We’re delighted to introduce a brand new blog contributor, AnnMarie Burke, a knowledgeable Mortgage and Protection Adviser with respected Belfast firm Mortgage First.
With over 15 years in the industry, experience of the London and Northern Ireland markets, and a CV that includes retail banking as well as brokerage, she is ideally placed to share her insights into the mortgage market.
We start with a big headline - NatWest is to launch its intermediary solutions service in Northern Ireland next month in a bid to provide greater choice and flexibility for brokers.
The service will offer Northern Ireland mortgage brokers the same proposition, lending criteria and policy as are currently on offer in the rest of the UK.
Graham Felstead, head of intermediary mortgages at NatWest Intermediary Solutions, said: “This is a positive move for brokers in Northern Ireland as we are well placed to support the future growth and sustainability of mortgage lending in the province.
“We are really looking forward to working in partnership with the brokers of Northern Ireland and have an appetite to grow our lending to their customers.”
If they are moving into Northern Ireland, NatWest have obviously seen an appetite for lending and decided it is a market worth moving into.
We’re confident this will generate a good number of new applications. This is a lender confident in dealing with applications both for residential and buy-to-let, similar to the Lloyds Banking Group, so their criteria may not be as tight as some of the other lenders.
There’s further good news for buy-to-let investors, as rates are at an all-time low – the best lending rate at time of writing is 1.94%.
It’s currently cheap to borrow, rather than relying on savings to invest – so now is the time.
The market in general remains strong; we are still seeing a lot of activity.
BM Solutions have reduced their stress test calculator for buy-to-let mortgages, indicating their continued confidence as a buy-to-let lender in the Northern Ireland market.
When measuring affordability for buy-to-let mortgages, a lender will stress test against the possibility of rising mortgage rates.
This looks at your projected monthly rental income to see the likelihood of that income allowing you to meet your mortgage repayments if rates were to rise.
Some lenders require monthly rental income to be 145% of mortgage repayments, for example, at a rate of 4.74% and upwards.
So BM relaxing their rental income criteria could be good news for landlords looking for flexibility within their portfolio.
They retain their cap of 3 mortgages across the Lloyds Group lender spread, as well as £2,000,000 maximum exposure – but generally in Northern Ireland, people hit the cap without hitting maximum exposure.
Exposure is the total amount of credit extended to a lender by a bank.
There are more lenders coming in to the buy-to-let market and BM is probably one of the most confident lenders, because typically what they would look at on their lender spread, is buy to let.
We hope you enjoyed the first ever Mortgage Insights on The Belfast Property Blog. If you have any mortgage questions, you can contact AnnMarie by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, filling in our contact form, or contact the office by phone or in person.