And based on the increased levels of business Openwork has seen over the past 12 months, buy-to-let will be a rainmaker for brokers in 2011.
Shearman said: “There’s no doubt the buy-to-let market is going to grow in 2011.
“You’ve got a generational shift towards renting as opposed to buying combined with a massive drop in social housing. Buy-to-let is going to be really strong – it was up 10% by volume last year. We’re forecasting it’ll be up somewhere between 12% and 15% this year.”
Shearman said that in the first quarter of 2010, 12% of its mortgage business was buy-to-let, rising to 18% in the fourth quarter and 20% in January of this year.
In an effort to support this “shift”, Shearman said the network plans to hold adviser workshops across the country from the end of April covering how to best package buy-to-let and improve broker expertise in this market sector.
He added: “We’re looking at running a series of buy-to-let master classes over the coming months looking at the scale of opportunity and ensuring our advisers are clear on how to deal with a portfolio landlord, looking at limited versus unlimited companies, HMOs, student lets etc.
“We will also cover the fact find questions advisers should be going through with a landlord as well as what is appropriate protection, general insurance and rental guarantee cover for this sort of business.”