Looking ahead to 2018 – Are you ready to help your clients?

Product Development Manager Nathan Reilly highlights some of the big opportunities for advisers to help clients in 2018

2017 was a big year for several sectors in the mortgage industry, with plenty for advisers to keep on top of. This has made helping advisers prepare for opportunities and adapt to change an even bigger focus for our network and club this year.

To help advisers stay ahead of the game once again, I have highlighted some of the top opportunities there will be to support clients in 2018!

The cessation boom

Current data predicts that £220bn worth of mortgage product cessations are due in 2018. This is a massive opportunity to help clients ensure they are on the most suitable product for them, especially if that means they can save money on their monthly mortgage repayments.

Some lenders are increasing the number of remortgage and product transfer products they offer. Data shows that remortgaging was responsible for 37% of valuations in August 2017, which is its highest share of the market in a decade. Early signs suggest remortgaging will have another big part to play in 2018.

Base Rate rises possible

Whether or not the Bank of England increases the base rate from its historic low on Thursday 2nd November, there has been definite movement from the Monetary Policy Committee towards an increase.

Even a small upward movement could create a substantial change in consumer behaviour. Moving from just talk of a rise to the increase itself will mean people may start looking more closely at those stress margins they were tested against. Advisers will be invaluable once again, as this may also trigger a new wave of remortgage opportunities.

Changes to HMO

A recent survey found that more than 85% of all landlords were unfamiliar with upcoming changes regarding Houses of Multiple Occupation. From April 2018, landlord clients may have to carry out expensive restructuring work on properties or risk being fined.

The new laws will impose tougher minimum standards on room sizes, waste disposal and storage facilities. After the changes, some landlords may even be left with rooms they are no longer able to rent out to tenants.

GDPR comes into effect

The General Data Protection Regulation, otherwise known as GDPR, will replace the existing Data Protection Act. This will become part of UK law from 25 May 2018 and apply to any organisation that handles any individual’s personal data. The new rules are designed to give more people control over how their data is stored and for how long.

Help for mortgage prisoners

The FCA has been calling for lenders to do more to help mortgage prisoners. These are borrowers that have found themselves trapped on a lender’s SVR, unable to remortgage due to complicated borrowing scenarios.

Experts are concerned at the growing number of mortgage prisoners in the market, who often as a result of changing circumstances no longer meet new affordability and stress testing rules. Fortunately, we have grown the number of specialist lenders on panel to bring advisers more options to help those with borrowing needs that require a specialist touch.

Second phase in BTL tax relief

After being introduced in April, the changes in tax relief that landlords can claim on their mortgage repayments for second homes will reach its second phase in April 2018. The level of income tax relief landlords can claim will be restricted to the basic rate by 2020. This will affect those that let residential properties as an individual, or in a partnership or trust.

All residential landlords with finance costs will be affected, but only some will pay more tax. Landlords that won’t be affected include UK resident companies, non-UK resident companies and any landlord of Furnished Holiday Lettings. It is of course important to ensure that clients are getting the required tax advice from an expert when considering the financial effects of any tax changes.

Advances in technology

It is hard to get away from changes in technology, and this is as much the case in the mortgage sector. Robo-advice is still being looked at as a possible way of streamlining the mortgage process for consumers. Freeing up time to spend with clients can only be a good thing, and far from replacing the adviser, changes in technology could simply mean more clients will be supported even more efficiently.

A certain portion of those needing to borrow money for a home will of course be looked after more quickly through automation. But human advice is still highly valued in a sector that contains numerous borrowing scenarios, which often need looking at in more detail than simply a series of questions.

Other things to keep an eye on

EPC changes – Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are used as a measure of the energy efficiency of a property. Although first introduced for those buying and selling homes, they are now prevalent in the rental market as well. From April 2018, landlords will need to reach a minimum EPC level before renting their property to new tenants.

Aging population – As people live and say healthier for longer, it becomes more common to borrow into later life. Lenders are adjusting their criteria all the time to suit the changing needs of older borrowers. This includes higher age limits and a raft of more suitable options to suit their needs, such as interest-only and specialist products.

Open Banking – The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) retail banking market investigation found that larger banks did not have to compete for market space when compared with their smaller and newer counterparts. This has resulted in consumers paying more and not benefiting from new services. The CMA is therefore implementing one of their reforms called ‘Open Banking’, a transparency initiative that the FCA finalised requirements for in September.

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.

“As an ambitious network, we are always looking to expand propositions and introduce new products and services that will benefit our brokers”