In the Spotlight with Lee Warne, Octane Capital

We spoke to Lee Warne, business development manager at Octane Capital, about his journey in the specialist lending market, Octane's latest product news, and his predictions for the bridging market in 2024.

Related topics:  In The Spotlight,  Specialist Lending
Rozi Jones | Editor, Barcadia Media Limited
24th November 2023
Lee Warne Octane Capital
"Rising interest rates, regulatory changes, and low rental yields, will force landlords/ investors to become creative with their portfolios."

FR: You recently joined Octane Capital as a BDM – tell us a bit about your background and what you bring to the new role.

My journey in the specialist lending market has been diverse. I joined Octane following close to a decade at a leading specialist bank in our space. I started out in front-line sales as an internal BDM, before being promoted to a broker manager, where I supported some of the firm’s key brokers. I also spent 18 months in the underwriting team, before being appointed head of internal sales.

I joined Octane in September as a business development manager and I’m already enjoying the challenge. I’m a firm believe that transparency and communication are key to forging, and maintaining, strong relationships with brokers, and I’m excited to put that into practice with Octane.

FR: What do you predict for the bridging market over the next 12 months?

I believe there are opportunities for brokers, in spite of turbulence in the mainstream market. Rising interest rates, regulatory changes, and low rental yields, will force landlords/ investors to become creative with their portfolios.

There is an opportunity for brokers, and specialist lenders, to help investors convert their low yielding single-let properties into multiple let assets such as HMOs or freehold blocks of flats in order to improve their income potential.

Moreover, there is a real opportunity to support property developers under pressure. Assuming the slowdown in sales pace across the market continues into next year and build costs continue to climb, many developers will be in need of more time to sell (and in some cases finish and sell) their new-build projects, which points to the developer exit opportunity. Octane are well positioned to help on both fronts, which makes us excited for next year!

FR: Have you got any exciting product news to tell us about?

I do! Our bridging and refurbishment products have gained some real traction this year, which has resulted in us lending more in these areas than ever before. Our rates start from 0.33% per month + BBR, which puts us in line with - and in some cases cheaper - than the market's leading specialist banks. But we still have the speed, agility, and flexibility of a non-bank lender. I think it’s fair to say that HMO conversions, light and heavy refurbishment and developer exits, have become real sweet spots for us.

FR: If you could see one headline about the mortgage market in 2024, what would it be?

Great question. A reduction in the Bank of England Base Rate would be welcomed as it would induce buyer confidence and we would likely see an uptick in purchases. Also, as our rates track the base rate, this would also mean we could offer even cheaper funding!

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