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Equity release broker Key has created three new senior roles within its estate planning department, appointing Neil Naismith as head of sales, Melanie Wain as head of operation and Nicole Porter as product manager.
The team is now structured around four core functions: sales, operations, product management and business development. Naismith, Wain and Porter will all report to Peter Julier, director of later life services at Key.
Julier said: “With the estate planning market growing rapidly it is essential that we have the right people in the right place, I am absolutely delighted that Neil is joining Key at such an exciting time for the business and very pleased that Melanie and Nicole have progressed within the company.
“With all bringing an extensive depth of knowledge of this sector, they will be great assets to our team and our customers.”
Will Hale, chief executive, Key said; “With the demand for later life financial products growing rapidly, it is essential that we have the right people in place to ensure we evolve our Estate Planning proposition and offer a consistently high level of service to our customers.
“Mel, Neil and Nicole will all use their experience to help us continue to build our offering to customers beyond the later life lending market and I look forward to working with them.”
Naismith has joined the company as head of sales, overseeing the front-end telephony and estate planner teams.
He has knowledge within the estate planning and financial services sectors, previously overseeing a field based team of 120 self-employed estate planners at Just Wills Group and building his own will-writing business.
Appointed as head of operation, Melanie Wain, who has previously worked at Russell, Jones and Walker, will oversee the delivery of will-drafting, customer services and administration.
Along with optimising processes and procedures, she will implement new product and service offerings to customers.
Having joined the business in March 2018, Nicole Porter has transitioned across from her role managing operations and been hired as product manager.
This pivotal role will focus on launching new products, propositions, delivering system developments and new sales collateral which will help re-engineer the end-to-end customer journey.
After almost grinding to a complete halt in January, annual house price growth remained subdued in February, with prices just 0.4% higher than the same time last year, Nationwide’s House Price Index has found.
Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, have remained broadly stable in recent months, but survey data suggested that sentiment has softened.
Measures of consumer confidence weakened around the turn of the year and surveyors reported a further fall in new buyer enquiries over the same period.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “The 2019 housing market clearly hasn’t quite taken off in the way many hoped or expected.
“Although activity is better for some price brackets and property types, buyers and sellers are caught in a dilemma. Are concerns over Brexit outweighing positive improvements in affordability and employment, combined with continuing low borrowing costs?
“The result is inaction for many, other than first-time buyer numbers which remain one good news story as they profit from reduced landlord competition for smaller, lower-priced properties, which will certainly benefit the whole market.
“Looking forward, we are not expecting much change until at least the odds on a Brexit deal shorten and perhaps more encouragement for housing in the forthcoming Spring Statement.”
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “While the number of properties coming onto the market also slowed, this doesn’t appear to have been enough to prevent a modest shift in the balance of demand and supply in favour of buyers in recent months.”
“The latest English Housing Survey from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) showed a slight rise in the home ownership rate in 2018 to 63.5% (from 62.6% in 2017).”
Gardner added: “The rise in home ownership was driven by an increase in the number of people owning their home with a mortgage, which began to increase again after declining continuously since 2005.
“The number of people owning their own home with a mortgage rose by 5% over the year to 6.9 million, though this is still 20% below the peak recorded in 2000.
“Supportive labour market conditions and a number of policy changes, especially in the regulatory and tax system, have improved the bargaining position of home buyers relative to investors.
“Government schemes, such as Help To Buy equity loan, have also helped support first time buyer numbers. The biggest improvement in home ownership over the past year has been amongst those aged 35-44, helping to reverse some of the decline seen in the last few years.
“Nonetheless, at 57%, the home ownership rate amongst this age group is still well below its 2006 peak of 73%.”
The number of households owning their homes outright remained at a record high of 7.9 million. This figure has increased by 1.2 million over the past decade, almost entirely amongst homeowners aged 65 or above.
Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, added: “Slower house price growth combined with competitive mortgage rates continues to entice buyers, particularly first-timers, who now make up the majority of home purchases bought with a mortgage.
“With their numbers at a 12-year high, government initiatives, such as Help to Buy and Shared Ownership are helping those who may otherwise be unable to step onto the property ladder.
“For borrowers, the influx of innovative solutions has provided more choice than ever before, which for some may seem a little overwhelming. By speaking with a mortgage adviser, borrowers can gain a better understanding of the options available and receive tailored advice that is best suited to their needs.”
Dilpreet Bhagrath, mortgage expert at Trussle, said: “House price growth has remained slow throughout February. With Brexit still at the forefront of minds, many of those hoping to move are reluctant. This will likely have an impact on property price growth.
“While the number of homes coming onto the market has slowed, there are still some good deals to be had, particularly for first-time buyers not in a chain who are able to move quickly. Those who do find their dream home should take into account their current and future personal circumstances and consider opting for a fixed-rate mortgage for the stability of knowing how much they’ll pay each month.”
The post Annual house price growth remains sluggish in February appeared first on Mortgage Introducer.
Nicola Firth, chief executive of Knowledge Bank
I was chatting with friends recently about mortgages (yes, I should leave work alone for even one night!) and one of them made the comment that he was expecting to get the best rates available because he was, in his terms, a ‘perfect’ borrower.
Leaving aside the withering look he received from his wife in describing himself as perfect, on the face of it his claim seemed reasonable. He had a good job with a blue-chip firm that he’d been with for over five years, a 20% deposit and a salary well over £50,000.
To be fair, he was probably right to believe that lenders would be falling over themselves, until he revealed that the property that they had their eyes on was a stone-built farmhouse that had previously been split in two. One half was being used as a residential home and the other as a holiday let, which they intended to return back to a family home on completion… then there was the small matter of the 27 acres of land that it was sat on!
At this point I had to mention that to a mortgage lender the property is as important as the person, and that his search might not be as simple as first thought. After all, it is the property that the loan is fundamentally secured against.
What this led to was a discussion about whether any of us really ‘conform’ to the mortgage market of old. People’s lifestyles and working structures have changed as have the properties they are buying. There are of course borrowers who are 30-year old PAYE employees with a 30% deposit buying a three-bed semi-detached in a cul-de-sac in Surbiton, but so many are not.
Lenders’ criteria requirements have become more and more sophisticated, which is partly in response to the world changing around us but also thanks to years of data analysis. Sophisticated lending models now predict the risk of a loan on a property when paired with a borrower’s individual circumstances. This means that criteria is tweaked and refined in countless ways.
Fundamentally as humans we like to think of things as being good or bad. In most films and even sporting events there are goodies and the baddies.
However, in the real world there are degrees of good and bad, and in the mortgage world ‘different’ is somewhere in the middle. Different is where it all starts to get a little complicated.
Over the past couple of years there has been a resurgence in loans that would sit broadly under the umbrella of non-conforming. For those of a nervous disposition who may baulk at flashbacks to the credit crunch please look away now.
Looking at the range of non-conforming loans now and a decade ago I think highlights some of the confusion on how we deal with ‘different’.
Even the terms used both now and pre-credit crunch could be interchanged and overlapped in a convoluted Venn diagram. Does specialist cover self-employed and when does near-prime become sub-prime or adverse credit?
We are all individuals with individual circumstances and so you could reasonably argue that we’re all ‘non-conforming’ and that’s no bad thing.
To recognise just how big ‘different’ has become look no further than our criteria search system which at the moment contains over 90,000 individual criteria across residential, buy to let, equity release, self-build, second charge, bridging, commercial and overseas mortgages.
For brokers the message is surely that ‘different’ is understood and accepted if you just know where to look.
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