Metro Bank upbeat despite London property market slowdown

Metro Bank upbeat despite London property market slowdown

Metro Bank is confident about its prospects despite a housing market slowdown in the south-east, where the majority of its outlets are based.

The challenger bank, which enjoyed 57 per cent growth in mortgage lending during 2016, currently has 48 stores, most of which fall within the Greater London area.

A number of recent studies have pointed to price falls in the capital, with Hometrack analysis revealing year-on-year declines of up to 5 per cent in the most expensive markets.

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But director of mortgage distribution Charles Morley told FTAdviser: “We have not been unduly affected by anything in the south-east. We still have considerable business in the large loan marketplace.

“We do extremely well in the London area. We have a bespoke service on large loans, a competitive product range and underwriters that understand the large loan product market.”

Metro Bank, which already offers its products via intermediaries across the country, has plans to expand beyond its southeastern base to areas such as Birmingham, Leicester and Bristol.

With the housing market picking up in the Midlands and the north of England, boosting the number of outlets in these areas could capitalise on the shift in buyer interest away from London.

“We are continuing to open stores,” Mr Morley said. “We see them as really important to our business model and the ability for customers to access those is critical – not only from a banking perspective, but from a mortgage perspective as well.

“What we look at is to make sure we are supporting the city. You don’t just move to Birmingham and open one store; if you move to Birmingham, you open a cluster. You are making sure you are serving the city.

“From our point of view, we have a national offering. We are making sure we have the infrastructure that supports our national intermediary offering.”

Following the successful launch of high loan-to-value mortgages earlier this year, Metro also plans to boost its product offering further in the near future.

The products boasted rates available for purchase and remortgage of 2.39 per cent for a two year fix, 2.39 per cent for a three year fix and 2.74 per cent for a five year-fix, all of which come with a fee of £999.

Remortgage-only rates are 2.49 per cent for a two or three year fix and 2.79 per cent for a five year fix, or 2.64 per cent and 2.69 per cent without the £999 product fee.

“We are looking at a number of different mortgage areas we will be updating in,” Mr Morley explained. 

“We have plans to develop more intergenerational mortgages. We already have a couple in the marketplace to help the younger generation get on the housing ladder. That is an area we will be looking to generate more interest in.”

But Tony Silver, director at London-based White House Mortgages, said Metro Bank still had some way to go to convince him to use them.