As we enter June and reflect on the past few months, our lives have had to change at an alarmingly fast rate and perhaps only now are we beginning to get a glimpse of things returning to some kind of ‘new’ normal and relative calm. At the start of lockdown, faced with the threat posed by Covid-19, we witnessed world stock markets correct at an alarming pace.
In turn, the UK mortgage market became very defensive and withdrew vast swathes of product and introduce more stringent lending criteria whilst even the different factions across the UK political divide seemed to ‘lay down their arms’ and show a relatively united front.
In the past month or so we have witnessed a marked reversal by equities indices from their March lows coupled with UK politics returning to its usual hostile footing. Similarly, lenders’ nerves appear to have settled and the UK mortgage market appears to be returning to its more familiar self with the reintroduction of wider product ranges and greater scope amongst the retail lenders to offer a wider bandwidth of mortgage sizes.
At the start of this crisis, lenders were overwhelmed by the volume of borrowers seeking to benefit from the 3 month mortgage holiday. Their reaction was to withdraw products and reduce access to funding. Essentially, no institution wanted to be seen as the most competitive to allow them the opportunity to control the flow of new business so that they could focus on administering the swathe of additional requests their back office was having to deal with.
That side of things has now stabilised somewhat, and we have seen in the last week several of the major retail lenders return with a combination of broader ranges of loan size and reducing their rates to commence a ‘mini price war’. To this degree, fixed-rate mortgages are nearing historic lows across the board thus offering borrowers the opportunity to access incredibly cheap funding.
The last 2 weeks have seen surveyors reopen, allowing their valuers to return to work. This has visibly reignited the market and allowed transactions that had begun in the first 10 weeks of the year to progress. We have also seen a significant amount of activity amongst our clients, who had been looking pre-lockdown, returning to viewing a property and finding that certain property is being snapped up before they have even had the chance to view in some cases. The feeling is that this surge is a combination of the pent up demand that existed in the first quarter and a relative lack of available stock.
For us, however, what has been most rewarding has been to help a number of our clients finally exchange contracts allowing them to look forward to moving to their new homes with certainty which seemed such a distant prospect at the height of lockdown.
The last year has seemingly flown by since Henry Dannell opened its doors on 3rd June 2019. We could not have imagined that events could possibly have unfolded as they have, but I would like to express my thanks to all of our clients and advisers for continuing to put their faith in our team. We have also been extremely grateful to see new lending mandates continue throughout what has been an unprecedented period and the most challenging of times for everyone.
To this degree, we now look forward to the next 12 months with excitement in light of the opportunities available in the property market and should you need our help or simply advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.
Please note: a mortgage is secured against your home or property. Your home or property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it.