L&G: Buyers with a visa most searched term in 2020

Jake Carter

January 14, 2021

Mortgage searches related to buyers with a visa was the number one criteria search among advisers in 2020, according to Legal & General Mortgage Club.

The rise in visa-related enquiries could be attributed to many factors including the weaker pound, the increased interest from Hong Kong-based buyers and the uncertainty facing EU nationals and expats being able to qualify for a mortgage post-Brexit.

The SmartrCriteria tool also revealed that later life lending inquiries relating to the “maximum age” a lender would lend to a customer was the second most searched mortgage criteria in 2020.

According to the mortgage club, this could relate to individuals known as ‘last time buyers’ who are intending to make use of the stamp duty holiday and downsize.

The third highest mortgage criteria search was related to buyers who were interested in taking out their first buy-to-let mortgage.

Legal & General Mortgage Club outlined that this could be due to landlords looking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday and the rise in ‘holiday lets’, which was the fourth most searched mortgage criteria in 2020 by advisers.

Finally, the fifth highest mortgage search in 2020 belonged to “expats who were not in the UK”.

Clare Beardmore, head of mortgage transformation and operations at Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “As demand and complexity increases along the homebuying journey, advisers are embracing new technologies like our SmartrCriteria and SmartrFit, which combines criteria and with an affordability calculator all in one tool, to help streamline the mortgage search and quickly find lenders that will fit their clients’ needs.

“As housing transactions are taking longer to complete, upwards of 17 weeks since the pandemic, narrowing down the types of lenders that will accept a client is crucial to delivering a quick outcome for customers.

“Technology is absolutely critical to addressing this challenge. At Legal & General, we are on a mission to transform the market for the better through technology.

“The insights that SmartrCriteria have given us these past two years have been invaluable as we continue to develop new tools that push our industry forward and emerging insights through adding affordability will provide even more exciting insights going forward.”

“Last year’s top searches also highlight that despite ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic, the mortgage market remains open to all types of borrowers.

“There are clearly options for many borrowers, whatever their circumstances and speaking to an independent mortgage adviser who can help borrowers to navigate the available products should be everyone’s first step.”

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