In Focus: Vulnerability  

Mortgage advisers pledge support through 2021

Mortgage advisers pledge support through 2021

As pressures mount in the mortgage market, the Society of Mortgage Professionals has warned advisers to "manage client expectations".

While the Stamp Duty Land Tax suspension on homes valued at £500,000 and lower is set to come to an abrupt end on March 31, the SMP has warned many clients may be feeling particularly vulnerable.

Whether it is the pressures of the time it is taking for mortgage approvals and home exchanges to go through, or fears over continued pricing and criteria changes, David Thomas, chairman of the SMP, said it was "critical" that mortgage advisers communicate with their clients and manage their expectations.

He explained: “I don’t think anyone quite expected the demand for property and resulting mortgages that the end of the first lockdown and the stamp duty suspension scheme created.

“We know that lenders have been desperately trying to temper demand through a variety of pricing and criteria changes, but that hasn’t stopped the recent wave.

“That pressure is now starting to move into our legal colleagues' hands, and with just a few months still to go, the management of clients’ expectations will be critical.

“It is likely some will miss the deadline, and whilst some may still benefit from recent house prices, there will inevitably be a focus from clients in this area.”

His comments came as the Mortgage Market Alliance said the market was still "open for business", with pledges from the mortgage lending and broking industry to help steer clients through what has been a difficult time. 

Rob Griffiths, director of the MMA, said: "There is good news in terms of the availability of mortgage products right across the piece, and the appetite of lenders to support borrowers whether they are first-time buyers, the self-employed, those with complex income needs, later life customers, landlords, and many more.

"For all, the advice remains the same – take your wants, needs and financial situation to a professional mortgage adviser and let them walk you through the array of options available to you. The market is open for business and is here to help every single borrower.”

And while brokers and lenders are pledging to help support their clients through these unsettling times, Mr Thomas said the SMP was also promising help to its broker members. 

He said the SMP was exploring the efficiencies that can be delivered through technology, the benefits of greater home working and how to ensure expertise continues to be shared with colleagues.

It aims to deliver more good practice guides in 2021, sharing the "plethora of knowledge and experience of the SMP’s 10,000-strong membership" for the benefit of all.

Mr Thomas added: “Our aims are clear. To work with our membership to continue to improve the consumer experience – to enhance standards, professionalism and trust. 2021 will indeed be an exciting year.”

simoney.kyriakou@ft.com