How well is the mortgage market recovering?

Industry boss gives his assessment

How well is the mortgage market recovering?

After a turbulent few years, the mortgage market is still recovering and will encounter further “bumps along the road”, suggests an industry executive.

Communication with clients is key, so that they are across the full range of services available to them, according to Martin Reynolds (pictured), CEO of SimplyBiz Mortgages – the third largest mortgage club in the intermediary market.

“The year has started well with an uptick in consumer confidence around house purchases, with SimplyBiz members feeding back that they’re seeing a greater uplift in enquiries, which is good news,” Reynolds told Mortgage Introducer. 

“The market is still in recovery mode though, and we will see bumps along the way around product pricing and supply of housing stock. The key for me is that advisers are able to have a position on the most important questions the consumer will have. Where are both mortgage rates and bank base rate going? Are house prices still dropping, or have they stabilised? We will never have the perfect answers, but having a strong position and rationale is important.  

He advised: “You cannot over communicate to your clients, so make sure they know you are there to help them, but ensure that they are fully aware of the full range of services you offer. People’s circumstances can change very rapidly and knowing what support and products you offer will provide you with more opportunities. 2024 will remain a challenge, but we entered the year knowing that would be the case.”

Why do lenders need to be transparent?

As well as heading up SimplyBiz, where he’s focused on helping its members and lender partners to run and grow their businesses more efficiently, Reynolds is chair of the Financial Intermediary & Brokers Association (FIBA), the commercial property trade body. He believes it’s important that lenders are open about why an application has failed, to help brokers better support a client.

“Transparency is key,” Reynolds stated. “A lender will not be able to help everyone but, in my view, a ‘no’ should be accompanied with a reason that allows the adviser to help the client get to the next best solution.”

What does he consider the biggest barrier to brokers’ success currently?

“The biggest barrier is having the time to provide the service that is now needed, especially around remortgage and product transfer reviews that can happen a multiple number of times during the process,” considered Reynolds. “Successfully managing their time, and the ability to prioritise their business, as revenue and costs challenges continue, will be very important for advisers this year.

“Within the mortgage market, technology has still not been adopted as much as it should have been. Systems are improving all the time but a fully joined up journey has not been achieved, and getting advisers to follow that journey is the next stage of its development.”

READ MORE: SimplyBiz bolsters compliance team

How to succeed in business

Reynolds has been in financial services for over 30 years, covering mortgage lending and insurance across lenders, providers, and intermediary distributors. He undoubtedly has a wealth of knowledge, but is clear about the best business lesson he has learned.

“Always do the basics right,” he declared. “Most of being in business is not rocket science - we can sometimes try to overcomplicate situations or products to make them different, but this can just confuse and make them harder to sell.

“Be clear and concise in what you do and offer, always deliver on what you say you will do, and communicate regularly along the process. People are buying you and your service; in most instances they don’t know what the actual product is they need. Be confident in your ability.”

This far into his career, Reynolds evidently retains his enthusiasm for the sector SimplyBiz serves.

“The mortgage market is a great industry to be in,” he reflected. “It is challenging, but advisers are helping people buy their properties and provide security for themselves and their family; not many industries can say that.

“The industry is doing lots of work to improve itself, its image, and the inclusivity within in. It is great to see this, and I feel we will be in an even more positive position in 12 months’ time.”