Michael Lloyd

January 9, 2020

More brokers were searching for Help to Buy on Knowledge Bank in December, its Criteria Activity Tracker has showed.

In the residential market, ‘Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme’ appeared in the top five for the first time since August.

From March 2021, the scheme will only be available to first-time buyers and will have tight regional price caps.

Nicola Firth (pictured), chief executive of Knowledge Bank, said: “December has once again seen a huge amount of change in the criteria brokers are searching for.

“The equity release market seems to be particularly unpredictable but there have been a number of surprising new entries and re-entries across every sector of the market.

“The searches in residential reflect just how challenging the mortgage market remains for people wanting to get onto the housing ladder and those who will still be paying off mortgages, potentially well into retirement.”

In the residential market there was a clear shift towards mortgages for older borrowers, with searches both for ‘maximum age at end of term’ and ‘maximum age at application’ appearing in the top three.

The searches for ‘interest-only’ and ‘Help to Buy’ show that affordability is an increasing issue for people wanting to get on the housing ladder.

Once again there was change in what brokers were searching for in the equity release market.

For the third month in a row, none of the previous top five criteria searches featured in December with the leading search, ‘non-standard construction’ having only been in the top five only twice previously.

In the buy-to-let market, there was a first-time entry for ‘day one remortgage’.

The second most frequent search in this category was ‘lending to trustees’, which has also never previously featured in the top five.

In the self-build market, a top search included ‘applicants paid in a foreign currency’.

In the bridging category brokers were searching for ‘minimum loan amount’ and ‘regulated bridging’.

Meanwhile in the commercial category popular searches included ‘semi-commercial properties’ and ‘maximum loan-to-value’.

Knowledge Bank was accessed 11 times on New Year’s Day, 66 times on New Year’s Eve, six times on Boxing Day and even once on Christmas Day.

Firth added: “Brokers really need to stay on their toes to keep up with the hundreds of changes to lenders’ criteria that take place every month – so no wonder some even felt the need to work over Christmas!

“Brokers should make it a New Year’s resolution to make sure they are using all the tools available to them in order to free up some of their own time whilst also ensuring that they give their clients the best advice possible and find them the best lender for their needs.”

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