Knight Frank Finance, our mortgage broker and advisory service, was formed only nine years ago, but it’s growing fast. This year, the team will arrange over £2bn of lending for our clients. We are a ‘whole of market’ broker, dealing with more than 140 lenders with access to the best possible deals to suit each individual’s needs.
In the post-Brexit environment, and with the recent fall in the Bank of England base rate to 0.25%, we have seen a significant upturn in borrowers reviewing their loans – even if their current ones have some time to run. Many have taken the opportunity to remortgage, taking out longer-term fixed-rate deals. This can guarantee monthly payments for five years or longer at historically low rates of close to 2.0%. For these clients, peace of mind has never been more competitive.
Recently, we have seen an increase in overseas clients, attracted by the pound’s fall in value against international currencies. From a tax point of view, it may be more efficient for these clients to have a mortgage than buy a property in cash. We are also seeing sharp rises in interest from wealthy foreign buyers when a significant tax change leads them to look beyond their own borders. Similarly, the uncertain global political climate has affected the number of foreign nationals looking to buy in the UK.
The biggest change we have seen post-Brexit has not been the individuals looking to borrow, however, but lenders’ appetite to lend. Some banks have reduced their loan-to-value ratio, in expectation that house prices will start to fall, while others have become more conservative in their general lending criteria. It is therefore more crucial than ever that we keep close to the lenders and up to speed with any changes so we can help our clients navigate this ever-evolving market.
Our expertise and contacts help us narrow down the best deal for our clients, from those looking for bridging loans to high-net-worth individuals wanting a specialist high-value mortgage, or those raising finance to fund building a house. Although Knight Frank is usually associated with the premium property market, we are happy to help at every level, from first-time buyers to those downsizing once children have left home. We handle all types of loan requirements, from £100,000 to tens of millions.
At no point since the recession began has it been more difficult to get a mortgage, due to increasing government restrictions on lenders. The process has become increasingly drawn out, and a greater amount of paperwork is now required. As a result, many more buyers are turning to the broker channel for support and to ensure they are given the right advice. Through our excellent market knowledge, contacts and expertise, Knight Frank Finance can provide our clients with deals that meet all their requirements, at the best possible price.