ResidentialJun 11 2020

Mortgage illustrations close to pre-pandemic levels

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Mortgage illustrations close to pre-pandemic levels
ByChloe Cheung

Mortgage illustration numbers issued to prospective buyers have continued to rise for a sixth consecutive week in a sign the market could recover more quickly than expected, according to technology provider Mortgage Brain.

The volume of Esis produced by the provider reached levels “very close” to those seen before the coronavirus as numbers rose by 18.4 per cent last week on the preceding seven days.

A steady increase in the number of mortgage products available also continued, rising by 4.4 per cent last week to a total of 9,017.

The total marks an increase of 21.4 per cent on the mid-pandemic low of the week ending April 12. However, it remains 38.6 per cent down on the nine-week average to March 16, the week before lockdown was announced.

Mortgage Brain also found the breakdown of residential lending between purchases and remortgages had returned to the mix seen before the pandemic, alongside the loan to value mix, except for lending at above 90 per cent LTV.

Products with an LTV of 90 per cent and above accounted for just 1.4 per cent of Esis produced last week, down from 6.6 per cent before the pandemic.

This is not due to a lack of demand, however. Rather, lenders have decided to retreat from the market.

This week (June 8) Accord Mortgages, Clydesdale Bank and Virgin Money temporarily withdrew products at 90 per cent LTV due to high demand.

The next day (June 9) Furness Building Society also temporarily suspended its 90 per cent LTV range. Ipswich Building Society followed by announcing today (June 10) the temporary withdrawal of its 90 per cent LTV fixed-rate products, although its discounted product remains available.

Mark Lofthouse, CEO at Mortgage Brain, said: “The turnaround in Esis numbers is extraordinary. Few would have believed just five weeks ago that we would see volumes so close to those seen before the pandemic took hold.

“The continued improvement in mortgage numbers is also encouraging, though the fact that lending above 90 per cent LTV remains so starkly down on the levels we typically saw just a few months ago is a reminder that lenders remain cautious.

“We are still in early days of this recovery, so only time will tell how sustainable the increase in both product numbers and Esis volumes are. But the fact that we have now seen sustained growth for a number of weeks provides good cause for optimism.”

Andrew Brown, managing director at Bennison Brown, commented: “The market is extremely active at the moment and our brokers are now back to full capacity.  We’ve seen almost exponential growth in the last four weeks in demand for appointments.