Paragon Bank saw a 17.3% year-on-year increase in its buy-to-let new business pipeline to £926.7m, its latest results have revealed.
The Bank increased its focus on specialist buy-to-let lending during the first half of its financial year and its pipeline now comprises of 97% specialist business, compared to 92.9% during the same period in 2020.
Buy-to-let lending was £714.9m for the period, up 57.8% up on the second half of 2020.
Overall, the results saw Paragon Banking Group post a 44.9% increase in underlying profits to a record high at the half year of £82.9m, with statutory profit before tax up 68.8% at £96.4 m.
Richard Rowntree (pictured), Paragon Bank managing director of mortgages, said: “The period saw a strong recovery in our trading volumes, with the business trading efficiently through the latest lockdowns and restrictions.
“Our new business pipeline has recorded excellent growth, supported by the stamp duty holiday, but also landlords reacting to record levels of tenant demand.”
Balances within the mortgage portfolio continued to increase steadily despite the impact of COVID-19 on the housing market. At 31 March 2021 loan balances in the buy-to-let portfolio increased 4.7% year-on-year to £10.9bn.
Arrears on the buy-to-let book remained low and broadly stable in the six months at 0.22%, despite the expiry of payment holiday arrangements. These arrears remain very low compared to performance in the national buy-to-let market, with UKF reporting arrears of 0.54% across the sector at the of March.
Rowntree added: “These are a strong set of results given the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic and the continued operational impact on the housing market. Landlords have demonstrated a clear appetite to invest in new property and to grow their portfolios, benefitting the private rented sector.”