The specialist bank’s research shows that intermediaries feel Brexit and stagnant house prices will not negatively affect the lending market, with only 2.5% of professionals in the sector expecting to see sales decline.
The biggest growth challenges for intermediaries in the year ahead are lending criteria (35%), regulation (27%) and lack of innovation (18%).
When asked about customers’ needs for 2019, 35% of brokers think low rates are still top of customers’ agendas. However, more complex circumstances mean that clients have requirements beyond simply getting a cheap deal. Almost a quarter (23%) of brokers said customers were more likely to prioritise flexible lending criteria, and only 5% believed low fees are a priority for customers.
Some of brokers’ optimism is down to the fact that much of the business generated over 2018 did not rely on new borrowing. Remortgaging (14%) and product transfers (10%) were seen as the key areas for growth for almost a quarter of those surveyed.
Matt Andrews, managing director of mortgages at Masthaven, commented: “Despite ongoing Brexit negotiations and another quarter of slowing house prices, it is positive to know that intermediaries are confident for a successful 2019 with a large proportion expecting sales to increase.
“Customers, new and returning, are continuing to turn to specialist lending options for flexible products which traditional high street banks have been slow to cater for.
“This year is set to be another bumper one for the industry – we are already seeing restrictive credit scores and prescriptive lending criteria being reconsidered. However, there is always room for improvement.
“We must continue to create innovate products, develop frictionless services and streamline the borrowing process so that despite the unknown uncertainties that lie ahead, specialist finance will continue to become the new normal.”