2020: A YEAR OF TWO HALVES

2020 has, at times, been a year which seems to have lasted forever. On the other hand, there have also been moments when it feels like it has flashed by in the blink of an eye. It has certainly proved to be a year of two halves.

When focusing on the buy-to-let and housing markets, there are many reasons to be optimistic moving into the new year. Whilst we can’t, or shouldn’t, gloss over how tough the past nine months have been, we – as a company – feel we are in a stronger place than ever. The dedication, flexibility, drive and skill shown by all our people throughout this time has been truly inspirational.

IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN – BUT WE CAN CHANGE THAT

The recent crisis has made us all review the way we live our lives in some shape or form. Without getting too introspective, although the impact of the pandemic on our potential freedom and mortality has not radically changed the way I look at certain things, it has definitely made me far more appreciative of them.

One such area is the environment. The immediate change in our ecosystem was enlightening during the initial lockdown and whilst this hasn’t been forgotten in many quarters, other factors may have temporarily forced it down the agenda. This is understandable in such an uncertain world but it’s important to continue highlighting certain areas of this all-important environmental crusade when and where we can.

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.

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