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Brokers fear buy-to-let drought

Mortgage brokers have raised concerns over the future placing of Bradford & Bingley’s buy-to-let customers and fear that a funding drought will affect the whole market.

The Government has confirmed that it will be running down the B&B and Mortgage Express books, much like in the case of Northern Rock.

This week, The Mortgage Works pulled its entire range temporarily in reaction to unprecedented demand. HBOS also withdrew much of its range temporarily.

Moneyfacts has revealed that the number of buy-to-let products dropped from 662 to 481in the first two working days of this week.

Savills director Melanie Bien says: “Mortgage Express was a crucial buy-to-let lender for intermediaries and with TMW doing too much business and Lloyds’ plans up in the air, there is going to be a massive gap in the market. Where will landlords go for a remortgage?”

TMW executive director Matthew Wyles says the death of Mortgage Express will not change his stance on the market. He says: “This brings about interesting supply and demand issues, especially with no certainties regarding Lloyds’ future strategies, but we will not take up all the slack of the buy-to-let market. We have our own strategy planned out and will cont- inue to write on a straight line.”

Alexander Hall managing director Andy Pratt thinks brokers will not be relishing the task of advising Mortgage Express customers when they come to the end of their current deal.

Pratt says: “There will be more business for advisers but only if you can place it. There are simply not many lenders which will be able to take on the new business.”

There are also fears of a hole developing in the self-cert market. Quantum Mortgages director Fahim Antoniades says: “This could certainly mark the end of self-cert lending in the UK. Bank of Scotland and BM Solutions would have been the obvious choice to take Mortgage Express self-cert customers but with a new conservative owner they might not want to touch them.

“With TMW reducing products, the options are drastically reduced.”

Personal Touch Financial Services sales director Dev Malle says: “For the consumer, for the market and for the intermediary, this is bad news. A lack of buy-to-let products will dampen the housing market. There is a winter of discontent ahead for intermediaries.”

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