PATIENCE REQUIRED AS BTL MARKET IS REIGNITED

In recent weeks I have spoken about the ways in which BTL lenders have been working hard behind the scenes to find alternative solutions to overcome ongoing valuation issues and restructure product ranges which better support landlords and the intermediary market. And this raft of planning was put into practice pretty much overnight as physical valuations were given the green light to proceed – albeit with safety measures and social distancing restrictions firmly in place to minimise any risks posed by Covid-19.

Inevitably, this was the trigger for a number of lenders to spring into action.  Apologies in advance if I miss any lenders off the list below, but it’s important to highlight those who have opened, or reopened, their doors as a result of this important turning point for the mortgage market. Not to mention the new product ranges on offer.

THE RETURN OF PHYSICAL VALUATIONS – GREAT NEWS FOR THE BUY TO LET SECTOR

The return of surveyors and valuers – on the back of the government’s guidance on moving home during the coronavirus crisis provided by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick – is highly positive news for the housing and mortgage markets, not to mention the economy as a whole. For several long weeks, many lenders have not been able to process new mortgage applications because they couldn’t instruct physical valuations. Naturally, this has had major repercussions for landlords, homeowners and first-time buyers who were already in the process of, or thinking about, property purchases.

IS THERE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE LENDING TUNNEL?

It's important that we don’t get too carried away, but it’s highly encouraging to see lenders steadily returning to the market and new products emerging. Of course, we’re still far away from pre-lockdown market conditions and it will be some time until those heights are reached once again. However, business is still being written and the value of expert advice in getting these deals over the line has never been higher.

MORTGAGE PAYMENT HOLIDAYS: WHAT LANDLORDS REALLY NEED TO KNOW

All lenders, large and small, have been asked to make difficult decisions across many aspects of their business. They have faced a huge amount of pressure from the Government in terms of having mortgage payment holidays forced upon them at relatively short notice. In general, lenders have reacted quickly, effectively, and decisively but how are landlords responding to this issue?

It depends on the individual in question, and there are many factors to consider before deciding upon this option.

• Taking a mortgage payment holiday should not impact your credit history and it can help with cashflow if tenants are struggling to pay their rent

THE BUY TO LET WHEELS KEEP TURNING

Last month we sat on the cusp of a Budget and landlords everywhere were hoping for some respite after the raft of recent Government pressure in regard to taxes, policy and regulation. Little did I realise then just how fast our world would change over such a short space of time. Whilst the Government has maintained a focal point on the mortgage market, this is only one of many areas of concern for our nation. To re-cap, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that mortgage lenders will offer “at least” a three-month break from mortgage repayments for homeowners experiencing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus. The Government then decided that residential buy-to-let (BTL) landlords are entitled to the same three-month mortgage repayment holiday as residential homeowners if they have tenants struggling to pay rent.

LENDERS, TECHNOLOGY AND THE INTERMEDIARY MARKET

I recently spoke on the Accord Mortgages Growth Series podcast and suggested that lenders should embrace technology to increase speed, efficiency and automation within the private rented sector.

The kind of technology we’re talking about requires a more joined-up approach, but as an industry we still appear to be lacking this to a certain extent. Now I’m certainly not backing away from this statement in any way, shape or form as technology is – and will continue to be – the major driving force of the modern mortgage market, although I’d also like to take this opportunity to play devil’s advocate and take a wider look at the relationship between lenders, technology and the intermediary market.

Pages