This year has been like no other and the mortgage market, as expected, has been impacted by the Covid pandemic.
Although house prices climbed to record highs during 2020, the volume of mortgage transactions fell. Lenders also became more risk averse and fewer borrowers withdrew equity from their homes.
So, what are the main changes for the mortgage market?
There was an unprecedented decline in the range of mortgage products available during the lengthy first UK lockdown. Such low numbers have not been seen since the financial crisis of 2007.
In February 2020, deals with a loan to value above 90% represented 10% of the UK’s residential mortgage market. By June, these had fallen to fewer than two per cent. Buyers became sceptical, nervous and unsure about their futures. Unemployment has become a real threat for lots of people and this had an impact on the mortgage market.
The number of mortgages agreed fell significantly during the lockdown crisis; but it is now edging slowly back up. In January this year, the number of people securing a mortgage was 16% higher than in January 2019. But by April, figures were 54% down on the previous month a year earlier. It was picking back up again in June, but still below the trend of previous years.
It is thought that the rebound was due to the increase in demand at the end of lockdown, as the market almost completely froze in the early stages. The lockdown has meant many out-of-town homes with more outside space have become very popular as people worry about future lockdowns. City dwellers appear to be heading out into suburbs and smaller towns and villages.
The remortgage market wasn’t hit quite as hard as the rest of the mortgage market. The pace of remortgaging certainly took a hit, but figures remain fairly consistent with the patterns of the last five years.
Those remortgaging are typically established homeowners with lots of equity in their properties. This suggests that the market was much kinder to the older generation, but the younger first-time buyers still had a mountain to climb.
There are signs that the market is bouncing back and starting to recover. The second lockdown restrictions are easing a little, and people are regaining some confidence to mix with others. There’s also more economic stability, although many industries and sectors are still at risk of mass job losses. This will become more apparent once the furlough scheme finally ends next year.
Mortgage products have reduced, and costs have continued to rise, so first-time buyers and those with limited savings have fewer options than they did prior to lockdown.
While house prices continue to rise, it remains to be seen what the next six months look like for the mortgage market. Many are expecting to see a boom as restrictions continue to ease, especially in light of news about three potential vaccines becoming available.
Either way, the mortgage market is a fluid landscape at the moment. The mortgage and housing market is always subject to change, but we always scrutinise what is happening so we can give the best advice.
If you need help with your mortgage or remortgage, please do not hesitate to contact us.