The average number of enquiries received per intermediary increased by 26% to 58 in the final three months of last year, according to the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA).
The three months to December rebounded after a nervous Q3 following the Brexit referendum result.
This bounceback was dominated by a 47% increase in buy-to-let enquiries between Q3 and Q4 – up to 63 per broker, however, other categories also saw increased activity.
And the number of completions per 100 enquiries and per 100 applications submitted also rose slightly.
IMLA highlighted that the rise in buy-to-let contacts was probably due to increasing complexity in the market with now-implemented PRA changes to buy-to-let underwriting standards and the forthcoming changes to landlords’ mortgage tax relief due in April.
“It is unsurprising that there was an increase in the numbers of borrowers seeking expert advice in the final quarter of 2016, given that the changes to buy-to-let underwriting standards and mortgage tax relief were looming large on the horizon,” said IMLA executive director Peter Williams.
“As the layers of regulation in the market become increasingly complicated, and the number of products increase, the intermediary market continues to play a very important role in the provision of mortgage finance to a variety of borrower types.”
The overall average of 58 enquiries was the highest so far in the first year of IMLA’s quarterly Mortgage Market Tracker, which uses data from BRDC Continental.
Enquiries from first-time buyers (up to 52 from 46), homemovers (up to 53 from 40) and remortgagors (up to 53 from 48) all increased, while other specialist lending was stable (up to 46 from 45).
Williams added that it was reassuring to see the profile of the intermediary channel continuing to grow among borrowers.
“It is encouraging to see that customer outcomes improved in the final quarter of 2016,” he continued.
“There was an increase in both the proportion of applications that progressed to offers, and the proportion of offers that borrowers subsequently completed upon.
“There was a lot of uncertainty following the referendum result in the third quarter, it is clear that both lenders and borrowers had faith in the market in the final quarter, and were willing to capitalise on the low mortgage rates available.”