FTB enquiries spike in sign of ‘healthy market’: L&G

By: ameer@trustedteam.com

Searches on behalf of first-time buyers (FTBs) jumped by 22% from February to March, Legal & General data shows.

The lender has reported the spike in enquiries from FTBs via its SmartrFit platform, suggesting people are still pursuing their homeowning dreams.

It was the second most popular search term overall for March, behind ‘Visa’ which remained the number one term in continuation of an almost six-month trend.

Overall, there were more searches in March, with the monthly stats topping both January and February’s figures – which has been received as good news for the market.

Further market resilience was indicated with a 24.6% rise in searches for HMO properties.

However, there was also a 24% increase in searches linked to the criteria for missed mortgage payments, which suggests recent rate rises, high inflation and cost-of-living struggles continue to weigh heavily on some mortgage holders, says L&G.

It’s thought more borrowers are relying on financial gifting to raise a deposit, with a 19% increase in searches around gifted deposits.

Searches for products that consider a property’s Energy Performance Certificate rating also increased 8.3%, mirroring the rising interest and concern around energy efficiency.

Legal & General Technology head of mortgage products and transformation Jodie White said: “Despite gloomy predictions for the housing market in 2023, it is heartening to see that customers’ changing needs are being met with a dynamic range of highly competitive and innovative products.

“Our data is a strong indicator that affordability is gradually improving for some. On one side of the market, FTBs are stepping forward to realise their homeowning dreams, but many are having to lean on gifted deposits and other forms of financial gifting to fund their purchase.

“There are also still signs to suggest that many people have not yet recovered from the financial hardship of the last year and are very much in need of the support of an adviser to find a product that best suits their borrowing profile.”

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