By Ben Marquand
Mortgage 2000 has announced the results of its first Online Personal Finance Index, which shows the number of borrowers using MoneySupermarket.com to research and buy mortgage products online.
The results are the first quarterly findings taken from the site and provide details of the most popular lender by market share, the average loan rate and the percentage breakdown by region. The findings show that the site is receiving around three million page impressions per month and that out of 15,198 mortgage searches 1,328 resulted in mortgage applications, with a completion rate of 8.74%.
Simon Nixon, chief executive officer of Mortgage 2000, said: “At the beginning of the year we were getting a completion rate of 1%. Since then it has grown dramatically and it is going to continue rising. I believe there is a propensity to go up to 13% or 14% by the next quarter. The results show that mortgages are selling on the internet when people did not think they would.”
However Mike Douglas, sales and marketing director at IFonline, was more sceptical about the potential for growth. He said: “Intermediaries usually complete over 60% of mortgages and I think a lot of people will still want to sit down with an intermediary to get advice.”
The average loan size recorded by the site was £129,144.90, much higher than the Halifax’s average house price, which currently stands at £86,121.
There is also a percentage bias towards the south-east which accounts for 22.9% of the market share, compared with the next highest region, the north-east, which only records 10.34% of the market. This bias towards the south-east can be used to explain the higher than average loan size.
One of the most interesting aspects of the results was the most popular lender by market share. Northern Rock was the most popular, accounting for 18.79% of the share and Nationwide was ranked as 11th. “It just goes to show that on the virtual high street, price is the key issue. Consumers do not go for the brand, they go for rates,” said Nixon.
MoneySupermarket.com is the consumer website of Mortgage 2000. It was launched in December 1999 and claims to contain details of every single mortgage on the market. Many of the major lenders have signed up to the website and between 75 and 80 lenders now accept online applications.
Traffic is generated through deals with other portals.
Mortgage 2000 allows brokers to white label the site at a cost of £35 per month for maintenance and rental.