HSBC re-starts buy-to-let mortgages as it clears physical valuations backlog

HSBC UK says it has re-started offering buy-to-let mortgages to landlords and cleared a backlog of physical property valuations in England and Scotland.

The bank previously had to temporarily halt some mortgage applications, such as for buy-to-let deals or low deposit borrowers, due to the coronavirus lockdown, while physical valuations had not been possible.

But it said the easing of lockdown rules has enabled the bank to make buy-to-let mortgages available again to landlords through online or telephone applications direct from HSBC UK.

HSBC UK also confirmed it will resume physical valuations in Northern Ireland from Monday, and also in Wales when lockdown rules ease.

Michelle Andrews, HSBC UK’s head of buying a home, said: “The restrictions on the movement of people and access to property meant that we had to change the way we approached the valuation of properties, an essential part of the home buying process, to ensure we are providing responsible lending.

“Where we could we expanded our use of desktop and automated valuations, so mortgage applications could continue.

“In some cases, like higher LTV (loan-to-value) applications and buy-to-let mortgages it is an essential part of the process, so unfortunately those applications had to be paused.

“I am pleased to say that we have now, with the help of our corporate valuations partners, addressed our backlog of physical valuations in England and Scotland and those mortgages that were on hold are progressing, taking those buying a home one step closer to a potentially dream move.

“Plus, as we are now in a position where we can satisfy our requirement for a physical valuation in a safe compliant way, we are also able to provide buy-to-let mortgages again for landlords.

“We have shown we can work with our valuers at pace when physical valuations become possible, with appointments already in the diary in Northern Ireland for Monday.

“We are looking forward to being able to progress with physical valuations in Wales as soon as the lockdown rules ease.”