Brokers remain confident about the 2021 lending environment, according to Shawbrook’s latest Broker Barometer.

Over two thirds (67%) of commercial brokers said they were confident about the UK lending environment this year, whilst more than two fifths (44%) said they felt confident about the UK economy in 2021.

In addition, 60% of advisers said that they felt confident about the growth of their business when looking at the year ahead.

The outlook for 2021 for the mortgage advice sector

Almost a third of brokers reported seeing an increase of 20% or more when comparing transaction volumes at the start of 2020.

Similarly, when comparing today’s business volumes to April 2020, 58% of brokers have seen an increase of 20% or more, with 22% reporting business volumes going up more than 40%.

When considering challenges for the year ahead, commercial brokers listed lending restrictions (74%), valuation issues (66%) and COVID-19 restrictions (47%) as the three biggest challenges for their business in 2021.

In terms of challenges facing clients this year valuation issues (52%), personal financial challenges (46%), and job certainty (42%) were amongst the top three perceived issues.

Emma Cox, sales director of property finance at Shawbrook Bank, said: “The optimism amongst brokers, even in the face of enduring uncertainty whilst we continue to navigate the COVID-19 situation, is great to see.

“The growth in business volumes when compared to the beginning of last year imply a robust recovery, which is likely to be fuelling the positive outlook for the year ahead.

“Despite the optimistic outlook, as we move further into lockdown 3.0, we understand there are still many brokers facing challenges, which is why it remains crucial for lenders to continue to work closely with brokers over the coming months.

“This is very much front of mind for Shawbrook and we plan to continue to invest in our business with an unchanged product and system development agenda, supported by a robust appetite to lend across all our markets.”