Mortgage approvals at record levels in 2020

Jessica Nangle

January 27, 2021


New data by Trussle has revealed mortgage approvals for home purchases rose by 154% in the second half of 2020.

The research also identifies the regions which saw the strongest mortgage approvals throughout 2020.

Comparing mortgage approvals between the first and second halves of 2020, Trussle saw an increase in home purchases across all parts of the UK, but locations such as the West Midlands and the South West showed the largest increase, growing by 244% and 236% respectively.

In comparison, mortgage approval growth increased by 147% in London, as the national lockdowns led people to reassess their desire to live in the city.

Trussle attributes the strong growth in mortgage approvals to a number of factors, including pent-up demand from buyers who were unable to purchase a new home during the first lockdown.

When the market did reopen, the government’s stamp duty holiday was also key to driving demand according to the data.

This was particularly apparent among next-time buyers, who could save up to £15,000 if they complete their property purchase before 31 March.

The strong demand reported across the second half of 2020 has also carried into 2021 and, as a result of delays across the market, it currently takes 134 days to complete a property purchase in the UK.

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at Trussle, said: ”Appetite for property remained incredibly strong despite the unprecedented challenges presented by the pandemic, which placed many households under a huge amount of financial strain.

“Lenders had to make big changes to their internal processes to accommodate a working from home set up and, despite experiencing some delays in the market, mortgage approvals rose to the highest level in 13 years during November last year.

“Buyers opting to purchase homes in regional locations, which are typically more rural, was no doubt the property trend of 2020.

“The restrictions imposed during national lockdowns led many to prioritise more affordable bigger properties, with access to external space.

“But, only time will tell if this is a long term trend.

“If 2021 sees us able to return to some form of normality, old priorities of location over space and access to workplaces and amenities might mean people start flooding back into cities.”

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