Firing line 

‘If someone else had already changed it, we wouldn’t need to’

‘If someone else had already changed it, we wouldn’t need to’

Demand for mortgages in London is on the rise despite concerns a disorderly Brexit has negatively impacted the housing market, says Conor Murphy, founder and chief executive of Capricorn Financial Consultancy and Smartr365.

“There have been so many question marks for so long, people are just sick of it,” he says.

According to Mr Murphy, a London-based mortgage adviser until two years ago, housing has not seen any major downturns – in fact, demand is growing, with prospective homeowners looking to take advantage of a fall in prices.

He explains: “Prices-wise, London is down by 15 per cent or more from where it was three or four years ago.

“But I would say there is a big uptake in interest, and there are definitely more people out there looking for property.”

He adds: “There are lots of parts of London where prices have dropped, so there is quite good value to find out there.”

Brexit uncertainty

So how has Brexit impacted housing in London? Mr Murphy explains: “There was a knee-jerk reaction when the referendum first happened.

“Now, most people I speak to say mortgage applicant registrations are up, and more people are looking for a property this year than at this time last year.”

He says Brexit has not affected housing too negatively, though it has had some impact.

Nevertheless, he says the impact has already been felt over the past three years.

He says: “It has been a slow descent, but house prices were already on their way down anyway, so most likely this was just slightly exacerbated by Brexit.

“But most people are not sitting there in a blind panic saying, ‘I am not going to buy a property’.

“Eventually, you do get to a point where people... need to get on with their lives they need somewhere to live.”

Mr Murphy says: “The big factors currently restricting the market place would be stamp duty and the initial cash outlay or deposit.

“But the reality is a mortgage is always cheaper than renting in the long term.” 

Streamlining mortgages

In 2017, Mr Murphy led the development of the mortgage technology platform Smartr365, with a mission to streamline the process of taking out a mortgage, after having witnessed the inefficiencies of the industry throughout his career as a broker and mortgage adviser.

Currently, it takes 10 to 12 hours to process a mortgage and so the point is to speed things along and improve efficiency through better communication with all parties involved, he says.

He adds: “If someone else had already changed it, we would not have needed to, but when we looked around for what was needed we saw an opportunity, so that’s what we focused on.”

The mortgage technology platform, which allows mortgage brokers and advisers to manage clients’ portfolios easily from one place, benefiting from automated updates, was officially up and running in December 2018, after receiving a £3m investment from Legal & General.