Glasgow-based broker firm Select Finance Consultants has launched the first UK website devoted to Islamic mortgages.
www.halalmortgages.com is an online financial intermediary dedicated to providing mortgages to UK Muslims who wish to own their own homes or refinance existing conventional mortgages. The site includes product information, enquiry forms, 24-hour online accessibility and can refer visitors to a customer call centre.
The website has two lenders on its panel – Ahli Bank, which provides Manzil home purchase plans following the Islamic financing principles of Ijara and Murabaha, and United National Bank, which offers an Islamic mortgage enabling clients to purchase a property without incurring interest. Ijara is based on a lease-to-own, interest-free model making it compliant with the Riba provision of Sharia, while Murabaha is based on a deferred sale finance concept.
Tariq Mahmood, managing director of SFC and proprietor of the site, says: “The thinking behind the website is to cater for Muslims and create demand. This niche market is growing considerably as second and third generation Muslims wish to get back to their roots and secure Sharia-compliant products.”
But Peter Watson, managing director of Bristol-based Watson Financial Management which offers Islamic finance advice, says: “I get more journalists calling me about Muslim products than I do actual clients. Bristol has an above average population of Muslims so if the market is dead here you can imagine how it is in other areas.”
Watson adds that the products' success will be limited as many Muslims tend to stick to conventional mortgages.