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Mortgage for Business says there are still 42 lenders in the buy-to-let remortgage market, a fall of seven (14%) since the Covid-19 epidemic took hold.

Steve Olejnik, managing director of Mortgages for Business, said: “While HSBC has recently announced it is no longer able to accept applications for buy-to-let mortgages, other lenders are out there.

“We’ve seen lenders like Together Money and Vida Homeloans temporarily pull out of the market – but more than 85% of the lenders that landlords rely on are still trying to do their bit – as are we.

“Four of the lenders that initially withdrew their BTL mortgages – Santander, Clydesdale, Precise Mortgages and Kent Reliance – are now lending again.

“There is no need for landlords to panic. Yes, landlords looking to remortgage have fewer options. But they still have plenty.”

Saffron Building Society withdrew from the market before the outbreak in March – for non-Covid-19 reasons – and has indicated its intention to return ‘later in the year’.

Lenders that stopped lending to landlords since the outbreak, and remain withdrawn from the BTL market, include HSBC, Foundation Home Loans, Together Money, Vida Home Loans, Platform Home Loans, State Bank of India and Furness Building Society.

Olejnik commented: “Lots of lenders have cut down the sorts of landlords that they will lend to. They’re pulling product ranges, tightening lending criteria and increasing margins.

“But different lenders are derisking against different kinds of landlord borrowers. So, while some lenders are no longer lending to first time landlords, there are still lenders who are.

“A huge number of 80% LTV five-year fixed rate BTL products have been pulled from the market – about 90% of them. But not all.”

Number of lenders in BTL remortgage market

Type of BTL RemortgageMarch 2020April 2020Change
First-time landlords4735-26%
Portfolio landlords4033-18%
Ltd company landlords3024-20%
Student lettings3021-30%
HMOs2715-44%
BTL tracker loans2816-43%
85% LTV BTL loans30-100%
Active BTL lenders4942-14%

Valuations

Olejnik added: “With valuers banned from visiting homes, landlords are finding remortgaging harder than it was. But there are lenders offering mortgages using automated valuations, rather than physical valuations, and a lot of our landlord clients are taking advantage of this.

“The landlord community is benefitting from Shawbrook and Paragon, in particular, who are using virtual valuations for loans against standard properties up to 75% of loan to value. They’re being very helpful.

“Even lenders who require a physical valuation at a higher LTV are generally processing landlords’ remortgage applications as normal – but moving the valuation part of the application to the very end. A significant percentage of our landlord clients are happy to do this. They’re content to sit back and wait out the lockdown and get a physical valuation done.”

Product numbers

While the number of lenders operating in the market has fallen only marginally, there has been a significant fall in buy-to-let mortgage deals since the start of March 2020– with the number of BTL products dropping by almost 50%.

Olejnik concluded: “The number of products has dropped but the only section of the market that’s genuinely gummed up is 85% LTV lending – and that’s pretty niche. There were only three lenders doing business at that end of the market when the Boris Bounce was in full swing.”

By Joanne Atkin

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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