the right thing by the client, every time. It will tend to mean your own training will be sound and ethical. 

My biggest defining moment was when I started my own business after 31 years as an employed adviser. This was a steep learning curve, as all of a sudden I had to do everything – marketing, prospecting, accounting and sales, regulatory matters. 

If I had to do it all again, I would never use print marketing or buying leads. Instead, I would get out to see potential introducers. Networking becomes very important; otherwise, you can be invisible to potential referrers. 

The best advice I ever got was from an old boss, who told me ‘never put the phone down first’ and ‘never be afraid of exposing yourself in front of clients’.  

I think he meant ‘open up the real you to clients and be honest’ – at least, I always hoped so.  (We hope so too! Ed.)

 

rob gillRob Gill, managing director and co-founder of Altura Finance 

I did not have any formal mentoring at the start of my career, although I have no doubt it could’ve been very useful.  

Despite this, I’ve been fortunate to work alongside some great brokers throughout my career. I learnt alongside some of the very best and continue to learn from other brokers now. 

Over the last three to four years, I have mentored a variety of young people, both inside and outside the mortgage industry, and have had some great feedback on how valuable it can be. 

I switched careers in my early 30s, quitting my job as a city trader to learn a new one as a mortgage broker. I went from running a multi-billion pound trading book to acting as paraplanner for any broker who’d have me.  

My advice to any trainee mortgage broker, no matter where you’ve come from, would be to be humble and work alongside as many experienced brokers as you can on even the most menial jobs. Completing 10 applications for 10 clients with 10 different lenders will teach you an awful lot. 

One moment which defined my career was definitely the credit crisis in 2009/10. It reshaped the industry and was a huge learning curve which presented big opportunities. 

If I could, I would tell myself to worry about money less. It will follow with enough patience and hard work and it’s certainly no way to measure your success. 

The best, most important, first, second and last piece of advice I’ve been given is: Look after your clients, look after your clients, look after your clients.  

The worst advice has come from the brokers and perhaps the industry who I think are far too hung up on ‘developing a brand’. Outside of the very biggest firms, the only brand a broker should be interested in is their own and how they’re viewed by their clients.  

 

James McGregor director of Mesa Financial  

I jumped from corporate stability in banking straight into starting up a mortgage business, so I’d say there are probably a thousand things I’d do differently.  

The list is longer than I can remember but these are the main takeaways. 

Firstly, I would have saved much more cash before starting out. No matter how meticulous the business plan, there will always be unexpected costs. 

Another big lesson was, we would have applied for direct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority far sooner. Networks have many benefits and can be highly successful but in hindsight, it wasn’t ideal for us. Once we had full control we could achieve our goals.  

In terms of mentorship, I should have reached out much earlier for advice. It took five years, which is telling given that Mesa Financial has been trading for six. There’s a wealth of talent in this industry so we really shouldn’t hesitate to seek advice. 

A career-defining moment was when we stopped trying to fit our high net worth entrepreneurial clients into the square box at the bank. I spent a long time having to say ‘no’ to my clients when I worked for the bank which was extremely frustrating.  

Looking after entrepreneurs’ financial affairs is an honour because they trust you. This is what led us to start Mesa Financial. The freedom to find solutions for this type of client, even in the most complex scenario, is what we are passionate about. 

I would tell my younger self that some anxiety is unavoidable and losing sleep won’t help. Every business faces hurdles. 

One of the best bits of advice came from my good friend Martin Stewart at The Money Group when he persuaded me to join Twitter. I made some great friends there from the industry and it has been pretty lucrative from a business perspective. 

The worst advice was that it was crazy to leave banking to start a business. I can’t imagine returning to a corporate structure.  

I am probably unemployable now so here’s to a long and successful future for Mesa Financial – otherwise I could be in trouble. 

Long way to go before brokers get on board with ‘smoke and mirrors’ crypto-mortgages – Star Letter 01/10/2021

Long way to go before brokers get on board with ‘smoke and mirrors’ crypto-mortgages – Star Letter 01/10/2021

 

This week’s comment comes from Andy Wilson in response to the story ‘Coadjute creates first UK cryptocurrency for mortgage transactions‘.

Wilson writes: “Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? No more delays on the day of completion, less stress for the homeowners, fewer irate phone calls for the mortgage brokers, estate agents and solicitors sat on the back of the removal wagon with nowhere to plug the kettle in.

“However, mention the word ‘cryptocurrency’ to any of those parties and you will get an immediate response of ‘too risky’ and ‘it’s not for us’, me included.

“I don’t profess to know anything at all about bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, blockchain or wallets (other than the one with my Costa card in it) and frankly I don’t need to. Financial transactions in this country should be in good old fashioned sterling, including house sales.

“Everyone can understand that; it is (relatively) safe, money gets to its destination eventually and there is no risk of having your life savings turned into a digital string of numbers that can be stolen in seconds and never, ever traced again (my own perception, but probably not uncommon).

“I accept I am perhaps a dinosaur in this respect. But there is a long, long way to go before ordinary mortgage brokers need to get on board with such innovation, and the scary smoke and mirrors world of cryptocurrency.”

Clients are in charge of where they place business if an adviser leaves – Marketwatch

Clients are in charge of where they place business if an adviser leaves – Marketwatch

 

When it comes to the mortgage sector, adjustments in company structures could disrupt the relationship and the service a client receives if an adviser leaves. This also depends on who owns the client. 

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: How do you ensure a seamless handover and what is the structure of your client bank? 

 

Richard Campo, managing director of Rose Capital Partners 

We are in a fortunate position that we don’t get too many advisers coming and going, but it is an inevitable part of running a business that this will happen.  

For that reason, I have always had employed advisers, as the client ‘belongs’ to Rose Capital, not the individual. 

We also use a good customer relationship management (CRM) system, which is eKeeper.  

They have had a lot of upgrades of late, which include automated emailed to remind clients of product expiry dates. You can easily access the relevant data so clients can be ‘re-assigned’ at a click of a button when needed, and you can even email centrally from the system.  

In this case, you can send an email from the system explaining who their new adviser is, which comes from the actual adviser, without the need for endless copying and pasting and can also be done centrally.  

We also maintain quite a good web presence and actively market our clients, so they are quite used to interacting with ‘Rose Capital’ rather than purely being left to the adviser to foster the relationship. 

I know in our industry firms vary from having self-employed and employed advisers, some firms are way more technically advanced than us, others are literally working off paper files in a lock up cabinet.  

Each to their own.  

My focus is only ever how we can get better, but this was at the forefront of my mind when I set the company up this way. 

 

David Hollingworth, associate director, communications at L&C Mortgages 

In any industry there will inevitably be times when colleagues move on. In a customer-focused business like mortgage advice, that can clearly present some challenges for the firm and more importantly for the customer. 

The goal must be to have a robust process in place that will allow as little disturbance for the customer as possible.  

The customer may have had a good relationship with their adviser but where a case is already in progress, their prime focus is likely to be in ensuring that progress continues smoothly. 

As a business we want to make sure that the customer has continuity which will help instill confidence that they haven’t fallen through the cracks. That means communicating effectively that their previous contact has left but that a new colleague will be there to take over, whether that is an adviser or case manager.  

Updating and introducing that contact point as soon as possible will play an important part in minimising any disruption and most importantly help to keep the case on track. 

As for any question of who ‘owns’ the client we could talk about the need to check contract and data protection issues from the perspective of the business and the departing employee.  

These are important considerations but it’s usually safe to assume that ultimately the client will be the one in charge of where they place their business.  

Helping them understand that they remain important to you as a business and providing as seamless a handover experience as possible will be what matters most to the customer. 

 

Aaron Strutt, head of PR and communications at Trinity Financial 

If a broker leaves and the application has ben submitted, they’ll have an administrator who will handle it and it’ll be in the pipeline through to progression so it won’t need to go to the broker. 

It isn’t helpful from a client’s point of view if a broker leaves but it depends how far the application has got. 

With regards to who owns the client, if a broker leaves a company, technically it’ll be the company’s client. But no doubt, a lot of them will have relationships they have built so most companies will find it difficult to keep hold of the client. 

With regard to our brokers who have left, their clients either continue with the company or go with the broker. It depends on the relationship they have built. 

There have been legal cases where brokers have tried to take former employees to court but it doesn’t help anyone, it’s just part of business. Especially in the mortgage industry, it’s just the way it works. 

In any sales environment, people will take their clients with them when they leave. 

As well as this, a lot of the bigger firms have good contacts with lenders, their business development managers, national account managers and more senior people. So if something goes wrong, there’s that additional contact which can be beneficial to clients but some brokers may not have access to the same people. 

But it’s a risk the leaving broker has to take, if you leave a company or want to set up your own firm it’s just the way of the industry.  

The original firm is likely to hold client information on their database too, so the client may not be that interested in telling that to a broker all over again.

 

Shared ownership tenure could become equal to social and private housing – Marketwatch

Shared ownership tenure could become equal to social and private housing – Marketwatch

 

 

First-time buyers are the usual recipients of these schemes but with prices continuing to outstrip wage growth, owning just a part of a property may become a more accessible route for potential homeowners. 

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Could we reach a point where a significant proportion of homeowners share the proprietorship of their homes either with the government or a private company? 

 

Rupi Hunjan, CEO and founder of Censeo Financial 

There will be a lot more use for it. 

 Unless property prices come down, the only way to be able to buy a property in the future will be to own part of that asset instead of all of it.  

And I do believe we will see more not for profit shared ownership providers come into the sector. Unless property prices are going to come down, which other way will be possible?  

Help to Buy ends in 2023 and new schemes are coming out, but we don’t know whether they will work as they have not been tried and tested.  

Shared ownership we know because that’s been around for over 30 years. Thousands of people enjoy living in a nice home owning part of it and they can always buy the rest later. 

It’s going to become a bonafide form of tenure in the UK property market. You’ve got social housing, private sector housing, outright purchase then shared ownership. It’ll be an equal tenure. 

We could also see a return of do it yourself shared ownership (DIYSO) where you find a cheap property and the landlord, who is effectively the bank, will own a share and the buyer will own the remainder. 

It used to be big in the past, I can imagine it will come back. So, a growing family can buy a decent sized house and only own half of it on the secondhand market. 

 

Mark Pattanshetti, associate director at Largemortgageloans.com 

From what we’ve seen there’s been an increase in London where we conduct most of our business, for new first-time buyers we’ve seen a rise in shared ownership and Help to Buy. Many are also utilising existing equity in their parents’ homes, so they get them to refinance their homes to get the capital. 

But I don’t think it’ll be on an equal footing to other forms of tenancy and homeownership, that might not happen in the foreseeable future. That might happen in the next 15 to 20 years. Most people still want to purchase their own home with as much assistance as possible. 

The opportunity to borrow from the government is there and people are utilising that but whether that’ll be on the same footing as someone buying a home without government assistance might not happen for some time. Where possible, people want to avoid using government help. 

There is less stigma and people are more open to it, however, and will continue to be open to external help. 

Those schemes are aimed at first-time buyers for new build and as a proportion of the overall market that’s quite small. 

Also homeowners reaching retirement have gained a large amount of equity in their homes over the last 20 years or so, and they are willing to pass that on to their children to help them raise a deposit for a home. 

It’s possible that the first-time buyer using part ownership schemes today may keep deferring ownership and never outright own a property due to rising house prices unless the government comes up with another initiative to make it easier to buy a bigger share. 

 

David Baker, managing director of Lift Financial 

House prices are clearly going up and more people want to buy their own home.

For this reason, I could see more people going down this route.

In terms of what’s available, if you need a family home and you cannot afford it on your own, a government loan is not a bad way to do it. I’ve never been convinced by shared ownership because the client has to pay their mortgage and rent but Help to Buy has offered a great starting point to many.  

The government equity loan scheme is great and has replaced the need for shared ownership, because it offers a genuine product and payment is deferred for the first five years. 

As long as there’s a genuine escape route, such as allowing buyers to eventually buy their home outright. The government equity loan scheme allows that and for that reason, I never hesitate to recommend it. 

With shared ownership, I see a lot of people never staircase and retire only ever owning part of their home. 

Overall, I can imagine there will be a rise in people not having full ownership of their home in the future because of rising prices and a desire to get onto the property ladder. 

 

Government has not convinced lenders low-rise buildings are less risky – Marketwatch

Government has not convinced lenders low-rise buildings are less risky – Marketwatch

 

At the time, a handful of lenders committed to adapting their stance for lower properties according to the new guidance but no official changes have been made since. 

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Have you noticed any change in lender attitude towards low-rise buildings or do they still seem hesitant to lend without an EWS1 form? 

 

Aaron Strutt, product and communications manager at Trinity Financial 

I don’t think anyone knows the answer to this as such – even speaking to the lenders, many are choosing to follow RICS guidance over the government.

Some of the big lenders are still asking for the form and many have said they’re expecting the government could change their minds again. In the past, there have been updates, only for the guidance to change once lenders adapted. 

In case they want to sell a portfolio of mortgages which consists of flats with cladding in the future, they want a report to confirm the property is safe. Just scrapping it based on government advice doesn’t seem like a very good idea for them at the moment. 

One lender was saying freeholders and developers are getting the forms pre-empting any requirements, but others were saying they think tenants and flat owners are handling it themselves, then forwarding it to management agents to be signed. This is because there hasn’t been any urgency to get this done. 

Overall, lenders are taking fewer questions and accepting more applications from those in flats, but if there is any cladding present, they ask for the report. 

At the same time, some of these homeowners know they won’t be able to refinance until checks are done so there’s no point in shopping around and asking which lenders won’t need the report because most will. 

We’re not getting as many calls as we previously did about this either.

There was a time not that long ago where it seemed every case had an issue with the EWS1 form and lenders were inundated with applications and there weren’t enough inspectors to sign everything off. It has slowed down and doesn’t seem to come up as much. 

 

Dina Bhudia, managing director and CEO of P2M Assets 

There hasn’t been much change. Lenders aren’t following the new stance because the property is their security. The risk on their part in most cases is far more than our clients are because the level of lending is generally more than our clients’ equity. 

The conversations with developers about how any action will happen, such as who will pay for remediation, is all still in the pipeline. Nothing has been ironed out. 

Lenders are reliant on valuer’s comments and they’ll only lend based on what a valuer says, which makes it hard without an EWS1 to cover them. They won’t recommend a lender to lend if they don’t have documented evidence to say it’s safe.  

With regards to whether there’ll be any changes in attitude soon, business development managers just agree with valuer comments and say if valuers recommend it, that’s our policy. 

I don’t deal with many clients who have cladding issues anymore but recently, I did have a case come through.

The valuer said he thought there was cladding on the roof but he couldn’t check, so the lender refused to lend. But on a high-rise flat, if there’s cladding on the roof, the valuer would never be able to check that. But the minute he says he thinks there’s cladding, the lender says ‘no sorry’. 

 

Ben Robbins, mortgage and protection adviser at Trufe 

With the recent announcement of the government scrapping the EWS1 forms below 18 metres, you would hope to see a change in lender stance and an ease on the requirements to offer a mortgage on these properties, at least.  

You’d be wrong. 

The only significant change in the industry when it comes to the cladding situation was the announcement of guaranteed funding for removal of dangerous cladding in all properties over 18 metres. 

We are still seeing the need for proof of certificates needed to show that work has been completed to remediate the issues that saw the tragedy at Grenfell unfold.  

Some lenders have moved to a basis that they will require the certificate, based on the valuer’s comments. This doesn’t give much confidence when we have a history of valuers being overly cautious on the properties they assess, so most brokers will more than likely take this as a need for the form on all cases. 

This is understandable though because if anything happens in the future, it’ll be on the valuer.

Only a few lenders will accept a property with cladding. For their level of risk and homeowner safety, it makes sense that they will need the necessary documentation for a property before they lend. 

As well as building regulations that were in place at the time, this would never have happened if the government didn’t take fire safety checks on buildings away from the fire brigade and transfer it to private firms. Fire safety officials probably would have been able to see that the cladding was unsafe earlier, but unfortunately it took a tragedy to see change. 

Santander is a little more lenient as they require a headed letter from the building owner or management company confirming whether work is needed or complete. However, for now, before submitting that application, it would be best to check that all forms are in place. 

Overall, I think lenders are well within their rights to refuse to lend, if I’m honest, because I also wouldn’t suggest someone buy a property if they knew it had cladding. 

 

Investment in the rental market does not compromise homeownership – Marketwatch

Investment in the rental market does not compromise homeownership – Marketwatch

 

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: With a continued lack of property supply and huge UK firms investing in, building and/or becoming landlords for residential rental accommodation for the first time, what kind of impact might this have on the housing and mortgage markets?

 

 

Andy Hutchinson, managing director of Citra Living – Lloyds Banking Group’s private rental arm 

As part of the group’s commitment to helping Britain recover, we aspire to a UK in which all people have access to stable, affordable and safe homes.   

We believe there is an opportunity to support the rental market without compromising the support we provide to homeowners and those aspiring to get on the housing ladder. One in five households in the UK is already in private rental, with demand set to increase over the next five years.  

For an increasing number of people that means renting, but it shouldn’t mean quality is compromised. 

Citra Living is embarking on a first step to provide incremental housing stock for the private rental sector. We are also looking to partner with developers to ensure a consistent standard of properties is available to rent. We want to ensure more people have access to good quality, new-build rental properties, that they can consider their home. 

Lloyds Banking Group remains fully committed to homeownership and has lent more than £9bn to first-time buyers in 2021.  

We are the largest lender to the social housing sector, having provided more than £9bn since 2018 and we are a leading lender and equity provider to UK housebuilders, helping them to build tens of thousands of new homes each year. 

 

Payam Azadi, partner at niche Advice 

Lenders have always been involved in the private rental sector.  

It gives a sign of confidence that UK property is still a viable entity. When global organisations look at UK residential property, they’ve obviously evaluated it. They’ve got lots of analysts and think UK property is a good bet, that’s not so bad.  

As they are a big corporation, their portfolio is going to be completely different to your novice landlord. It’s a different ball game. Lloyds have a lot of insight into the property. Especially with the acquisition of HBOS, they have a lot of property data so it’s a good sign if they’re coming into it. 

It will be interesting to see what type of housing structure Lloyds will go after. Will they follow Legal and General’s footsteps? Will they have purpose-built units? 

It will be interesting to see what they invest in and the initiatives they approach. That will give a clue as to what areas of the sector are marked for growth. 

What you will see in the UK – and it’s already happening globally – is more large institutions getting involved in the residential market. That often means large complexes with shared living areas, it’s a whole new set up. 

Single buy-to-let properties will go through an evolution. Just like we’ve seen more purpose-built blocks for student accommodation. 

People want all the facilities that come with these properties.  

I don’t think it’ll affect homeownership. I think it’s just Lloyds trying to attract some growth; the average homeowner won’t care that they have a massive stake in the market. We already see that in the commercial market where a lot of pension fund companies own properties. 

 

Akhil Mair, managing director of Our Mortgage Broker 

There are a few ways of looking at this, both positive and negative. 

The positive is that it shows Lloyds are confident in the UK rental market, they’ve said they’ll buy a large number of units which gives the sector backing.  

It gives other landlords more confidence because they think ‘if a big bank like Lloyds wants to get into this, it must be a good thing’.  

Landlords won’t be upset because although there is a shortage of housing, that was there anyway. Lloyds entering the market won’t disrupt anything. 

On the flipside, rentals could go up and the premiums could go up.  

More buy-to-let landlords are trying to make their portfolios professional including the types of properties they purchase and how they kit them out. This could increase both rental and house prices over time. 

But nothing ever gets cheaper, a can of Coca Cola costs 25p when I was growing up. 

Overall, I think it’s positive, Lloyds are backing the UK property market. They clearly think property is a good asset class to invest in so everyone wins. 

 

Dan Batterton, head of build to rent at Legal and General Investment Management Real Assets  

The UK needs a high quality residential rental sector that offers flexibility and choice to residents, offering long term occupational security.  

The current private rented sector does not provide long-term certainty to occupiers, but the build-to-rent (BTR) sector does. Traditional build-to-sell developers produce 150-200,000 homes per year.  

The growth in the BTR sector is not reducing the amount of homes being built by build-to-sell developers. A new business model and more capital is allowing for more homes to be built, BTR is providing net additional homes.  

In the UK, we are roughly building 100-150,000 homes less than we require per year.  

BTR is bringing new capital from long-term pension fund investors to support the building of homes. BTR will not bridge the shortfall of homes required but is adding to supply which will help with the acute shortage of homes.  

Homeownership is not the only answer, it is one form of housing tenure that is right for some but not for everyone. Renting can be a positive aspirational choice and BTR is trying to deliver this through purpose-built homes with a great service.  

Of our c. 2,500 occupiers, when questioned, only one third would buy a home if they could afford to. They were renting because they wanted to, because it suited their lifestyle at the time. It may not suit them for their entire life, but it does at some points.  

It is simply wrong to assume everyone wants to own a home, but it is absolutely right that people want a choice and BTR can make renting a positive choice. 

 

Jeni Browne, director of Mortgages for Business

Big players such as John Lewis and Lloyds Banking Group investing in the private rented sector is certainly good for local tenants who can’t afford housing and have to rent. Frankly, anything that increases the number of homes in the UK is in the greater interest in the housing market.

John Lewis has unveiled plans to build 10,000 homes for rent over the next few years – roughly 7,000 of the homes are to be built on sites already owned by John Lewis, ranging from studio flats to houses. That should be applauded.

Will it make a big impact on the market? Perhaps locally. Supply and demand suggests it will be significant at some level. More rental options means more competition, and that should mean less upwards pressure on rents, making renting a more attractive option. And, theoretically, that should help potential first time buyers save to get on the housing ladder.

But on a wider national-scale, this poses no threat to standard buy-to-let landlords; until the government sorts out the housing shortage and materially increases the volume of the stock of affordable homes, nothing is going to seriously affect the demand for property to rent.

Residents of John Lewis’ estate will have the option of renting flats furnished with John Lewis products and all developments will include a Waitrose convenience store near the entrance – John Lewis clearly isn’t focusing on Lidl shoppers, are they.

In fact, private landlords should probably take heart. You are judged on the company you keep and – unlike other investors entering the sector – you don’t get more bluechip than John Lewis and Lloyds. Afterall, they have reputations to uphold that large private investors don’t have to worry about.

One in 12 first-time buyer searches for £1m+ properties – Twenty7Tec

One in 12 first-time buyer searches for £1m+ properties – Twenty7Tec

Mortgage technology and sourcing firm Twenty7Tec’s August report also noted the market had returned to relative stability after 18 months of upheaval.

It revealed that 1 in 29 of all mortgage searches are now for properties valued at over £1m, with one in 12 of all completed mortgage searches on £1m plus properties from first-time-buyers.

Statistics from equity release brokers Key Retirement show that in H1 2021 the largest proportion of equity released by over 55s was spent on mortgage repayment at 45 per cent and gifting at 22 per cent. In comparison, only one per cent was spent on holidays, suggesting that parents have been releasing equity in higher numbers than ever before to help first-time-buyers to get on the property ladder.

The Twenty7Tec data also showed five per cent growth in self-build mortgage searches in August 2021 versus July 2021 and first-time-buyers (FTB) accounted for five per cent of all searches.

The percentage of searches in the £150k- £250k valuation bracket is at its lowest for 10 months at seven per cent, despite the ongoing stamp duty relief in this price range.

James Tucker (pictured) CEO of Twenty7Tec, said: “August 2021, aside from the slight market side effects of the bank holiday, was broadly the same as July 2021. However, the fact that one in 12 first-time-buyer searches are now for properties over £1m is indicative of both a housing market that remains exceptionally buoyant, and potentially the size of deposits that FTB’s have been able to save during the pandemic.

I believe we could yet see a significant uplift in remortgage business, as consumers assess their finances after what will no doubt have been a hectic summer – especially as rates are so low at present.”

The latest report developed on the Koodoo analytics platform, in partnership with Iress showed the popularity of five-year fixed rate products continues to increase amongst consumers, with residential remortgage five-year fixed products now representing 34.3 per cent of all searches. These products have been demonstrating a consistent upwards trend over the last 10 months.

The supply and competitiveness of 10 year residential fixed rates continues to improve, with this month seeing an increase as Habito launches new products in this space.

Over the last 10 months, the gap between the proportion of searches for fixed and variable rates has increased steadily, with fixed rate searches now representing 94.5 per cent of all searches.