Latest news

Precise Mortgages Cuts Price on HMO and Ltd Company Buy to Let Products

03 August 2016

Precise Mortgages, the specialist lender, has made a number of changes to its buy to let product range available to brokers from today. The changes will strengthen Precise Mortgages specialist proposition in the buy to let sector and increase its market share.

Highlights of the range include:

• HMO rates reduced by up to 0.60%pa

• Ltd Company rates reduced by up to 0.55%pa

• New 2 year fixed rate at 2.79%pa with a 1.50% Product Fee available via L&G and SBG

• Core range pricing and fixed rate end dates refreshed

• Up to 10 properties, £5million with Precise Mortgages and unlimited with other lenders

• Rental calculation based on 125% of the higher of the pay rate or revert rate

Alan Cleary, Managing Director of Precise Mortgages said: “Traditionally the summer months can see business levels soften but we want to increase our market share and have positioned our new buy to let range to achieve that objective.”

Jane Benjamin, Head of Relationship Management at Sesame Bankhall Group, added: “These new products should be attractive to landlords who are struggling to get a buy to let mortgage from high street lenders. At a time when many landlords are uncertain about how the recent tax changes will impact on them, as well as not knowing when the next interest rate change is likely to occur, the stability of a fixed rate, coupled with the lower Product Fee will make these products attractive to a wider range of customers.”

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Precise Mortgages Launches Retention Program with Procuration Fees

14 July 2016

Precise Mortgages, the specialist lender has launched a retention program for customers coming to the end of their initial fixed or discount deals and will be paying procuration fees when an intermediary is involved.

The lender says that it will be writing to eligible customers up to three months in advance to inform them that their initial rate is coming to an end and offering additional product options. The letter will clearly inform the customer that they should refer to their broker if they require advice. If the customer chooses not use a broker they will be able to transfer to a new rate on an execution only basis.

Where a broker gives advice and the customer switches to a new product with the lender a procuration fee of 0.25% will be payable.

Customers and brokers are able to choose from a 2 year fixed rate, 2 year tracker or a 5 year fixed rate, with all products having no lender fees. As the lender already has all the information it needs to complete the transaction, the process will be straightforward and will require minimal paperwork, no conveyancing and no underwriting.

Alan Cleary, Managing Director of Precise Mortgages says: “The numbers of customers coming to the end of their deals with us is quite small at the moment but will become significant in 2017 and beyond. We are in test and learn phase for the next six months and will make changes as appropriate. The one thing I am certain of is that this gives customers and brokers more product choices which I believe is a good thing.”

Jeremy Duncombe, Director of L&G Mortgage Club added: “This is good news for customers and brokers with Precise Mortgages doing the right thing and paying brokers for the work they are doing. Precise Mortgages join a growing list of lenders who are recognising the vital role of the broker in giving best advice to the customer when their rate matures. We expect more lenders to follow in making this the norm.”

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Precise Mortgages Revolutionises Bridging Process with Automated Valuations

21 June 2016

Precise Mortgages, the specialist lender, has introduced a significant enhancement to its bridging lending process.

The introduction of an Automated Valuation Model (AVM) will bring significant improvements to the time that it takes for some bridging loan valuations to be completed, shortening the timescales to minutes instead of days. If the bridging loans fit the criteria below the customer will have the choice to use the AVM instead of a physical valuation at a fee of just £99, representing a significant cost and time saving.

An AVM will be optional provided the case meets the following criteria:

• Standard Bridge only

• Maximum Purchase Price / Property Value of £500,000

• Maximum Gross LTV of 50%

• AVM Confidence Level of A, B, or C

Precise Mortgages has spent several months assessing the risks and is confident that the criteria and controls in place are robust.

Alan Cleary, Managing Director of Precise Mortgages says: “Before we launched AVMs we checked how much of our existing bridging lending would have been eligible and, based on the prior 12 months of applications, we found that over 16% would have passed. Now that we have launched AVMs I anticipate that number to rise to 20-25%.

“This is a genuine win-win situation as customers with cases that qualify will be able to save time and money. The introduction of AVM will also streamline processes for all our underwriters, with improvements in completion times across a number of other cases.”

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Thinking Cleary: A cool-headed take on new B2L rules

17 May 2016

Having just implemented the MCD, which we spent a year getting ready for, I was looking forward to a period of relative regulatory peace and quiet.

Wrong again! Along comes CP11/16, aka underwriting standards for buy-to-let mortgage contracts. This time, instead of coming from the FCA it comes from the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority.

Anyway, after reading the paper front to back several times over, I am experienced enough in such matters to allow a period of reflection in order to let the implications set in and to think rationally, not emotionally.

Human beings are not very good at change so CPs tend to create a lot of knee-jerk reactions and quite a lot of hot air. I will focus on the impacts of the CP that are most likely to affect mortgage intermediaries although I should make it clear that the CP is directed at lenders, not intermediaries.

Affordability Testing

The interest coverage ratio affordability test should give consideration to all costs associated with renting out the property that the landlord is responsible for and any tax liability associated with the property. Lenders can take account of the borrower’s personal income when assessing affordability – this is subject to the same regulations as Residential lending in terms of income validation, expenditure data and credit commitments. The PRA does not expect lenders to reduce the minimum ICR requirement below 125 per cent.

Interest Rate Stress Testing

Firms must incorporate a minimum of a 2 per cent stress on either the initial or the reversion rate, subject to a minimum rate of 5.5 per cent being used. Fixed rate products of 5 years or longer do not require a stress rate to be applied which is consistent with residential lending and MCoB.

Portfolio Landlords

A portfolio landlord is defined as a landlord with four or more mortgaged properties – a specialist documented underwriting process is required for lending to portfolio landlords.

Market size

Taking data from the slide deck attached to the CP, it is possible to summarise the PRA’s market view in the chart below.


Our view is more conservative than the PRA’s, in that we believe that buy-to-let gross advances in 2017 are likely to be flat with the potential to drop 10-20 per cent before recovering in 2018/19.

Unregulated firms and non-banks

One glaring omission as far as I am concerned is that the CP only covers PRA regulated firms. Theoretically, unregulated firms might see a market to address customers failing the new rules.

However, it is expected that bond investors (remember non-banks are funded via largely by capital markets) and rating agencies will penalise such an approach, which will clearly be non-compliant with PRA policy.

Given the current difficult environment for funding a non-bank, it is considered unlikely that many will take this risk and cost for a relatively small market opportunity.

Furthermore, the PRA has already made clear that it would seek to extend the rules to firms outside of its jurisdiction if it considered that there was a material impact on the overall buy-to-let market.

Further, the Bank has just published a proposal for new buy-to-let reporting (from Q2, 2017).

It is interesting to note that all firms originating £20m+ per annum are captured, even if they are unregulated.

While this introduces further discrepancies in the regulatory oversight, it will mean that unregulated firms will be subject to specific scrutiny if they are active in the market and their policies fall outside the requirements that materialise from CP11/16. But will this level the playing field eventually?


Market fundamentals remain unchanged and the continuing lack of supply of housing coupled with a growing population is likely to continue to fuel house price inflation, making home ownership less attainable for many.

The CP proposals in respect of affordability and stress testing are likely to lead to a more resilient and stable market less sensitive to interest rate rises. These are sensible regulatory precautions which we largely support and believe are likely to be adopted.

Many landlords with low LTV and/or higher yielding properties will be unaffected by the affordability and stress testing proposals.

Smaller or new entrant lenders may perceive a larger barrier to entry in the buy-to-let market and therefore less likely to enter the market, especially by offering looser underwriting standards and/or lower pricing than the incumbent lenders.

Increased complexity in the underwriting process for portfolio landlords is the biggest immediate impact of the proposals. This will significantly impact larger lenders which have less flexibility to adapt to fuller underwriting procedures.

We expect to see some lenders withdraw or retreat from what is becoming an increasingly specialist market.

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On Second Thoughts: TV channels

11 May 2016

Simon Carr, Sales Development Director

I may be showing my age a little, but do you remember that festive time of year when your parents would rush around getting those last-minute items ready for the holiday period?

I imagine many of you will recall a mandatory item on the shopping list being a Christmas issue of the Radio Times or TV Times. You would open up the pages in sheer excitement and gasp at the vast array of TV programmes on offer. You simply could not believe the choice on offer from three channels. Then, in 1982, we were dazzled by a new station called Channel 4.WOW – what choice.

In 1989, Sky launched and we saw Penny Smith grace our screens alongside Alistair Yates on Sunday 5th February. This must have sent the fear of god down the corridors of the “Corporation”. This revolution paved the way for the number of channels to exceed 600, not to mention radio and premium channels.

Nowadays, it feels like the wide choice available to us makes our decisions harder. It makes us procrastinate, scared to make a decision... Just pick a bloody programme and pick it quickly! But no – we carry on scrolling through the endless lists of channels; even looking forward to future events we can watch. The advent of the multi-channel TV with Catch Up, On Demand and all the other good stuff, makes travelling forwards and backwards possible. Apparently you can now even pause live TV – that's amazing! Absolutely mind–boggling. Whatever next... Time travel? Now that would make a good programme. You even have the choice to view either in bog-standard definition or HD, not to mention viewing your programme on one of the multitude of ‘plus 1’ channels.

With more channels than ever before, you could argue we are spoilt for choice. Choice can, very often, be overwhelming. Too many options leave you undecided. Conversely, too few options restrict opportunity.

Now then… I'm not sure if this message will be clear enough or whether you'll be tuned in to this station I am broadcasting from, so I’ve included a subtitled version too.

We previously offered access to our second charge loan products via our Preferred Panel of Master Brokers, but you wanted more. You wanted a choice and quite frankly didn't like us pushing you down one route over another. You wanted to decide for yourself. So here's what we have done.

Don't worry! We haven't added another 600 new options; we have simply given you the option on how to do business with us. Pick a member of our Preferred Master Broker Panel – there are 16 in total (you'll be familiar with all of them and you won't be surprised by the selection on offer – they are experts in their field). What you also wanted, in fact, demanded (call it our version of ‘On Demand’) is direct access to our products, too.

I guess choice still plays a huge part in selection. You want to be able to make your own mind up on whom to use, when to use and for what type of business. You wanted a choice of Master Brokers (premier channels) as well as submitting a case to us direct.

Access to our products comes as no surprise to the forward-thinking Preferred Master Broker or Mortgage Intermediary. The perception of poor-quality products is now a thing of the past, a bit like the first airing of a new TV station. You are now viewing second charge loans in full Technicolor 4KHD.

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For intermediary use only
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