How is the valuation of properties affecting the market?

Properties are taking longer to sell, specialist broker says

How is the valuation of properties affecting the market?

The down valuation of properties and the extended time it takes for them to sell poses a key market challenge, suggests a specialist broker.

Increasing numbers of clients with adverse credit are also noticeable, according to Sophie Owen (pictured), specialist property finance adviser at Pure Property Finance.

Established for over 10 years, Pure is a team of brokers, based in Cardiff, specialising in bridging, buy-to-let, commercial development, residential finance and secured loans.

“One of the main challenges at the moment seem to surround properties down valuing and properties taking longer than usual to sell,” Owen told Mortgage Introducer. “To overcome this it’s really important to be realistic when considering anticipated values, especially with high LTVs (loan to values).

“We have seen an increase in bridging finance to help with increasing numbers of chain-breaks due to an increase in time to sell properties. After a particularly challenging year of rates increasing and lending becoming more stringent, we’re starting to see rates decreasing, which is of course really positive as lending becomes more affordable again.”

How big a problem is adverse credit?

Owen acknowledges, though, that there are higher numbers of clients who appear to be struggling in the current economy.

“In the last few months there has been a clear increase in the number of clients bearing adverse credit and, as the cost-of-living crisis is affecting a widespread amount of the population, there needs to be a focus on aiding this,” she observed, and suggested that those affected might benefit from support.

“Policymakers could provide flexibility for borrowers facing financial difficulties by implementing or extending programmes for loan modification, forbearance, or other forms of mortgage relief.”

Owen believes that if the first six weeks of this year are anything to go by, then the market in 12 months’ time, should be in good shape – it’s been incredibly busy in 2024, so far.

“Secured loans and bridging finance are of high demand at the moment,” she commented. “After a period of people waiting out the rates, clients are now acting on plans again. Home improvements, property purchases and investment purchases are increasing and hopefully this trend continues.”

Owen has always been interested in the financial world. Growing up in Sussex and then Pembrokeshire, she went on to study at the University of Exeter, firstly an undergraduate degree in business and management, followed by a Masters degree in finance and investment.

After university, she began her career at an insurance firm, advising clients on their protection needs.

“Mortgages felt like the natural progression from this,” Owen explained.  “I like how there are products available for the majority of needs and I enjoy the process of problem solving each client’s needs to meet the requirements of the best suited lender and product.”

READ MORE: Why bridging is the only word customers looking for short-term solutions need to know

What is the key skill for a broker?

Communication is paramount for a good broker, Owen believes, and is “incredibly productive” to get the best outcomes for their clients.

“I think the best relationships between lenders and brokers stem from having a good communication channel and a direct point of contact who can be used for any questions and queries and to help move cases along throughout the process,” she noted.

“Good communication between introducers, clients, lenders, solicitors and vendors can make all the difference. It’s so important that everyone is on the same page to facilitate a deal paying out efficiently. Good communication with solicitors is particularly important with bridging finance so that you can assist with any speed bumps and reduce delays.”

Owen is keen to build on her knowledge, and therefore what she is able to do for her clients, with plans to complete her Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (CeRER). But she makes the most of her time away from the industry.

“I love to travel with my partner,” she enthused. “In the last few years we have been to Thailand, Cambodia, Venice and Dublin and this year have Berlin, Morocco and Bali booked.

Owen added: “It definitely provides the much needed break from a very fast paced environment.”