Paragon Banking Group, the buy-to-let specialist mortgage lender, has reported a 65% year-on-year increase in new advances across all business lines so far this year.
Within this total, Paragon’s mortgage lending grew by 84% to £367 million, with buy-to-let advances up 85% to £343 million. Second charge and specialist residential lending grew by 74% to £24 million.
In the buy-to-let market, Paragon says it has increase its share of the more specialist portfolio landlord business; this, says the lender, is despite a backdrop of lower year-on-year lending volumes in the market overall.
2017 was a very challenging year for the buy-to-let market, with tax and regulatory changes bearing down on landlords. Paragon’s figures include the first stage period of the phasing out of mortgage interest relief from April 2017, but despite this, so far in 2018 the Paragon Banking Group has posted a sharp rise in lending as it continues to support buy-to-let landlords.
The performance is also despite the Prudential Regulation Authority’s (PRA) implementation of its new stricter lending criteria for underwriting, particularly for more the complex mortgage applications, in September 2017. This led to a realignment of competition, with some of the mainstream lenders leaving the buy-to-let portfolio segment or the market, or offering only a limited proposition.
The mix of Paragon’s buy-to-let completions now includes 66% of loans to landlords with more complex portfolios – larger portfolios, HMOs and commercial. The impact of the PRA underwriting rule changes from September has had a profound impact on application flows during the quarter, with the mix in the pipeline at 31 December 2017 moving to 79% complex portfolios. The pipeline rose from £604 million at 30 September to £619 million at the end of December, says Paragon.
John Heron, Managing Director of Mortgages at Paragon said:
“Paragon was the first lender to offer buy-to-let mortgages over 20 years ago and has developed its specialist capability around professional landlords over many years. It is very well aligned with the developments we have seen in the market following changes in government policy and regulation in the sector and this has allowed Paragon to significantly increase lending to portfolio landlords with more complex requirements.
“We are continuing to focus on product and technology developments that will deliver improved products and services to our landlords and intermediaries with the roll-out of new mobile applications and document upload over Q2.”