Meet the broker… New Mortgage Finance

Meet Max Mace, managing director of New Mortgage Finance

Tell us a bit about your business. 

New Mortgage Finance was set up in 1998 by my father, Des Mace. 

It was established as a specialist broker – we used to deal with a lot of council Right To Buy and customers with adverse credit, and the business grew quickly in these first couple of years. 

I joined the business in 2001, initially helping on the admin side and in 2004, I started my CeMAP qualifications and by 2005 I worked on the sales side of the business.

The business continued to grow, and we bought our current premises in Norwich in 2007.

Unfortunately, in 2008, a number of lenders we used to deal with, ceased trading during the credit crunch. 

These changes meant that we had to restart the business. We decided, at that point, to be truly ‘whole of market’ and focus more on the prime mortgage lending market.

We began buying leads from MoneySuperMarket and grew the book quite quickly, simply through remortgage business. 

By 2010, we’d almost doubled the size of our client bank, and at that point we decided to cover first and second charge business, buy-to-let, and we also started to move into the unregulated space. 

My father was dealing with a lot of bridging, development and commercial finance at that time.

As that part of the business grew, it became the area that interested me more, and that’s where I primarily focus my time now.

In 2008, we reduced to a very small team of four, but we sit here today with 17 of us. 

Currently we have a large back book of repeat clients and locally we arrange a large number of bridging and development deals, but we cover all forms of finance secured on property and land.

Where are you based and where do you operate geographically?

Our head office is in Norwich, and we’ve got a smaller office in The City, in London.

We operate nationally, but I would say that 75% of our business is within the south of England, simply due to the size of the loan and type of client. 

So, we are national, but generally things tend to skew towards the south rather than north.

What are the main issues impacting your local market?

Nationally, and indeed locally, the main issues faced by our customers are; uncertainty around rates and the associated difficulty of coming off these historically low, fixed rates. Unfortunately, we are regularly the bearers of bad news, in relation to increased monthly payments for our customers. 

Also, properties now seem to be sticking on the market a bit longer and I think there’s a lack of confidence there too. 

Locally, a big concern for us is Natural England putting a stop to all planning applications due to a Nutrient Neutrality problem and this poses obvious issues for developers and in turn affecting our development finance business.

Essentially any developer operating in Norfolk has potential planning permission issues at the moment. 

This has been a big hit on the development finance enquiries locally, albeit we are still doing a lot of development business that falls outside of that particular area. 

What challenges are you facing as a broker?

One of the biggest challenges at the moment is affordability on the buy-to-let side.

The way that buy-to-lets are currently being stressed is causing a huge problem.

We have many clients who are currently ‘stuck’ with their existing provider and can only take advantage of a product transfer simply because they can’t gear the property high enough to redeem their existing deals. 

This can mean that you’re a bit of a ‘mortgage prisoner’ and can only take the best deal that your current provider is offering.

And also, the cost-of-living and the increasing mortgage rates obviously means that for first-time buyers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get onto the property ladder.

What are the main opportunities for brokers in your area and nationally?

More than ever, clients need a broker, and they need advice.

It is tricky out there, but I think there are also some good opportunities. 

Over the last couple of years, everyone has wanted a 5-year fixed rate, but now we are recommending 2-year fixed rates or a 2-year tracker because we believe that rates will fall next year.

Therefore, that two-year cycle of refinance is great for brokers as long as that is the best advice for that particular client.

I also think that there will be huge opportunity later this year with distressed properties. It is a horrible situation but sadly, there will be opportunities for those people who are sitting on cash. 

We have started to see a little bit of this already where clients have negotiated better prices or been able to buy pre-auction and achieve a lower purchase price. 

So, as much as there’s some concerns, there’s also some green shoots with opportunities that will come. 

It’s all about how we position ourselves as brokers, making sure we are giving the best advice to our clients and realising that with any difficult time there is always some opportunity there. 

What could lenders do to help further your business?

On the buy-to-let side, something has got to change.

There are too many clients that are restricted with what they can do, and I think some form of ‘like-for-like’ remortgaging on a buy-to-let should be more readily available. 

If you’re currently with a provider, and you can’t get the stress test but you’re not looking to borrow any more funds, it would be great for more lenders to be able to support these borrowers. 

And obviously that all comes down to the PRA. It’s not possible at the moment, but that would certainly help.

Also, there are a few lenders that refer back to us with a product transfer, and that’s very much appreciated within the broker world.

Sometimes lenders let us know or redirect the client to us instead of doing the deal directly, and that’s always a nice gesture.

It’s helpful if lenders make sure that they’re up to speed with the intermediaries that they work with.

Be it spending time with us on the phone or face-to-face meetings, it is nice for brokers and lenders to work together to achieve the best outcomes for our mutual clients.

What sets you apart from the competition?

We’ve got a huge amount of experience. We’ve been trading for coming up to 25 years.

On the bridging, development and self-build side of things we have first-hand experience. 

A number of our team are property developers, landlords or own HMO’s. I’ve done a lot of development myself; I’ve taken out various bridging loans – so not only do we recommend these products, but we’ve actually got first-hand experience of using them. 

That’s really helpful for clients because we can talk about the successes, but we can also talk about some of the challenges we’ve faced along the way and tell them what to avoid. 

Our business is built on creating longstanding relationships with our customers. 

We want to be the first port of call for our customers’ financial needs. Helping them to feel in control and confidently make the right decisions about their property finance, now and in the future.

How should potential borrowers contact you?

Borrowers can contact us through our website at:

We’ve got contact forms all over the website on every page.

They can also call us on our main number which is: 01603 258268.

Or they can email us at: [email protected]