Although our industry has been able to keep working through this current period, lockdown restrictions mean things are still far from business as usual.
The New Year has brought no let up to the immense demand in the market and we’re still experiencing considerable volumes of applications.
This demand has meant that we’ve had to continually keep our rates and on sale mortgage options in review to maintain a good level of service for mortgage applicants.
This is being slightly diluted with more lenders also offering mortgages in the 90 per cent loan to value (LTV) lending space compared with some periods last year, but there is still plenty of appetite for mortgage applications.
Purchase vs remortgage
The fast-approaching deadline for the expiry of the stamp duty freeze certainly means lenders will need to keep a close eye on their pipeline over the coming weeks to balance the sustained influx of new applications with progressing cases at speed as the urgency to meet the deadline intensifies.
The emphasis in these early months of 2021 undoubtedly remains on purchase business but there is still significant need to service remortgage requests as some people are developing their existing properties to improve rather than move at this uncertain time.
Property prices, which rose throughout last year, may well stall slightly as we move into the half year point with any lack of economic recovery leading home movers to be less confident in an increased financial commitment, especially if there are heightened employment worries.
First-time buyer immunity
Looking further into the year, first-time buyers could continue to show resilience and what almost appears to be an immunity to the wider economic impact.
We’ve seen a consistency of interest and enquiries from this segment, their appetite seemingly more affected by the product offering rather than market influences.
Additionally, the Brexit trade deal with the EU and the positive news around the vaccines should bolster confidence that there is some eventual light at the end of the tunnel and give some stability to the housing market that means lenders will be taking a strong pipeline into the second half of the year.