Countrywide, Connells Group, and John Charcol are among the adviser firms that have taken up the government’s offer to pay up to 80 per cent of workers’ wages rather than lay them off.
It comes as the housing market has been plunged into paralysis by the coronavirus pandemic, after the government advised buyers and sellers delay moves.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows government to cover salaries of up to £2,500 a month for employees who are furloughed and not working.
Mortgage Solutions understands Countrywide has put some of its mortgage brokers on furlough, although the firm has not responded to requests for comment.
Fellow estate agency Connells has also furloughed advisers but is topping up salaries in April and May from the 80 per cent offered by the government.
A spokeswoman from the group said: “With the transactional housing market in stasis due to the Covid-19 lockdown, we have asked many of our mortgage consultants to go onto the government supported furlough scheme.
“We do, however, have a large number of remortgage specialists who are now home-based but still very busy.”
At the same time, John Charcol has furloughed around 30 employed advisers.
Nick Morrey, product technical manager, said: “We have seen a reduction in leads – as has everyone I would have thought – but our marketing department have been working really extremely hard to get content out there and articles.
“So, we have seen the reduction in leads slow and then actually pick up a little, which is great for the marketing team’s morale after the effort they have put in while looking at the same four walls for weeks.
“I also want to praise our self-employed advisers for working long hours and weekends to answer consumer enquiries. I know their income is not guaranteed and likely to be hit by the current situation, but I am proud of them nonetheless.
“Whilst we saw a downturn in new enquiry volumes immediately following the lockdown, new enquiry levels have picked up week on week.
“We’re continuing to expand our self employed network of advisers with inductions in April, May and June continuing as normal – albeit via video conferencing.”
London & Country
London & Country would not confirm to Mortgage Solutions whether it had furloughed workers.
David Hollingworth, associate director, communications at the broker firm said: “We don’t comment on any internal employee matters.
“These are unprecedented times that clearly have major ramifications for the market and we are focused on protecting the business and colleagues during this testing period.”
Smaller firms are also using the government’s furlough scheme.
Chippenham-based One 77 and new-build broker Torc24 have also furloughed workers, as revenues drop.
A spokeswoman for Torc24 said: “While a portion of our advisers are on the government supported furlough scheme, we maintain a core team working from home to specifically support the needs of housebuilders while they continue to ‘stay open’.
“To help those affected over and above the scheme, we are paying furloughed colleagues 100 per cent of their salaries and their commission throughout both April and May.”