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Product numbers and search volumes fall as pandemic hits mortgage market

  • 06/04/2020
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Product numbers and search volumes fall as pandemic hits mortgage market
There are fewer mortgage products and more lender changes, Mortgage Brain data has found while Twenty7Tec figures show the volume of searches has dipped.


Mortgage Brain 

The number of mortgage products on the market dropped to 10,097 in the week ending 3 April, a 31 per cent drop compared to pre-pandemic levels as lenders reduce, amend or remove products. 

Mortgage Brain used the nine weeks to 16 March to represent its pre-pandemic environment and during this period there were 14,674 mortgage products across the whole market. 

Furthermore, the week to 3 April recorded 214 product changes, a 31 per cent increase from the week before. Compared to the three weeks to 20 March before lockdown and social distancing measures had been enforced, this was a 76 per cent increase in the number of product changes. 

Also, there was a 15 per cent week-on-week reduction in the number of ESIS produced from the firm’s mortgage sourcing systems for the seven days to 3 April. When compared to the pre-pandemic nine-week average, the number of ESIS produced was down by 36 per cent. 

Mortgage Brain’s data covers all products available through intermediaries, including specialist and buy to let mortgages.

Mark Lofthouse, CEO at Mortgage Brain, said: “The level of changes we’re seeing in the market due to the impact of Covid19 is unparalleled. The increase in product changes and reduction in ESIS continues and has now been accompanied by a huge reduction in the products available from mainstream lenders. 

The rate of change is reducing and over the next few weeks I expect it to settle down. As the impact of Covid-19 lessens I believe that the market will then slowly move to its new, post-pandemic, normal but this could take some considerable time.” 


Mortgage search volumes drop – Twenty7Tec  

The volume of mortgage product searches dropped 21 per cent in the week ending 4 April, data from Twenty7Tec showed. 

This was down 40 per cent compared to the number of searches two weeks ago, and 44 per cent on the number of searches a month ago. 

The platform also produced fewer ESIS documents in the same week, down 26 per cent from the week before. 

Over the same period, the total value of loans required through the platform dropped by 27 per cent during the week. 

Compared with two weeks ago, this represented a 39 per cent decline and compared with a month ago, this was a 43 per cent drop. 


Mortgage types 

According to Twenty7Tec, for the week to 4 April purchase mortgages represented 32 per cent of searches down from the usual 55-60 per cent of they make up. Remortgages accounted for 68 per cent of searches. 

Over a four-week period, searches for purchase mortgages are down 72 per cent, whereas remortgages are down 15 per cent. 

Compared to the previous month, buy-to-let mortgage searches rose to 21 per cent, up from the 20 per cent average. 


Challenges of the market 

James Tucker, CEO of Twenty7Tec, said“The figures overall are clearly reflective of the challenges faced by the mortgage and property markets at this time.  

“There are glimmers of good news however. Buy to let is holding up and represents a higher percentage of the market than the long-term average. Landlords may well have been buoyed by the government’s decision not to grant rent holidays. 

“The government has rightly got its focus on whether or not social distancing is working and if we can pass through the peak of incidents over coming days. Our sense is that we are unlikely to see too many new policy announcements for our industry for at least another two weeks,” he added. 

“In the meantime, I think that each of us needs to do what we do best: speak to our clients about their needs and help them as best we can, Tucker said. 

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