"The recent changes and sustained lending volumes suggest a healthier market that initially feared by many."
Since the Chancellor’s announcement of a temporary stamp duty holiday, brokers are reporting a more positive view of sustained business volumes over the coming months, according to a survey by Skipton Building Society.
The survey found that seven out of ten brokers were worried about the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on their business prior to the post-lockdown surge in business volumes.
Some were predicting a potential decline in business following an initial spike, although recent high lending volumes appear to continue to counter those views.
One-third of brokers expect to see some changes to the type of business that they are placing over the next 3-6 months and some predicted an increase in remortgaging and product switches.
However, there remains much uncertainty about the future economic situation and housing market and how this will affect their businesses.
Brokers say the current crisis has affected their provider selection criteria and expect to place more business with providers who can provide higher-LTV products and who make the sales process 'quick and easy'.
Brokers also want to increase use of providers with flexible lending criteria/underwriting to consider clients’ circumstances and say they will show more loyalty to providers who’ve best supported them through the crisis.
Paul Fenn, Skipton’s head of business development, said: “Over the last couple of weeks, brokers have told us that first-time buyers have continued to increase despite them already had an exemption up to £300,000. And brokers are keen to see if there is a significant increase in the ‘next time buyer’ segments, due to the benefit of zero stamp duty on those larger property transactions between £300,000 – £500,000.
“Whilst there remains some challenges for first-time buyers due to the increase in initial deposits, with lenders still cautious around offering higher LTV products, the recent changes and sustained lending volumes suggest a healthier market that initially feared by many.
“There is much uncertainty about the future economic situation and housing market and how this will affect their businesses. Communication is key to supporting brokers right now; updates through all channels need to be relevant, concise, show empathy and acknowledge the uncertainty. Relationships with BDMs remain important and there is more emphasis on what additional support BDMs can provide, such as regular ‘virtual’ check in’s, ‘virtual hotdesking’ and webinars to help broker understanding of the many criteria and policy changes due to Covid-19.
“At Skipton we need to ensure we continue to provide flexible lending and underwriting, particularly for clients experiencing financial change. Feedback from our ongoing broker experience research continues to help us understand brokers’ needs and how individual cases have been handled throughout the Covid-19 period.
“This research helps to get a broader view of how brokers are feeling, their predictions for the future and the support they need from Skipton both during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.”