As the market hits the one month point since lockdown restrictions were partially lifted, the difference in the picture is stark, according to Twenty7Tec.
James Tucker, CEO at Twenty7Tec, said: “Today is one month since the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, announced he was lifting the restrictions on the estate agents and housing markets.
“The difference it has made to search volumes for mortgages is night and day.
“In the month since the lifting of lockdown restrictions for estate agents, the total mortgage search volumes using our systems has doubled from 479,000 searches to 955,000 searches.
“We’ve also seen the volumes of first-time buyers’ searches quadruple since that announcement.
“First-time buyers accounted for 39.4% of all purchase searches in the past month – up from a lockdown low of 31.82% just days before the Jenrick announcement.
“Remortgage search volumes have increased by 26% in the last month.
“But whereas remortgages accounted for 69.5% of the market in the month prior to [the market reopening], they now represent 43.99% of the market in the month since.”
Despite this positive picture, Tucker warned that there will be further obstacles for the industry to overcome.
He said: “There are still some major challenges ahead.
“Payment holidays are now in place for one in seven UK mortgages and we need to see how those are going to transition back to normal payments in challenging employment conditions.
“Lenders are also withdrawing from the 90% [loan-to-value (LTV)] market, which is going to make it harder for first-time buyers to play their role in the market.
“So, it’s also quite possible that this till constrain the government’s housing-led economic recovery.
“We hope that there’s a new price point that emerges quickly between first-time buyers and lenders that will continue to reinvigorate the market.
“Currently, demand well outstrips supply with only 50% of the volumes of mortgage products available pre-COVID now available.”