Coronavirus LTV restrictions dominate April broker searches

New figures from Knowledge Bank reveal the extent to which Covid-19 is shaking up the market and dominating brokers’ minds. April’s results from the monthly Knowledge Bank tracker of criteria searches show that across the residential, buy-to-let, second-charge, and bridging markets, ‘Covid-19: Temporary Maximum LTV Restrictions’ was the most frequent search.

In the residential category, the top three searches in April were all clearly Covid-19-related. In addition to LTV restrictions, brokers also searched in large numbers for ‘Internal / AVM / Desktop Valuations’, which also came in at number two in the buy-to-let category, and ‘Covid-19: Furloughed Workers’.

The volume of searches for furloughed workers suggests that people finding themselves with reduced income for a significant period, and facing continued uncertainty in the months ahead, are understandably looking to get themselves onto a better mortgage deal to reduce outgoing, or possibly escape expensive rented accommodation.

There were interesting results, too, in the equity release category, with ‘Minimum Age at Application’ topping the list of broker searches – whereas in February, it had been ‘Maximum Age’ that had attracted most searches. This possibly reflects working-age people wishing to access some of the value they have tied up in their property to top up their day-to-day finances. Searches for ‘Add Fees to Loan’ came in as another new entrant at number three on the list, indicating that people are looking to maximise the upfront cash they can extract.

Matthew Corker, Knowledge Bank’s lender relationship manager, commented: “With lenders across the board cutting back sharply on loan-to-value, and in some cases temporarily withdrawing from the market, brokers are working harder than ever to keep track of an ever-changing landscape and get the best deals for their clients.

“We’ve had just short of 2,000 brokers sign up to Knowledge Bank’s free Covid-19 ‘live feed’, updated in real time by lenders. With events moving so fast, it is vital that brokers use all the means and the technology at their disposal to keep pace with what is happening in the market.”