Digital valuation provider Hometrack has increased its share of the valuation market, despite overall declines in activity due to the coronavirus crisis.
The company’s data has revealed that the proportion of valuations completed via Hometrack’s automated valuation model (AVM) has risen by 15%.
Meanwhile, Hometrack’s desktop valuation tool for surveyors has seen 500% growth in use, as it allows lenders to meet customers’ needs despite the disruption caused by lockdown.
Hometrack’s data also showed that mortgage applications for April were down by 40% compared with March.
Purchase applications and remortgage applications fell by 75% and 25% month-on-month, respectively.
Prior to the lockdown period, more than 25% of mortgage applications were for products with loan-to-value ratios (LTVs) at or above 85%, compared to less than 6% in April.
This is due to both the reduction in purchase application activity, which tend to be at higher LTV, as well as a more restricted product range.
David Ross, managing director of Hometrack, said: “These are unprecedented times for the residential property industry.
“With viewings cancelled, estate agent offices closed and work on new developments halted, the coronavirus pandemic has effectively closed down the housing market.
“This has been compounded by banks tightening their lending criteria and removing many products from the market as they try to minimise their exposure to more risky customers.”
“In this challenging climate lenders are turning to automated valuation and desktop services so they can serve their customers remotely.
“With physical valuations no longer possible clients know that our AVM is not only reliable but can quickly and easily be used to provide robust digital valuations.
“This, combined with transparent and regular reporting, gives clients the confidence they need to meet the needs of their customers and make informed lending decisions.”
Steve Seal, managing director of Bluestone Mortgages, added: “Social distancing has meant we have no choice but to work remotely but thankfully Hometrack’s AVM has meant many of our customers haven’t seen an interruption in service.
“We’ve been able to continue with much of our pipeline of applications, providing customers with an efficient, secure service backed up with industry-leading data.”