Coronavirus  

Second lockdown tops adviser concerns

Second lockdown tops adviser concerns

Advisers perceive a second coronavirus wave as the greatest threat to the mortgage market, with the issue of Brexit paling in comparison according to recent research. 

In a survey of 264 advisers, principals and administrators the MCI mortgage club found 73 per cent warned a fresh lockdown would have negative consequences on the mortgage landscape in the coming year.  

In comparison, only 35 per cent flagged Brexit as a concerning factor. 

Melanie Spencer, head of the MCI Club, said: "Understandably, as restrictions are eased over the country, everyone serving the market will rightly consider a second lockdown to be a disastrous event, especially as the market is beginning to gain momentum again.

"Of course, it is surprising that Brexit didn’t rank as highly, or more specifically, an appropriate trade agreement by the end of the year. 

"It could be that we’re on course for more economic disruption, just of a different kind."

But despite the possible threat of a second lockdown the survey, which was conducted in June, found 94 per cent of respondents were "confident regarding their business or employment".

A recent survey by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association found the majority of mortgage intermediaries were positive about the outlook for their business, despite the obvious disruption of the pandemic. 

Alan Lakey, director at Highclere Financial, warned a second wave, alongside other compounding factors, could mean Brexit would be "the very least of our worries".  

Mr Lakey said: "I agree, in general with this, but my main concern is the numbers of unemployed which in tandem with the ending of the stamp duty holiday will mean a substantial drop in property prices with a subsequent domino effect.

"Next Spring there will be far more people selling than buying and prices will drop. 

"Negative equity is almost certain to return which may mirror the 1991 crisis where borrowers were handing their house keys in at their lenders with a subsequent impact on their credit rating."

Martin Stewart, director at the Money Group, said the source of broker concern may not lie with the second wave itself. 

Mr Stewart said: "I think they are more concerned about the fact that Rishi Sunak will run out economic stimulus on their behalf. 

"We said at the very outset that good, experienced and well capitalised brokers had nothing to be concerned about provided they accepted the situation, circled the wagons and focused on 2021.

"If however they are working on the assumption that the current market feeding frenzy is a buffet for life then they might want to reconsider some things."

imogen.tew@ft.com, rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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