27 February 2023

Stick to the knitting, or is it time for change?

By John Scrivens, New Build & First Time Buyer Lead, Skipton Building Society For Intermediaries

There’s a big question to kick start the year.  Whether it’s customers looking to upsize, downsize, side size (relocate), developers contemplating the customer needs of the future in their planning programmes or lenders innovating new criteria/product areas, I think its fair to say we are staring into yet another rollercoaster year for the housing and mortgage markets.

Being fresh into the New Build & First Time Buyer Lead role at Skipton, but not new in the Intermediary sector over the years I’ve seen first-hand the success of broker firms specialising in the New Build market. They have grasped the needs of clients and worked well with lenders in the fast-paced world of New Build.

In my view, clients looking to buy new really do need advice, now more than ever. The exit of Help To Buy in England & Scotland has left a void for customers, who are now faced with a complicated web of choices regarding how best to buy their dream homes.  Personally, I think all this confusion and uncertainty helps position the Intermediary professional well and I can see the rise of non-high street bank mortgage advice continuing.

Having spent many years working with Intermediaries, I’ve witnessed the strong reputation and proposition we have with brokers and developers alike.  During recent visits, I have been asking brokers a question: do we need to change what we do for New Build applications or ‘stick to the knitting?’.

I was pleased to hear that the overwhelming feedback from my discussions with brokers, has been to continue supporting in the way we have done for years. Brokers enjoy the certainty of our 9 month offers as standard, plus 3 months extension (subject to an up-to-date credit search and income and affordability checks), escalated service on New Build applications being underwritten within 48 hours and additional documents being requested at underwrite being looked at within 24 hours. Not forgetting a FREE standard valuation (for mortgage purposes only) instructed at time of application.

It’s fair to say that in a year where there is likely to be much economic uncertainty and volatility in the housing market at Skipton we will be ‘sticking to the knitting’.  I’m sure most of you reading this article will agree, service is so important for you and your clients, and it is because of this we will continue to focus on the service we deliver for you. Which includes continuing to review our New Build proposition in order to ensure it continues to play its role in supporting more people into home ownership.

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