Mortgage Brain has reported that product numbers have continued the trend of improvement, increasing by 1.1% last week to a new post-lockdown high of 9,266.
This is up by almost 25% on the lowest point seen since Covid-19 struck back in the week ending 12th April. However, product availability remains substantially down on the numbers seen before the pandemic, with last week’s figures still down by 36.9% on the nine-week average to 16th March.
ESIS volumes have also continued to increase, rising by 5% last week. They are now only 6.4% lower than pre-pandemic levels, and have been within 11% of typical levels seen before Covid-19 for five consecutive weeks, suggesting a steady foundation for the recovery in borrower demand.
Demand from residential buyers has now surpassed that seen before the lockdown, with home mover cases accounting for 9.3% more of the ESIS generated than pre-pandemic. This is also the case with buy-to-let borrowing, where purchase cases account for 7.8% more of the ESIS generated than pre-pandemic.
Mortgage Brain said there are indications that the situation for higher LTV borrowing is gradually improving too. On residential cases, ESIS volumes for borrowing at above 70% LTV are now 2% higher than pre-pandemic levels. It remains difficult for borrowers with small deposits though, with borrowing above 90% LTV representing just 1% of ESIS currently, down from 6.6% before the pandemic.
Mark Lofthouse, CEO at Mortgage Brain, said: “The continued growth in purchase ESIS, beyond levels seen before Covid-19 arrived, is encouraging. It demonstrates the strength of desire to buy homes remains strong across the UK, whether buying as an owner occupier or for investment purposes. This demand is being supported by the steady increase in the number of products available too, which has hit another new high following the lockdown.”
“There remains a clear ceiling on LTVs, with high LTV lending continuing to be restricted. This looks likely to remain a challenging area of the market in the months ahead as lenders limit their exposure to small deposit borrowers.”