Mortgage applications reach pre-recession levels

Countrywide Mortgage Services

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mortgage applications grew 20 percent in March[1] reaching levels not seen since February 2008[2], according to Countrywide, the UK"s largest mortgage broker and property services Group.

March experienced the third consecutive month of mortgage application increases with overall volumes in Q1 2010 9 percent up on the same period in 2009, based on the activities of  Countrywide Mortgage Services and its network of more than 700 mortgage consultants.

Recent application increases could be accredited to a renewed sense of confidence among customers and an increased volume of products to choose from. The overall volume of mortgage products increased by 8 percent in March on the previous month - a 112 percent increase since March 2009.[3]

The research also reveals that a growing number of mortgage customers are opting for fixed rate products, which made up 61 percent of applications in March - an increase of 4 percent since February 2010. This contrasts with a recent resurgence in the popularity of tracker products, which made up around half of all mortgages in December 2009.

Grenville Turner, Countrywide"s Group Chief Executive, said:

"Widespread uncertainty surrounding the economy and election does not appear to have deterred mortgage customers, which might partly be due to the number people who have sat tight during the recession and are now ready to move regardless.

"While the longer term outlook is unknown, the forthcoming election is not deterring buyers at present and mortgage applications always provide a good indication of consumer confidence."

Research highlights for March 2010 (based on the percentage of overall lending versus February 2010):

UK mortgage applications: Applications for two year mortgage terms generated the highest volume of applications in March 10 - an increase of 1 percent compared to the previous month but an increase of 27 percent on March 09. Overall, 89 percent of mortgage applications made in March 10 were for two and three year products - a decrease of 1 percent from February 10 and a 24 percent increase on March 09.

Interest rates: The average interest rate of Countrywide"s Top 10 Mortgage Applications was 4.65 percent in March 10 (taking into account both transactional and remortgage customers) - up 0.13 percent from February 10 and a 0.42 percent decrease on March 09.

Loan to value (LTV): The average minimum deposit required for Countrywide"s Top 10 Mortgage Applications was 21 percent in March 10 - a 1 percent decrease on February 10 and equal to March 09.

Remortgage market: Whilst fixed rates remained the most popular type of remortgage product, 34 percent of remortgage applications in March 10 were for tracker mortgages - a decrease of 2 percent from February 10 and a 29 percent increase on March 09.

Buy-to-let mortgages: 44 percent of buy-to-let mortgage applications in March 10 were tracker rates - an increase of 3 percent on February 10 and a 35 percent increase on March 09.

Early indications: Countrywide"s Most Sourced Mortgages  shows that 9 of the 10 top most sourced products are available to first time buyers.

Countrywide"s Most Sourced Mortgages are available to view on www.countrywidemortgages.co.uk or call 0800 988 7925 to arrange an appointment with a consultant.

Notes to editor:

Countrywide Mortgage Services is the UK"s largest mortgage broker, employing approximately 700 Mortgage Consultants with access to a panel of leading high street mortgage lenders, which publishes its Daily Top 10 Most Sourced Products on www.countrywidemortgages.co.uk.

Countrywide Mortgage Services is part of Countrywide, the UK's largest and most successful estate agency and property services Group, operating more than 1,200 associated branches across England, Scotland and Wales.

Countrywide"s network of expertise helps more people move than any other business in the UK and is a leading provider of estate agency, lettings, mortgage services, land and new homes, franchising, auctions, surveying, conveyancing and corporate property management services.

Countrywide"s award-winning service has earned the business 29 high-profile industry awards in the last two years, which include Best Estate Agency, Best Letting Agency and Best Land & New Homes Agent of the Year at the 2009 Negotiator Awards, and Best Surveyor & Valuer at the 2009 Mortgage Strategy Awards. Customers also voted Countrywide Best Estate Agent at the 2009 Estate Agent & Letting Agent of the Year Awards.

[1] Countrywide Mortgage Services - Number of written mortgages in March 2010 v February 2010

[2] Countrywide Mortgage Services - Volume of written mortgages  March 2010  v February 2008

[3] Countrywide Mortgage Services: number of available products for mortgage consultants via Mortgage Brain -  March 2010 v February 2010

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