Pete Thomson, sales and marketing director at The Mortgage Lender
Specialist lending topped £17bn last year and choice in the sector has widened with a number of new entrants, including The Mortgage Lender.
And while it’s well known competition is good for consumers, where there is choice, competition, and innovation there is opportunity for introducers and lenders alike.
The latest report from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) shows specialist lending grew from £11bn in 2000 to £63bn in 2007 and then dropped back to £5bn in 2009.
In 2008 specialist lenders held over £420bn of mortgage loans but by 2014 this figure had fallen to £111bn.
Yet by 2016 the figures were showing sustained growth in the sector with gross lending increasing by 19% a year since 2009 compared to 8% a year growth for gross mortgage lending generally.
It’s a trend that hasn’t gone unnoticed among the traditional, deposit-taking lenders.
In recent weeks we’ve noticed some lenders are flexing their criteria and taking on borrowers that wouldn’t have met their criteria just a few months ago.
While others are looking at their product ranges and making tweaks that meet a specific demand in the market to provide a competitive advantage.
And we’d count ourselves among those. We’ve flexed our criteria for contract workers and gifted equity to make our products more attractive to certain segments of the market.
For contract workers we’ll now take a weekly rate x 48 to calculate income, a position that we feel makes us one of the most flexible in the market.
And we’ve introduced gifted equity mortgages up to a loan to value of 75%. Our sales team were being asked almost daily if we could provide gifted equity loans – we’ve listened and done something about it.
We’ll continue to listen to brokers to make sure our products remain relevant and competitive, which will put us and our introducers in a strong position to benefit from increased demand for innovative lending solutions.