“Massive opportunity” for buy-to-let brokers, say experts

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Brokers have a “massive opportunity” from the many recent changes that have affected the buy-to-let market, according to experts at last week’s Mortgage Strategy Leaders Forum.

OneSavings Bank sales director Adrian Moloney says: “There is more opportunity in buy-to-let for brokers at the moment.

“Compared to 2008-09, where 70 per cent of the market was done through two lenders, there is a lot more choice, and there is more advice and consideration that needs to be taken account of, and with that comes more opportunity. That opportunity for brokers is immense.”

Coreco director Andrew Montlake says the tax changes and PRA regime were a “massive opportunity” for brokers.

He says: “Landlords will need specialist advice, they will need brokers to guide them through it.”

Moloney adds that the lender has seen “good growth” in buy-to-let in 2017.

He says: “With the tax changes and PRA rules, buy-to-let became a specialist sector almost overnight. I think those lenders that have reacted quickly to that have reaped the benefit. But it’s still early days to say where the buy-to-let market is going, as the changes that we will see in the last quarter of this year will pose more challenges about how we process portfolio buy-to-let lending.”

Investec business development manager Peter Izard says he is optimistic about the future of buy-to-let.

He says: “The demand is still there for buy-to-let, which is a positive, as is the fact that we are moving that private rental sector into a more professional environment. That can only be a good thing.”

But Izard added that a move by many buy-to-let lenders towards longer term fixes could see the PRA intervene if it felt this was being done to get around its affordability rules, which only apply to terms of less than five years.

He says: “We are seeing a flight to five-year fixes, and the interpretation on the rental calculation and how much people can borrow. We have still got some non-regulated buy-to-let lenders. Lenders and intermediaries need to make sure they are working within the spirit of that regulation.”