Simoney Kyriakou  

Beware of false starts

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

With figures showing the UK economy shrank 20.4 per cent in April during the first full month of lockdown, it is clear there is more financial pain to come. 

Thousands of job losses are being announced each week; to ignore the long-term consequences of this on government policy decisions is folly, at best. 

So when one reads of booming business in the mortgage market, and commentators stating this is at near-record levels, this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. No, a bushel. 

Estate agents might be reporting a glut of business but let us see how this translates into mortgage acceptances at the high street banks and big lenders. 

How many of these customers will be in a financially sound position six to 10 months down the line? How much risk are lenders willing to take on before they start lowering their loan-to-value products?

Already several big names have put temporary holds on their 90 per cent and 95 per cent LTV mortgages due to unprecedented demand. 

By the end of the year, we will see whether the strong application figures being cited by estate agents have translated into confirmed acceptance and house sales. 

Mortgage advisers and the Bank of England have been more cautious when it comes to advising clients and are not rushing to applaud the signs of life in the housing market as a mark of total recovery.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics revealed people are experiencing high levels of anxiety, with those “needing to borrow money or use credit” being 2.2x as likely to report high anxiety.

Beware the false starts, the froth of the investment markets and the no doubt immediate rush of money into shops as they open. The exuberance will die down as people realise the impact of the UK’s economic woes.