Mortgage lending remained flat in the first three months of 2020 whilst an increase in buy-to-let activity was offset by a decline in the number of first-time buyers, according to UK Finance.
The trade body’s Finance Household Finance Review also revealed regional variations in activity reflecting the market disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite cuts to Bank Rate UK Finance added that it expects household preferences for fixed-rate mortgages to continue.
Vikki Jefferies, proposition director at PRIMIS, said: “The next set of statistics from UK Finance is set to look very different. Lenders have made great strides to ensure that they remain ‘open for business’ and have taken extraordinary strides at great speed to support borrowers through the pandemic.
“Advisers are also playing a crucial role, supporting customers with the relevant products. These not only include mortgages and refinancing options, but income protection policies and life insurance as well.
“Providing a holistic advice service that considers a client’s specific circumstances and protection needs has always been what makes good brokers great. Customers need the right advice more than ever at this time.”
Dave Harris, CEO at equity release lender, more2life, added: “Whilst today’s figures show a promising start to the year, the coronavirus outbreak has drastically changed the look and feel of the mortgage market.
“Nonetheless, the industry has worked hard to ensure it can continue to help customers and keep the market moving – in particular the equity release market.
“The cooperation between lenders, advisers, suppliers and trade bodies in the later life lending sector has meant that over-55s, including those who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, have been able to continue accessing the funding if they need it.
“Over the coming weeks and months, equity release as well as other later life lending options will be a huge support to many older customers who may have found their careers curtailed or their pension savings hit.
“Fundamentally, it is important that any older borrower considering their financial options in retirement approach a specialist adviser for help. Advisers can look holistically at a customer’s assets and finances and guide them to the best solution for their particular circumstances, whilst ensuring they are able to secure the lending they need.”