In a surprise move one of the most innovative lenders in the buy to let lending market, Kensington, have withdrawn their entire buy to let range. This will leave borrowers looking for more than 75% LTV or with any small amounts of adverse credit with just one or two options (in some case none at all). There was some good news, however, as Woolwich blasted back onto the buy to let scene with their innovative range which goes to 75% LTV and includes first time buyer buy to let and multi unit freehold blocks.
The beauty of the Kensington range that we’ve lost is that they simply applied their ‘Kensington Prime’ rules to any adverse cases. That pretty much meant that any CCJ’s or Defaults more than a couple of years old were ignored but more recent transgressions still were looked at by the underwriters. A lot of would be landlords back on their feet after a rough time a couple of years ago were good candidates for this lender. On top of that they had no minimum income for experienced landlords (a feature now restricted to just a couple of lenders) and were one of only three lenders at the time of their withdrawal who could consider buy to let for applicants requiring over 75%. It’s clear they were an extremely innovative lender, more than prepared to push the boundaries and it’s disappointing to see them pull their buy to let range this weekend and not replace it. Hopefully this is a temporary measure and the Investec owned lender will be back on the saddle next year with some more success and innovation.
Woolwich used to be a powerhouse player in the buy to let market. It’s been exciting to see them return in full force with 75% loan to value products available. The good news is that they have returned to higher loan to value lending without stepping back from their already innovative range of products. They are going to continue to lend to first time buyer, first time landlords and they are going to continue to be one of the only high street (and one of only a handful of specialist) lenders who can look at freehold blocks. Many landlords will have converted houses into two or three flats during the property boom and being able to access the excellent range of Woolwich products – many have fixed instead of percentage fees as well as low rates – is a significant boon for these landlords after a few years with limited options unless they required under 60% LTV.
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