Mortgage Applications Up – but will they translate into approvals?

According to an index compiled by the Mortgage Advice Bureau and Coreco Group, mortgage applications were up 11.6% in March compared with February and were up over 20% on March last year.  This is further evidence of an increase in activity in the property market.  The big question is how many of these applicants will actually be successful? – unfortunately the index does not track this but at least the stats confirm that people are starting to think about mortgages and that is a positive sign. 

Some interesting stats from the index were:-

  • 8 in 10 borrowers chose to apply for fixed rate mortgages.
  • The average loan size was £127,546
  • The average loan to value was 69.9%.
  • The average age of a mortgage applicant in the UK in March was 37 years and 7 months.

This index coupled with the continued improvement in mortgage availability is a very positive sign.  I would stress however, that mortgage criteria is still extremely tough but it is encouraging to see some lenders starting to increase their risk appetite, albeit cautiously, with some slightly higher loan to value lending with products of up to 90% and some special deals at 95% (see the blog referring to Blackadders Deposit Match Scheme!).  This reinforces my belief that a more stable property market is slowly returning but I would stress that it is more important than ever to take high quality independent mortgage and legal advice before progressing in the property market.

Lindsay Darroch

Partner & Head of Property