You have recently started a column for Mortgage Strategy on the commercial sector. What are the sector’s prospects in 2015 and what advice would you give brokers looking to it as a new source of income?
2015 looks like it will be a good year for commercial lending, with the economy strengthening and investors showing renewed interest in higher-yielding assets. We are also seeing new lenders entering the market and greater competition has to be welcome. This is an excellent time for brokers to consider commercial lending as a new source of income. I recommend choosing the right business partner, who can provide guidance and support as you learn your way around the market.
Which one element would you change in the specialist mortgage sector?
I would like to see more lenders accepting proposals for rental properties with DWP tenants. At the moment, only a handful of lenders are willing to consider such cases, but if the security and the landlord are both acceptable, why does it matter if the tenant is the DWP?
Several lenders have raised their proc fees recently. Will average fees continue to rise in 2015?
Yes. We are seeing greater competition in terms of both new lenders entering the market and existing lenders competing more aggressively for new business. This will inevitably encourage a modest increase in proc fees. However, suggestions that brokers’ recommendations are influenced by proc fees are wrong; those days are long gone.
If you were not in the mortgage industry, what would you be?
A sports commentator. I would happily cover pretty much any sport I was assigned to – I enjoy them all.
Which film did you last see at the cinema?
I took my daughters to see Disney’s Frozen. They enjoyed the film; I enjoyed the pick ’n’ mix.
Who is your all-time hero?
My grandfather, 2nd Lt William Hall, who served in the Northumberland Fusiliers and was awarded a Military Cross for his actions in the battle of Passchendaele – the third battle of Ypres. I am planning to visit the Menin Gate in Belgium with my daughters later this year.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Whether or not you would call it a talent, I have a memory like an elephant’s.