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Brokers say COVID-19 has reshaped borrower demand

Research from Masthaven Bank has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped demand from borrowers.

The survey of 265 intermediaries found that customers’ priorities when looking for both lenders and types of property changed significantly over the course of 2020.

Flexible lending criteria is now a bigger priority for customers than before the start of the pandemic, according to 79% of brokers.

Other factors which have significantly increased in importance are customer service (63%), speed (60%) and flexible product features (55%).

Conversely, 56% of brokers said that low rates are no more important now than before COVID-19 and 54% said the same about low fees.

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This emphasis on the importance of flexible lending criteria could be attributed to the fact that 92% of brokers said that their customers had been negatively financially impacted by COVID-19 in the second half of 2020.

Over a quarter of brokers (26%) say they expect to see more business in 2021 from borrowers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, whether that involved taking out a mortgage payment deferral, being furloughed or being put on the government jobs support scheme.

An additional 20% said they expected to see more business from borrowers with an impaired credit history.

The research also highlights changing attitudes among customers when looking to move home, with 57% of brokers saying that homebuyers are now prioritising bigger houses to allow space for home offices and a third saying that their customers were prioritising a move out of a city to a quieter area.

Close to a third of brokers (32%) said that more outdoor space was the priority for their customers.

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Rob Barnard, director of intermediaries at Masthaven, said: “The coronavirus has affected every aspect of our lives for almost a full year now and looks likely to remain with us for a while longer.

“It’s perhaps no surprise then that borrowers have re-evaluated what is important to them when it comes to seeking out mortgage providers and the homes that they live in.

“Clearly the fact that many people were forced to stay home for extended periods of time and adapt their houses into offices, gyms or schools, has brought into clearer perspective what they really want when it comes to property.

“This once in a lifetime event could have a long-term impact on the UK’s property industry.

“Borrowers have also been clear about what they want from lenders. With so many being impacted by the pandemic, customers are looking for lenders who have a flexible approach and can meet their needs.

“The stamp duty holiday deadline has also undoubtedly increased demand for speedier transactions, while customer service, which has always been a crucial part of any business, has taken on new importance and become an essential duty for lenders. It’s important that lenders listen to their customers and adapt accordingly.”

By Jessica Nangle

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Masthaven: Three quarters of brokers confident of mortgage market prospects

Almost three quarters (71%) of intermediaries remain confident in the mortgage market’s prospects for the next 12 months, despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, research from Masthaven Bank has found.

In a survey of more than 200 intermediaries conducted in May some 65% said they were confident whilst 6% said they were very confident – a quarter said they were unsure.

Only 3% of intermediaries surveyed said they were not confident in the market’s prospects for the coming year.

Rob Barnard, director of intermediaries at Masthaven Bank, said: “Broker confidence is holding up well and that’s such an important part of the market, as it directly feeds through into the conversations intermediaries are having with customers.

“Now that the housing market has reopened and with the news that mortgage payment relief may be extended to help those customers in need, it’s good to see positive sentiment for the next twelve months from the intermediary community.”

The survey also found that more than half (51%) of specialist lending intermediaries are now using video calls to liaise with their customers, while 42% are sending regular email updates.

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A small proportion of brokers have introduced live chat platforms on their websites (4%) or extended their opening hours (2%) since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly a third (32%) of specialist lending intermediaries said that they are recommending lenders based on their access to reliable funding.

Jon Hall, chief commercial officer and deputy CEO at Masthaven Bank, said: “Masthaven has remained open for business throughout the crisis.

“We have continued to work with intermediary partners to ensure they have access to a good range of competitive products.

“We have adapted our service offerings, launching a fee-free remortgage range in response to broker demand and increased our use of AVMs where physical valuations have not been possible. Our offices may be closed but we remain open for business.”

By Ryan Fowler

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Most brokers think lending will recover to pre-COVID-19 levels within 9 months

Three quarters (77%) of brokers reckon mortgage lending will recover to pre COVID-19 levels within 9 months, while half (51%) believe it will happen within 6 months, research from Smart Money People has found.

Appointed representatives are more optimistic than directly authorised brokers, with 59% of ARs predicting that lending levels will recover within six months, compared to just 37% of DAs.

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Michael Fotis, managing director of Smart Money People, said “Tentative steps are being taken to get the economy moving, and many lenders are talking loudly about their appetite to lend.

“That said, with job security likely to be a concern for many consumers, and predictions that house prices may decline by up to 13%, it’s really hard to see customer appetite for new mortgage lending returning until 2021 at the earliest.”

Brokers focused on the equity release market proved to be particularly sceptical of a full recovery, as just 19% felt lending levels will bounce back within six months.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire