Despite being a time of significant uncertainty for the UK economy, three quarters of intermediaries (75%) expect business sales to increase in the next twelve months.
Research from Masthaven shows that intermediaries feel Brexit and stagnant house prices will not negatively affect the lending market, with only 2.5% of professionals in the sector expecting to see sales decline. Instead, intermediaries believe lending criteria (35%), regulation (27%) and lack of innovation (18%) will be the biggest growth challenges for the year ahead.
When asked about customers’ needs for 2019, brokers noted that more complex circumstances mean that clients have requirements beyond simply getting a cheap deal. 23% of brokers said customers were more likely to prioritise flexible lending criteria, and only 5% believed low fees are a priority for customers. However, low rates (35%) are still thought to be top of customers’ agendas.
Some of brokers’ optimism is down to the fact that much of the business generated over 2018 did not rely on new borrowing. Remortgaging (14%) and product transfers (10%) were seen as the key areas for growth for almost a quarter of those surveyed.
Matt Andrews, managing director of Mortgages, Masthaven, said: “Despite ongoing Brexit negotiations and another quarter of slowing house prices, it is positive to know that intermediaries are confident for a successful 2019 with a large proportion expecting sales to increase. Customers, new and returning, are continuing to turn to specialist lending options for flexible products which traditional high street banks have been slow to cater for.
“This year is set to be another bumper one for the industry – we are already seeing restrictive credit scores and prescriptive lending criteria being reconsidered. However, there is always room for improvement. We must continue to create innovate products, develop frictionless services and streamline the borrowing process so that despite the unknown uncertainties that lie ahead, specialist finance will continue to become the new normal.”