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Change is ever-present in the mortgage market and brokers need to keep pace – Firth

by: Nicola Firth, CEO, Knowledge Bank
  • 14/09/2020
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Change is ever-present in the mortgage market and brokers need to keep pace – Firth
There is evidence of a strong post-lockdown market recovery, but it is far too soon to call the end of the coronavirus crisis.


The affect on the property market rumbles on, even without the ever-present threat of a second wave, and further lockdowns. Across the main residential and buy-to-let categories, brokers’ criteria searches on Knowledge Bank continue to reflect this.

There are some signs, however, that the market is adapting to the new world. While this may be different from what we saw before Covid-19 struck, it is in brokers’ nature to take things in their stride.

It is no surprise to find that searches for ‘temporary maximum loan to value (LTV)’ continue to top the charts in terms of broker searches in the residential category.

The early evidence suggests that the Stamp Duty holiday announced by the chancellor in July, is so far having more of an impact on bringing existing homeowners into the market for a move, rather than incentivising prospective first-time buyers.

Increasing the availability of higher-LTV loans may help to change this, and recent moves in the right direction from lenders are therefore welcome.

The unwinding of the coronavirus job retention scheme is clearly beginning to have an effect, as searches for ‘furloughed workers’ have slipped from their highs in previous months. In some cases, this is because people have been able to return to work.

The flip-side is that, as government support is withdrawn, some employers are finding it necessary to make permanent redundancies. The prevalence of this search seems likely to recede further as the number of furloughed workers continue to decline.

Buy to let changed by Covid

It is in the buy-to-let market that we find perhaps the clearest impact from the Covid-19 outbreak.

Recent weeks have seen holidaymakers returning from breaks in continental Europe only to find themselves caught by new quarantine requirements.

At the same time, many people are now looking for a bolt-hole closer to home. This has made the holiday-let market a much more attractive proposition, giving borrowers somewhere to ‘get away from it all’ while also offering attractive income generation prospects.

Change is an ever-present in the mortgage market, and the last few months have taken this to a new level.

Borrowers’ needs and demands are changing rapidly, and lenders are also responding on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Brokers need to keep pace, and those who have access to the right technology will have a head start.

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