Predictions for 2021

Nick Jones - West one loans

Nick Jones is commercial director at Roma Finance


2021 is going to throw up challenges and plenty of change.

But with change comes opportunity for lenders and brokers, and we will see a counter-cyclical lending market emerge from the pandemic fallout.

If property prices fall, investors will be ready to pick up competitively priced residential and commercial properties, and we’re going to see a lot more conversion work next year.

Flexible working patterns will prompt developers to buy smaller commercial spaces to refurbish as work hubs, where people can rent desks on shorter leases.

We’ll also see a rise in landlords buying properties to convert to HMOs as they look for stronger yields, and we’re likely to see more landlords investing in the north of England for the same reasons. The return on investment is higher and the costs of entry lower. It’s a shift we’ve already seen but I expect it to accelerate in 2021.

High street lending criteria has already tightened and that will continue next year, throwing up a huge opportunity for the specialist lending market, particularly around lending to non-standard clients, as well as the self-employed.

As we see more borrowers potentially default on their credit commitments, people will be more alert to how lenders treat customers on the back end and the forbearance they show to struggling borrowers.

It’s going to be a real test of lenders’ previous underwriting policy and their current resilience and, at Roma Finance, we’re confident that we will see continued growth next year and beyond.

This is a strong, vibrant and competitive sector, with lenders and brokers working harder than ever to support their clients.

2021 is bound to bring challenges to our industry, alongside many others, but the long-term trend is one of growth. Those businesses that come through the tough times will be stronger for it and have a bright future ahead.


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