Last month we saw a sad turn of events when Magellan Homeloans, the specialist mortgage lender, announced that it had taken the tough decision to close its doors to new business.
It’s always a shame to hear such news, especially when it involves a specialist lender which played such an important role in the post-credit crunch years.
And let me take this opportunity to wish all the team there the best of luck in their future endeavours.
Focusing on some product and criteria news, the building society and banking sectors have both been active in recent weeks.
Principality Building Society has increased its buy-to-let (BTL) and holiday let loan sizes, it will now lend up to £750,000 at 60% loan-to-value (LTV) and up to £500,000 at 75% LTV.
It has also raised the acceptable maximum age of applicants from 75 to 85 years old.
Holiday let customers will also be permitted to borrow on two properties rather than one.
Leeds Building Society has reduced rates on selected two- and five-year buy-to-let products.
The lender now offers a 1.49% two-year buy-to-let mortgage at 60% LTV with a £1,999 product fee and a 2.15% five-year buy-to-let mortgage available at 60% LTV with a £999 product fee.
Both products come with a free standard valuation and fees assisted legals.
Moving into the banking field, Virgin Money has announced changes to its BTL policy for portfolio landlords.
It has increased the maximum LTV allowed on the existing portfolio from 70% to 75%.
The aggregate rental cover requirement of the existing property portfolio has been reduced from 145% to 135%, calculated at an interest rate of 5%.
In addition, the speed of growth restriction has been moved, meaning the lender will no longer decline landlords who have bought more than two properties in the last 12 months.
Bold moves by NatWest
NatWest announced changes to its buy-to-let mortgage proposition, lifting all restrictions on landlords renting to tenants who are in receipt of housing benefits.
The decision comes after the bank conducted an extensive review of its buy-to-let policies, to better understand the market and challenges that landlords and their tenants face.
These changes will affect new and existing landlords with fewer than ten properties.
The bank has also decided to extend the maximum length of time of assured shorthold tenancies from 12 months to 36 months, which allows landlords to offer tenants the security of longer tenancies.
These represent bold moves and the big question is: will these changes result in more lenders reviewing their policies within these areas?