60 Seconds with… Steven Marks, corporate development executive, Newcastle Building Society Intermediary Services

Marks

You have just entered the buy-to-let market. Why now?

Buy-to-let is increasingly seen as a mainstream section of the market, accounting for a significant part of it, as proved by recent CML stats. More and more people seem to view it as just another form of investment. Over the past year, NBSIS has improved its proposition for intermediaries, so this was a logical, attractive next step.

How does your offering differ from other lenders’ and what can we expect over the coming 12 months?

As with all our products and services, we aim to provide good value and easy ways of doing business. We believe we have achieved that with our buy-to-let products. They have pricing and policy features, including the fact we credit-search and consider cases on their merits, and we pay the packaging fee on behalf of the applicant. It is difficult to say how the products will evolve over the next year but we are conscious of pockets of activity, for example in London, with their own characteristics. Slightly different features may prove attractive there. 

How will buy-to-let fare over the next year and will the entire sector be regulated eventually?

Certain market dynamics support the continued growth of buy-to-let. There is still a shortage of housing, affordability is an issue for many and there is a view that younger people are happy to rent, as they do with phone and car contracts. ‘Ownership’ is perhaps not as all important as before. There is also the increasing belief that buy-to-let is a good form of mainstream investment. It is hard to say how far regulation will go but, as more and more ordinary people invest in, and borrow for, buy-to-let, the more it will be on the regulator’s radar. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

From former England rugby coach Clive Woodward’s book (I think): ‘If things are going well, look out of the window at all those who helped you get there. If things are not going well, look in the mirror and ask yourself what more you could do.’

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A professional golfer.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what three things would you need?

My swimming goggles, my music and suntan lotion to protect my pale Scottish skin.

Do you have any hidden talents?

None at all. But I am about to do my first Ironman triathlon so maybe I have sheer bloody-minded determination.