Bank backs search for top residential project
From offering competitive mortgages to delivering support to developers, First Trust Bank has been keen to back Northern Ireland's re-energised property market with financial support and expert advice.
The bank is also keen to recognise other organisations making an impact and is delighted to once more sponsor the 'Residential Development of the Year' category at the Belfast Telegraph Property Awards.
With the Centre for Economics and Business Research predicting that house prices will rise by more than £50,000 on average by 2021, the local market is demonstrating remarkable resilience a decade on from the property crash.
"Collaboration is key to building stability in the property market," explained Derek Wilson, who is the head of mortgage strategy and distribution at First Trust Bank.
"Customers, lenders, the supply chain and developers are listening to each other's needs which means we have a more robust marketplace, one better equipped to deal with uncertainties, such as Brexit."
While house prices and sales continue to pick up, the shortage of new housing is putting pressure on the market.
Mr Wilson, who is also chair of the UK Finance NI Mortgage Committee and on the NI Housing Executive board, said: "If you are mortgaging for the first time or looking for a new build you may feel more challenged.
"Lending, however, is holding up well and I know from our own offering, we are meeting these challenges head on by providing first-time buyers, movers and re-mortgagers with a personalised, expert service right from the start.
"We have a team of knowledgeable 'mortgage champions' available across our network as well as a competitive service offering.
"Our mortgage partners have direct access to a named underwriter and we offer 95% loan to value including for new builds - a particularly important service given the demand for new dwellings."
First Trust Bank remains optimistic about the local property market. Although the number of residential property sales is below the figure of 30,000 which was typical in the pre-boom era, it is nevertheless a key indicator that the housing market is returning to normality, with the purchase of residential development land and subsequent development gaining momentum.
Derek Wilson added: "Already this year, First Trust Bank has approved more than £15m of residential development finance to corporate clients as well as providing mortgage finance to hundreds of first-time buyers and home movers.
"Our advice to those operating in the sector is to engage with one of our property experts early on.
"Together in closer collaboration we can discuss your plans and the funding opportunities available best suited to your needs."