Despite the reduction in case volumes, brokers appeared to be positive about the future of their business and the wider mortgage market overall.
The survey found 96 per cent were optimistic about their own business, 92 per cent were positive about the intermediary sector as a whole and 85 per cent felt confident about the wider mortgage market.
The mix of cases handled by brokers remained fairly similar to the previous quarter with residential applications taking up the largest share. Two-thirds of cases were residential, 26 per cent were buy-to-let and eight per cent were specialist cases.
The average number of 25 decisions in principle (DIPs) processed by advisers in Q4 remained flat with the previous quarter.
Conversion rates were consistent during the period, with 81 per cent of DIPs converting into offers compared to 80 per cent in Q3, 82 per cent in Q2 and 85 per cent in Q1.
However, the offers that converted into completions fell further from the 84 per cent average seen in 2019. In the final quarter of 2020, offers to completions dropped from a peak of 79 per cent in Q1 to 65 per cent.
Kate Davies (pictured), executive director of IMLA, said: “While there are signs that the unprecedented demand we saw in summer and autumn 2020 was already starting to cool towards the end of the year, intermediaries clearly remain positive about the outlook for the mortgage market.
“Whilst the impending stamp duty deadline means that activity will remain high in the weeks ahead, there are clear signs that demand will continue beyond 31 March.”
She added: “Advisers are also recognising that 2021 is set to be a major year for the remortgage market too, presenting plenty of opportunity.
“However, as we approach the final months of the stamp duty holiday, there will be added pressure on lenders, conveyancers and all involved in the transaction process as consumers race to beat the deadline. IMLA and AMI have jointly warned that consumers need to be prepared to meet the additional costs if they cannot complete by 31 March.”