COVID Mortgage Market Update | Tom Webster, Partner

As we enter our 7th week of remote working I just wanted to write a short piece on how things are in the mortgage market and here at Sentry Advice.

Firstly I would like to extend my best wishes to you and your family. I hope you are well and safe!

I would like to say a big thank you to my fantastic colleagues. Everyone has adapted to remote working brilliantly. I’m really enjoying our weekly social zoom call, you’re all hilarious and I love it!  We were fortunate enough to invest in the right technology that enables us to carry on business as usual. Also a special thank you to our clients, its a confusing time for us all and everyone’s patience and understanding is greatly appreciated.

From all the doom and gloom early on in the lockdown where we saw mortgage lenders shut their doors to new lending, especially at higher loan to values, over the last couple of weeks we are witnessing a more positive trend in criteria as they adapt. Many of them with targets to hit are still keen to lend but want to make sure they don’t take on a burden of risk. One of the major sticking points for purchase applications is the availability of surveyors and property valuations. Many lenders are using ‘AVM”s (automated valuation model), which is where they use big data to assess the value of the property based on mathematical formulas and trends. Most are restricting this type of survey to lower loan to values.

I’ve been especially impressed with the likes of HSBC who have managed to keep operational up to 90% loan to value for purchases, trusting in AVM’s. Coming out the other side of the lockdown I can imagine a greater use of this tech across the board. Whilst this may not be great news for surveyors, it would be good news for the speed of the more simple home purchases as more lenders pick the technology up and trust in it at higher loan to values.

There are mumbles in the rumour mill that some of the lockdown measures may be relaxed in the coming weeks which could see a loosening on the movement of the home buying process which would be welcomed if an appropriate time to do so.

Remortgages and rate switches seem to be moving along as usual still.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the key workers keeping the country safe and moving. A nation of heroes!

Tom Webster,



The blog postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of Sentry Advice Limited. All comments are made in good faith, and neither Sentry Advice Limited nor the author will accept liability for them. No advice is given in any posting. Please contact your adviser for more information or advice.

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