According to Twenty7Tec’s mortgage market report for the month, total searches increased by 12 per cent annually. Total searches came to 830,465 and within that, purchase searches totalled 479,428 and remortgage searches amounted to 351,037.
Purchase searches fell by 39 per cent compared to November, and remortgage searches dipped by 42 per cent. Proportionally, searches for purchase products made up 58 per cent of the market in December and remortgage searches accounted for 42 per cent.
First-time buyers made up 18 per cent of searches, which was the second lowest proportion of first-time buyers over the past 20 months since November.
Niki Cooke, director of intermediary relationships at Twenty7Tec, said since the firm had begun keeping records of activity, most years had shown a slowdown in mortgage searches during the second week of December and fewer ESIS documents were produced.
However, Cooke added that the sharp decline in mortgage searches had not been mirrored to the same extent in ESIS documents.
She said this was due to the remortgage market which had “held up relatively well during this period”, and said remortgages tended to require fewer searches per ESIS document produced, which could explain the discrepancy.
James Tucker, chief executive of Twenty7Tec, added that whilst it was normal to see a dip in search volumes in December figures these were particularly steep as there were drops of around 20 to 25 per cent at each LTV band compared to the same period last year.
Additionally, the number of mortgage products available on Twenty7Tec’s system have continued to grow since the start of this year and is expected to breach 17,000 products in January. On an annual basis, the 16,923 products recorded at the end of December was up by 75 per cent.
Tucker said: “2021 was a year that we will talk about for many years to come in our industry. It had everything from the highest volumes we’ve ever seen to a sense that everything has changed, fundamentally and for good, in how we support customers in searching, applying for and ultimately obtaining a mortgage.”