Results released from Paragon Bank show that specialist buy-to-let (BTL) lending has accounted for 93% of total buy-to-let activity, compared to 89% in 2019.
Overall, buy-to-let lending reduced by 18.6% during the year compared to 2019 as a result of the restricted market in the summer months, although the new business pipeline has increased to pre-Covid levels.
Specialist buy-to-let lending activity fell 14.9% when compared to last year, while non-specialist lending fell by 47.8%.
The new business pipeline showed business returning to more normal levels heading into the new financial year, standing at £868.1 million at the year-end (compared to 2019s’ £911.7 million).
This pipeline has continued to grow during the new financial year on the back of landlords reacting to strong levels of tenant demand.
Richard Rowntree, managing director of mortgages at Paragon Bank, comments: “2020 has been the most extraordinary year, but it’s one which has demonstrated Paragon’s resilience, our commitment to the market and the strength of our people and processes.”
“Within four days of lockdown, over 90% of our workforce was working from home and we remained open and lending throughout the pandemic.”
He adds: “Overall lending reduced naturally as a consequence of the lockdown and the restrictions imposed on the housing market, but demand bounced back strongly post May and our pipeline at the end of October was nearly 15% ahead of March 2020.”
Despite the disruption to lending activity caused by coronavirus, Paragon’s net mortgage loan book ended the year 4.6% higher than the previous year due to lower redemptions rates.
The total mortgage book, which includes second charge and owner-occupied loans, stood at £10.8 billion.