Rise in intermediary enquiries bodes well for industry: Wager

In the fourth quarter of 2016, intermediaries received 26 per cent more enquiries than in Q3, which bodes well for 2017

The fourth quarter of 2016 probably seems an age ago for intermediaries, especially those who have been kept busy into the early part of 2017. But business in that quarter was brisker than in years gone by.

Data from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association shows that, in Q4 2016, the intermediary mortgage market benefited from a 26 per cent increase in enquiries. Brokers are said to have received an average of 58 enquiries, up from 46 in Q3.

There was also reported to be a significant rise in the average number of buy-to-let enquiries, jumping from 43 to 63 per intermediary between Q3 and Q4.

This data is positive but hardly surprising. Complexity has heightened across many sectors and it is little wonder more and more borrowers are seeking professional advice. Landlords have become acutely aware of impending changes, subsequently taking stock of not only their existing portfolios but also their plans for the future.

Other positive findings include a rise in the number of applications in principle resulting in full applications, from 70 per cent to 73 per cent. What is more, a larger proportion of borrowers progressed through the mortgage approval process in Q4 than in Q3, with the rate of completions rising from 74 per cent to 80 per cent.

These improvements could be the result of lenders’ heavy investment in upgrading systems, their implementation of smart online tools and their streamlining of service requirements. They could also be thanks to better all-round lender and intermediary engagement.

When you add the fact that increasing numbers of both lenders and consumers are better valuing the intermediary proposition, it bodes well for business volumes and conversion rates.

Sidney Wager is intermediary partnerships director at Barclays