Despite on-going uncertainty as we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic, brokers remain optimistic when looking at the year ahead. Over two thirds (67%) of commercial brokers said they were confident about the UK lending environment this year, whilst 60% state they felt confident about the growth of their business.
Second charge brokers reveal a more cautious view, with only 30% feeling confident about the lending environment and 19% about business growth.
Confidence in the UK economy has grown across both commercial and second charge brokers since our last Barometer six months ago, with 44% of commercial brokers and 50% of second charge brokers showing confidence in this area for 2021 – a 10% increase across each.
It’s encouraging to see that since the height of the first lockdown, 58% of commercial brokers and 66% of second charge brokers have seen an increase in business volumes of more than 20%. This strong bounce back is likely to be a key factor in their optimistic view of the year ahead.
Brokers reported that ‘lending restrictions’ remain their top concern for 2021, with ‘valuation issues’, ‘Covid restrictions’ and ‘product availability’ also ranked highly for anticipated challenges.
Emma Cox, Sales Director of Property Finance at Shawbrook Bank said:
“The optimism amongst brokers, even in the face of enduring uncertainty whilst we continue to navigate the Covid-19 situation, is great to see. The growth in business volumes when compared to the beginning of last year imply a robust recovery, which is likely to be fuelling the positive outlook for the year ahead.
“Despite the optimistic outlook, as we move further into lockdown 3.0, we understand there are still many brokers facing challenges, which is why it remains crucial for lenders to continue to work closely with brokers over the coming months. This is very much front of mind for Shawbrook and we plan to continue to invest in our business with an unchanged product and system development agenda, supported by a robust appetite to lend across all our markets.”