Confidence remains high
The average number of mortgages placed by intermediaries reduced slightly in the first quarter of 2022 from the highest ever recorded level in the previous quarter, the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) reported.
According to the latest findings from IMLA’s Mortgage Market Tracker, the number on average fell from a peak of 103 at the end of last year to 97, matching the rates for Q3 2021, which, at the time, was a record year.
Despite a slight reduction in the number of average cases, the lenders group said the confidence of intermediaries in the business outlook for their own firms remained high.
Around 62% of intermediaries said they were ‘very confident’ about the outlook for their firm, maintaining the same rates of confidence reported at the end of Q4.
Almost all (98%) intermediaries were confident overall, with only a very small minority (2%) describing themselves as ‘not very confident’.
Also, more intermediaries in Q1 reported higher rates of confidence in outlook for both the broader intermediary sector and the mortgage industry.
When asked about the intermediary sector, 54% of intermediaries were ‘very confident’, improving from last quarter’s 52%. Likewise, a ‘very confident’ outlook for the mortgage industry grew to 45% of intermediaries in Q1, nearly matching the record high of 46% achieved in Q3 2021.
“Q4 of 2021 was a record peak for the average intermediary case load and evidence from Q1 suggests that, despite a slight drop, advisers are maintaining their momentum. The data from the first quarter of 2022 shows a strong level of activity and a solid underlying demand underpinning the mortgage market,” Kate Davies, executive director at IMLA, commented.
Meanwhile, the average number of Decisions in Principle (DIPs) that intermediaries processed in Q1 rose by two when compared to the final quarter of 2021. Despite a drop in January to 28 per intermediary, the following two months saw a strong rebound with February reaching 32 per intermediary and March hitting 37, a two-year high.
In Q1, the conversions of DIPs to completions fell slightly by 2% and was seen across almost all business segments. The largest decrease of 10% was seen in mover business, suggesting a greater shift in focus towards remortgages which saw 72 cases of conversion from full application to completion, a rise of 3 from Q4 2021.
“With inflation expected to reach 8% by the beginning of summer and possibly even higher later in the year, and with interest rates raised to their highest in 13 years, demand in the mortgage market should match the rates of 2021 as borrowers aim to secure new fixed-rate deals,” Davies said.
“Throughout 2022, as volatile macro-economic trends impact personal finances, advisers will continue their work and play a crucial role in helping borrowers to find an appropriate, affordable and sensible deal,” she added.