Fleet Mortgages lends over £1.2 billion in 2022

Fleet Mortgages, the buy-to-let specialist lender, has today announced it completed over £1.2bn of new lending completions during the 2022 calendar year.

Through the 12-month period up to 31st December 2022, Fleet’s mortgage origination figures of £1.237bn meant it was 58% up on the previous year’s figure of £782m.

Despite some considerable turmoil within the lending market during last year – particularly during Autumn – Fleet said its lending activity was strong throughout 2022 with its busiest completion months taking place between August and November.

2022 was the first full year of lending under Fleet’s owners, Starling Bank, with all funding coming via the digital bank. The average loan amount over the course of the entire year was just shy of £215k.

The lender also saw a significant increase in employee numbers through 2022, moving from 112 at the start of the year to 170 at the end of December. Fleet also introduced a new satellite office in Cardiff with a specific focus on underwriting.

Fleet said the quality of its mortgage book remains very high, with landlord borrowers continuing to manage their financial affairs in a way that was not developing into higher mortgage arrears.

2022 arrears numbered just 11 across its entire 13,000 mortgages outstanding, up marginally from the seven reported in the previous year.

Fleet’s 2022 lending mix continued to evolve through the year, with rising interest rates constraining affordability during the last quarter. This resulted in strong demand for tracker-rate products however Fleet said it anticipates lower interest rates in the future and, as a result, increased demand for five-year fixes to return later in the year.

Fleet currently offers products across three core buy-to-let mortgage ranges – standard, limited company and HMO/multi-unit freehold blocks – with five- and seven-year fixes, trackers plus Green fixes and trackers available.

The lender reported the proportion of mortgage applications received for the purpose of buying investment properties increased during the second half of 2022, with significant demand coming from portfolio landlords buying investment properties through SPV limited companies, particularly in areas outside Greater London.

At the start of the year, 50% of Fleet’s mortgage applications came from this source, however this had increased to two-thirds of applications received during the last quarter of 2022.

Service levels remain high with Fleet currently assessing documents within 48 hours, conducting same-day DIP reviews and providing valuation turnarounds within 48 hours.

Steve Cox, Chief Commercial Officer at Fleet Mortgages, commented: “2022 was undoubtedly a rollercoaster year for the entire mortgage market so we are very pleased to be able to announce a significant increase in our lending completions.

“At the same time, we have also added some considerable resource to the business, bringing in excellent people to our Fleet head office, as well as the opening of our satellite office in Cardiff.

“This has allowed us to retain our service levels and to ensure we can work quickly on behalf of our intermediary partners and their clients.

“The support we have received from Starling remains top-class and it allows us to enter the new year full of ambition to continue lending to a part of the market we believe will continue to thrive, namely professional and portfolio landlords who are invested in the private rental sector for the long term.

“It’s been positive to see pricing coming off its most recent highs, and we fully anticipate this trend will continue into the year ahead, offering advisers and their landlord clients access to competitive rates and products which will allow them to maintain their profitability and hopefully add to their portfolios.

“Fleet remains absolutely committed to this market, and we believe the fundamentals of the private rental sector remain strong particularly the high level of tenant demand that continues to exist against a backdrop of low supply.

“We therefore are fully committed in 2023 to providing them with the products and service level they, and their clients, have come to expect from us.”

Nicola Richardson, Chief Financial Officer at Fleet Mortgages, said: “For the 2022 calendar year – Fleet’s first full calendar year as a subsidiary of Starling Bank – we are delighted to have achieved more than £1.2bn in new lending completions. To reach this level while also growing a more sustainable, scalable business – and given the macroeconomic conditions – is something the Executive team are very proud of. 2023 will undoubtedly be a challenging year but with the support of Starling Bank, we look forward to continuing to serve this market.”