Desmond O’Hara, broker at Your Mortgage Decisions helped changed the life of a family, who thought they had no choice but to sell their beloved home.
Richard Bousfield, managing director of The Surrey Mortgage Broker said 2017 was the year of the remortgage – and was surprised at the amount of cases that were debt consolidation.
Kelly Humphries, mortgage and protection adviser at Mortgage Advice Bureau in Bingley says the end of 2017 has been a happy one for many first-time buyers.
A couple in their fifties and sixties had been turned down several times based on their affordability criteria.
By the time I met them they were absolutely devastated that the only option seemed to be selling their beloved home and downsizing.
A small, but increasingly important part of our business is the later life lending market.
This is an area the client had not explored and although it is not for everyone, it certainly couldn’t be ignored in this particular case.
Our equity release specialist set to work, advising on both traditional residential mortgages, as well as a range of equity release providers.
The equity release solution on the husband’s second property enabled our clients to remain in their family home, raise additional funds for long overdue home improvements and even put a brand new, reliable car on the drive.
It provided a holistic answer to the dearth of anticipated pension income and we were also able to structure a drawdown provision for future use.
It was really rewarding to be able to help the couple, who genuinely could not believe the financial solutions we were able to offer.
Their relief was palpable – and they said we had completely changed their lives and were able to sleep for the first time in months.
After our help they were happy and comfortable, no longer stressed nor stretched financially.
Equity release and lifetime mortgages really can provide the flexibility that many clients require.
My initial feeling was that 2017 has been mainly a year of remortgages – after checking my records it transpires 73% of my mortgage business was remortgage or rate switch/product transfers.
I’m certainly in favour of the proliferation of product transfers now available from lenders – it gives us another string to our bow and certainly means we can give a more holistic service.
Of those remortgages I’ve been surprised at the amount of debt consolidation that has been going on.
I’ve had quite a few cases of clients getting into a bit of unsecured debt and I did think those days were behind us.
The great thing about doing this job is that there is so much variety and as brokers we often get the more challenging cases that get the grey matter working.
One highlight for me this year was arranging a mortgage for a popular local business that the owner had only run for one year.
Prior to that he was an employee of the business and it had been run at a loss for a number of years.
The first year he took over he made a great success of it and the books were looking good.
I was able to secure him the mortgage he needed to move into his first home with his family and it certainly gave me a warm feeling.
The most memorable story of 2017 for me has been the recent changes in Stamp Duty and Land Tax, which have been a very welcome end of year bonus for first time buyers.
We have seen first-time buyers coming back out of the woodwork locally with a renewed level of enquiries being triggered.
Overnight, home ownership became much more accessible in both York and Harrogate, which is where I see most of my customers.
In Harrogate in particular where house prices tend to come at a premium, there are very few properties available for first-time buyers under £200,000 and the reality is that the SDLT changes have removed a sizeable bill for would be home owners.
Typically we are seeing first-time buyers save an average of £2,700, meaning they are either able to buy sooner or put the funds they had previously saved towards other costs associated with setting up their first home.
Whether the changes will have the long-term impact that the government hopes, remains to be seen, but in the short term we are seeing positive outcomes for FTBs in the region, which is definitely an optimistic end to 2017.