Remortgage market showing "positive signs" as instructions continue to rise

Posted on Monday, May 4, 2020

For the second week in a row, remortgage instruction volumes have risen, growing by 12.8% from the week commencing 13th April to the week commencing 20th April.

According to the latest figures released by LMS, weekly instruction figures are now just 15% below levels immediately preceding the lockdown.

LMS data shows that April’s completion activity remains consistent, with completions staying at exactly the same level from the week commencing 13th April to the week commencing 20th April. Completion numbers are in line with March activity, with month-end volumes on track to be just 4% lower than last month, as current activity stands at 86% of the March total with 90% of April gone.

Additionally, pipeline activity remains steady, with volumes on track to exceed March. The number of cases set to be carried forwards stands at 95% of the March total, after 90% of April. If this trend continues to month-end it would produce the highest pipeline volume for 2020 so far, suggesting that other indicators will rise in the near future.

However, cancellation levels increased slightly, with the overall cancellation rate for April currently standing at 6.7%, 1.3% higher than March. Year-on-year, the cancellation rate is set to be higher than April 2019, with the overall cancellation rate currently 2.2% more, and 14.8% more cancelled transactions recorded with a few days of the month left.

Nick Chadbourne, CEO of LMS, commented: “Increased instruction levels are a positive sign for the market, with borrower enquiries nearing pre-lockdown numbers. Growth over the last two weeks is even more encouraging, and we hope that this trend continues as we move through spring.

“Fees-assisted remortgages are increasing as a share of remortgage activity, which suggests that brokers are identifying the benefits of these products and are passing them onto their clients. FARs could drive new instructions and overall activity in the coming weeks, as they offer unique advantages for the present situation. Reduced ID requirements, less paperwork for customers, and lower need for searches all combine to overcome current challenges to remortgaging and could reduce the likelihood that transactions are cancelled.

“More encouragement can be taken from consistent completion, pipeline, and cancellation figures. Though pipeline figures are down slightly on last year, they’re in line with recent months, showing that the market has stabilised.”

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