Bluestone Mortgages has launched a series of fixed rate products alongside an overhaul of its residential and buy-to-let product range. The review will also see a rise in its proc fees.
The specialist lender has introduced a new five-year fixed rate product starting at 4.2 per cent as well as making reductions to existing rates which now start at 3.93 per cent.
Bluestone, which is part of Bluestone Group, also announced an increase to its procuration fees, from 0.4 per cent to 0.5 per cent.
The move is aimed at “helping customers who are looking for greater certainty in their repayments” the lender said in a statement.
As part of the review, Bluestone has reintroduced its individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) and bankruptcy products, in addition to its 85 per cent LTV residential mortgage.
The lender has increased its maximum loan amount to £1,000,000 while reducing its minimum loan to £50,000. The minimum property value to qualify has further been reduced to £75,000. Both reductions are aimed at helping borrowers with smaller deposits.
It has also expanded its broker support team to seven members. As part of the expansion, two new underwriters have been appointed as well as two new telephone business development managers who are to support field-based account managers.
£1,495 fixed fee for residential and two per cent for buy-to-let.
Peter McGuinness, chief executive of Bluestone Group, said: “As a specialist lender, Bluestone’s focus is on providing appropriate finance solutions to consumers who are currently underserved or who have been excluded by mainstream lenders. We have been assisting customers obtain finance for over 16 years in our various markets; we understand the importance of providing tailored solutions to suit individual needs, while backing this up with first rate service to our intermediary partners.
“Giving brokers the support and resource they need to best serve their clients remains a core priority for Bluestone. By strengthening our service team and bolstering our underwriting capabilities, we are confident that these new improvements will be attractive for both our brokers and customers alike.”
Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “The mortgage market is very competitive at the moment, with lenders constantly improving rates and criteria. It is good to see that these changes don’t only apply to the mainstream market, with products from lenders like Bluestone also increasingly catering for more specialist customers and scenarios. With increased choice and complexity, it demonstrates the value of a mortgage broker to help customers ensure they get the most suitable product for their circumstances. Just concentrating on the high street means many customers will miss out.”
The rise of what might be seen as “niche” products in the mortgage market can only add to consumer choice and that of the adviser and new hirings to facilitate those products is a shrewd move from Bluestone at the time of a difficult lending market. The real challenge will be with the buy-to-let products due to the particular shyness in that area because of the glaring regulation changes that have beset the sector. Increasing the maximum loan amount to £1,000,000 while reducing its minimum loan to £50,000 should also give intermediaries the flexibility they need in an increasingly competitive market.