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Knowledge Bank: Homebuyers showing fears over affordability

Jessica Nangle

November 5, 2020

The residential market showed the most consistency out of all seven categories in the latest criteria activity tracker recorded by Knowledge Bank in October, with ‘COVID-19: Temporary Maximum LTV Restrictions’ staying in the top five results for the sixth consecutive month.

The pandemic has become a consistent topic in the housing market as people brace to live with COVID-19 long-term.

Brokers kept ‘Maximum Age at End of Term’ in the top spot for the second month in the residential market.

This could be indicative of borrowers trying to stretch the term to keep their payments as low as possible in the short-term with uncertainty around the current situation according to Knowledge Bank.

Additionally, the top five results of the criteria tracker included ‘Income Multiple used for Affordability Assessment’ and ‘Self-employed – 1 years accounts’.

This shows the struggle with affordability and, as a result, many are reassessing their income multiples as they search for a way to get onto the housing ladder.

This issue is impacting markets across the board.

The top spot in the bridging market was “Maximum LTV”, and in the second charge market “Maximum LTV/Loan to Value” was similarly in first place.

Lenders continuing to tighten criteria is clearly still a significant issue for those with smaller deposits and it shows that LTV restrictions are impacting borrowers and their ability to buy or remortgage.

The struggle in the residential market is juxtaposed with huge confidence in the buy-to-let market.

As people progressively worry about affordability in the residential market, homebuyers may be exploring alternative options to get a foot onto the property ladder and, perhaps as a result, there are new landlords coming to the market.

Although a larger deposit is typically required with a buy-to-let mortgage, the affordability assessment is based on the potential rental income.

There is currently huge demand for rented property as more people struggle to get onto the housing ladder, making it an attractive option to those who are trying to purchase property.

Searches for ‘Property with Annex/Outbuildings/Land/Acreage’ took the top spot in the equity release market once again.

This trend has been boosted by coronavirus impacting consumer habits, as fears over affordability are driving people to consider buying property with relatives.

This point becomes increasingly credible when looking at criteria recorded by Knowledge Bank from the self-build market.

A spike in searches for ‘Purchase of Adjoining Property’ exemplified the broader impact this is having on the market, as homebuyers look at purchasing property with relatives or bringing elderly relatives closer to them after being apart in the first lockdown.

Matthew Corker, lender relationship manager at Knowledge Bank, said: “The bottom line here is that people are desperately looking to get onto the property ladder.

“While there is much news about lenders returning to the market and introducing new products, we are already seeing signs that some products may be pulled in light of the second national lockdown as lender appetite for risk is reduced.

“The unknown impact of a second national lockdown on employment and the wider economy is causing panic in the housing market and this is putting buyers under an increasing amount of stress.”


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