It’s been busy year for Landbay and the buy-to-let sector. We started 2021 in lockdown and working from home, before gradually returning to the office on a hybrid basis.
As lockdown eased it has been good to get out and about seeing people, helping intermediaries with their clients’ requirements and attending industry events.
When the chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the stamp duty holiday from 8 July 2020 to March 2021, he unleashed what was to become a house buying and selling frenzy. Then he extended the deadline for the holiday to June with a tapering off up to the end of September resulting in a surge in housing transactions.
With demand outstripping supply came the inevitable increase in house prices and this, along with the stamp duty holiday, gave professional landlords the opportunity to increase their portfolios.
The latest ONS figures show that the average house price rose by 11.8% over the year to September 2021. This takes the average value of a home to a record £270,000, which is £28,000 higher than the same time last year.
As values increased landlords have been able to release more equity by remortgaging and using the money to fund a deposit on another property. Even though landlords still had to pay the 3% stamp duty surcharge on additional properties this was a great opportunity for them to build their portfolios while reducing their tax bill.
Landbay has attracted new funders during the year, with the likes of Allica and Atom Banks both providing significant funding over the next five years.
Our diverse funding lines mean we are in a strong financial position enabling us to offer competitive products. Throughout the whole of this year we have been very active in reducing rates and adding new products to our mortgage range.
This includes our green range to encourage landlords to buy and upgrade their properties to an EPC rating of A, B or C. Launched in June, green mortgages are now accounting for around 10% of our new loans and have been very well received by intermediaries.
The minimum property value on our core products was lowered to £65,000 from £75,000; and at the other end of the spectrum, the maximum loan size on our Special Edition range increased to £1.5m from £1m. We also recently launched a brand-new suite of five-year fixed rate remortgage products for loans between £250,000 and £500,000.
In a more unusual step we created new products for first-time landlords who want to invest in HMOs. We also increased LTVs on large HMOs/MUFBs (up to 12 beds/units) and properties above commercial units to 75%, up from 70%.
Investment in technology
Landbay is a technology-led lender and we are constantly upgrading our systems to streamline the customer journey, for both our intermediaries partners and landlord applicants.
During the year we added new functionality to our broker portal including more detailed case status reporting and progress updates. ESIS documentation can be downloaded at any time in the application process, applicants no longer need to sign the Offer document and solicitors are instructed as soon as the Offer is made.
We also launched an innovative mortgage calculator which is intuitive and easy to use. It factors in the specific product, the type of property, whether the client is an individual or limited company, and within seconds, gives the interest cover ratio. The intermediary then has the option to submit for a decision in principle.
We expect another busy year and look forward to working with all our intermediary partners.
For more information or to discuss any of your BTL cases please get in touch using our BDM finder.