Over half (52%) of brokers feel as though the specialist lending market will grow by at least £1bn over the next six months, according to a survey conducted by Bluestone Mortgages.
The lender further revealed that 85% of mortgage brokers believe the market will increase over the course of the year, with over a third (34%) agreeing it will “grow significantly”. Though a majority of brokers believe the market will grow by £1bn in the first half of the year, 37% of respondents predicted it will increase by £1-5bn, while 20% estimated that growth will exceed £5bn.
A third of those surveyed felt the biggest opportunity for the specialist lending market is the growing number of self-employed workers looking to purchase a home, with the number of self-employed increasing from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017. The self-employed now account for nearly 16% of the UK workforce.
In comparison, over a quarter of brokers (26%) cited increased competition and pricing as the largest opportunity, followed by an equal split between increased product choice and consumer confidence at 21%.
The specialist lending market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the mortgage industry, having increased gross annual lending by 19% year-on-year.
Commenting on the findings, Bluestone Mortgages director of sales and marketing Steve Seal said: “There is very little research out there looking at the specialist lending market as an entity of its own, and almost none from a specialist lender itself. We are therefore very excited to launch our new research series to show the capability and potential of the market. This is clearly a fact well-recognised by these brokers across the UK – regardless of wider economic and political uncertainty.
“A growing number of borrowers do not fit traditional lending criteria and the opportunities here for brokers and specialist lenders are unique. Customer lifestyles and habits are changing, and the market needs to adapt with this. With the number of self-employed workers rising, it is vital that this is met with a market fully prepared to cater for this growing pool of borrowers.”
Also commenting, Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts added: “It’s great to see this sector of the market growing, ensuring mortgage solutions are available for many different types of customers and their changing circumstances - whether it be first-time, second steppers or last-time buyers.
“In an area where customers need extra attention and guidance, and fortunately one which robo-advisers will always struggle to penetrate, brokers are ideally placed here to really demonstrate their value.”
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