TENANT DEMAND CONTINUES ON ITS UPWARDS TREND

There has been a raft of data in recent weeks around strong levels of rental yields and rental asking prices which represents great news for landlords as we face the additional challenges attached to tiered lockdowns across the UK.

In addition, tenant demand is also reported to have reached a four-year high in the third quarter of this year. This is according to research carried out on behalf of Paragon Bank which outlined that – in the three months to the end of September – 29 per cent of landlords reported rising tenant demand, the highest level since the third quarter of 2016. Out of the 700 landlords surveyed, one in 10 reported significant growth.

OPPORTUNITIES WILL CONTINUE TO EMERGE FOR LANDLORDS AS BTL CHOICE WIDENS

In last month’s article I looked at how landlords, lenders and the general buy-to-let market has had to adapt to changeable market conditions before, during and after the lockdown. During this, I touched upon how many first-time buyers have been hit with a double whammy as the availability of low-deposit deals has plummeted, while rates on those remaining have surged since lockdown. And it’s not only products across the residential mortgage market which are fluctuating.

WHAT DO CUSTOMERS REALLY WANT FROM THEIR BROKER IN THIS CHANGING LANDSCAPE?

By Caroline Mirakian, Head of National Accounts at Pepper Money

There is always uncertainty in life but providing professional financial advice at the time of a global pandemic can be a particular challenge. So, what do your clients really want, and expect from you in this changing landscape?

Here are four of our tips:

1.    Get back to basics

In a challenging environment, a good first step is to take a step back and focus on delivering the basics really well. This is a common approach taken in sport when a new coach takes over an ailing team, and it applies just as well to any profession going through an uncertain period – get the basics right and the rest will follow.

HEIGHTENED DEMAND FROM FIRST-TIME BUYERS

We all know how the temporary rise in the stamp duty threshold has accelerated activity throughout the housing market. Whilst many headlines have focused on the rise of first-time buyers for homeownership purposes, recent data from Legal & General Mortgage Club suggested that there is also heightened demand from first-time buyers looking to enter the buy-to-let sector. Searches made by advisers through its sourcing tool showed that the criteria search combination for first-time buyer, first-time landlord and non-owner occupier has seen an 18% increase since the beginning of September.

COULD Q4 PROVIDE THE MUCH NEEDED OPPORTUNITIES THAT LANDLORDS NEED RIGHT NOW?

As we close in on Q4, I’m sure many people would simply like to draw a line under 2020 and move on. However, there is another full quarter to deal with. Thankfully, we are now in a position where we can look forward with greater levels of optimism than previously seen at the beginning of the previous two quarters.

When it comes to buy-to-let, Q4 will be a quarter of opportunities for landlords as we continue to build on the large amount of resilience shown throughout the sector over the past six months. Despite some lingering – and justifiable – caution, we have seen a broadly upward trend in the number of available BTL products since May. Average rates remain highly competitive and lenders’ appetite for business has steadily grown over the Summer months.

GROWING BUY-TO-LET ACTIVITY PLACES EMPHASIS BACK ON THE ADVICE PROCESS

We can learn many different lessons during challenging times and what I have realised – both from the credit crunch and the recent pandemic – is that the advice process is more valuable than ever during a time when financial circumstances and outlooks can change so quickly. This is a hardly an earth-shattering discovery but focusing on the simple things can often prove to be the most effective.

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