Second lockdown more likely than Brexit to affect the market

More than twice as many principals, advisers and administrators worry about the impact of a second coronavirus lockdown than about Brexit, according to a new survey from the MCI mortgage club.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of those questioned indicated they felt a fresh lockdown will affect the mortgage market over the next twelve months. By contrast, just over a third (35%) pointed to Brexit as a factor.

Other significant influences cited by respondents included stricter lender criteria (68%), mass unemployment (67%), and recession (63%). In addition, 62% highlighted the adverse effect of payment holidays, furlough, and business support loans. Only 3% responded that there would be no change over the next twelve months.

The survey, sourced across MCI members and users of the eKeeper CRM, concluded in late June 2020, and had 264 responses.

Responses also touched upon other areas, including which sectors businesses expected to move or expand into. Principals and senior directors indicated growth away from standard residential purchases into protection and buy-to-let (both 37.5%), as well as residential re-mortgages and equity release (both 35%).

Regarding overall confidence in the outlook for the mortgage market over the next twelve months, 94% responded that they were confident regarding their business or employment. This rose to 97.5% for principals or senior directors.

Melanie Spencer, Head of the MCI Club, commented: “Understandably, as restrictions are eased over the country, everyone serving the market will rightly consider a second lockdown to be a disastrous event, especially as the market is beginning to gain momentum again.

“With the Stamp Duty cut until next year, the conditions are right for a sustainable bounce-back. Of course, it is surprising that Brexit didn’t rank as highly, or more specifically, an appropriate trade agreement by the end of the year. It could be that we’re on course for more economic disruption, just of a different kind.”

She continued: “That said, it is refreshing to see the levels of confidence our respondents had, and that good proportions are looking to expand and diversify their business through protection, BTL and equity release.

“Adaptability is key, and whether this is technology to support your business, expanding your proposition through specialist and later-life lending panels, or alternative routes into the protection world, the MCI Club is providing those services to keep its member firms buoyant over the next twelve months.”