Covid-19 has sent the global economy into turmoil which has impacted the UK housing and mortgage market. With the new lockdown measures in place for 2021, thankfully the housing and mortgage market is being allowed to function still.
Here at AGA Mortgages it’s still business as usual in terms of supporting and advising our clients. Never before has it been more important to get specialist mortgage and insurance advice.
Latest developments as of April 2021
Coronavirus (Covid-19) – The onset of Covid-19 had placed the housing and mortgage market into turmoil. With new lockdown measures in place from 5th January 2021, the housing market has managed to stay relatively buoyant spurred on by the stamp duty incentive whereby most property transactions upto £500,000 being exempt from stamp duty until 30th June 2021.
Purchase transactions – Following the news of the new lockdown measures implemented from midnight 5th January 2021, the Government has announced that purchase transactions can proceed as normal. Completions can take place where safe to do so and removal companies are allowed to operate. If you have already exchanged contracts and are awaiting completion such as a new build property still to be built, we are witnessing mortgage lenders extending mortgage offers from the usual 6 months to 9 months but they will seek reassurance that your income and circumstances mean the agreed mortgage remains affordable.
Housing market – The Government have looked to support the housing market with the positive changes to stamp duty and this scheme will now remain in place until 30th June 2021. The Government have also incentivised lenders to offer mortgages again for first time buyers with only a 5% deposit which is likely to help underpin the buoyancy in the housing market further.
Remortgages – If you have an existing mortgage and your current deal expires in the next 6 months it would be wise to review your mortgage now. As the industry gets back on its feet, we are witnessing bottlenecks along the way. Many lenders have adapted well and we can source lenders that can handle a remortgage efficiently which coupled with a reliable solicitor can help ensure your remortgage can be processed smoothly. Many lenders now use an AVM – Automated Valuation Model. This allows them to establish the approx. value of your home without the need to enter it. In many instances though a physical survey is required and there remains a backlog for physical surveys.
Mortgage lender reaction – Some lenders are still reluctant to use variable components of income such as commission and overtime. Also, if you have been furloughed but still don’t have a return to work date, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a lender to proceed as we edge closer to the furlough scheme expiring. It will take a skilled mortgage broker to understand your needs and present your case to a mortgage lender. We are in constant touch with key industry figures and lenders so please contact us today should you need advice in these uncertain times.
Insurances – Despite these uncertain times, insurance companies in general are still offering their suite of mortgage related insurances such as life cover, critical illness cover and income protection plans. For those that are displaying Coronavirus like symptoms or are self isolating, they will struggle to get cover but otherwise we are observing the insurance market trying to function as normal. We are getting continual updates from our key providers and contacts within the insurance world and we are specialists in this arena too. Click here for our dedicated insurance section.
Business as usual – We are a team of 4 mortgage brokers who operate from home with access to the latest technology meaning we can still advise and arrange mortgages for our clients without the need to meet you in person. Please feel free to get in touch and we shall guide you through this minefield.
Government updates – Another good place for information about Coronavirus is www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Key lender updates as of April 2021 – Most lenders are trying to offer a wide range of mortgage options and although mortgage rates are relatively high on deposits of 15% or less, lenders are steadily increasing options available. Service levels amongst lenders has improved during 2021 as they were understandably struggling during 2020 as they wrestled with new lending criteria and how to assess mortgage applications in light of the pandemic.