Mortgage applications reach pre-recession levels

March experienced the third consecutive month of mortgage application increases with overall volumes in Q1 2010, 9% up on the same period in 2009, based on the activities of Countrywide Mortgage Services and its network of more than 700 mortgage consultants.

Recent application increases could be accredited to a renewed sense of confidence among customers and an increased volume of products to choose from. The overall volume of mortgage products increased by 8% in March on the previous month – a 112% increase since March 2009.

The research also reveals that a growing number of mortgage customers are opting for fixed rate products, which made up 61% of applications in March – an increase of 4% since February 2010. This contrasts with a recent resurgence in the popularity of tracker products, which made up around half of all mortgages in December 2009.

Grenville Turner, Countrywide’s group chief executive, said: “Widespread uncertainty surrounding the economy and election does not appear to have deterred mortgage customers, which might partly be due to the number of people who have sat tight during the recession and are now ready to move regardless.

“While the longer term outlook is unknown, the forthcoming election is not deterring buyers at present and mortgage applications always provide a good indication of consumer confidence.”

Applications for two year mortgage terms generated the highest volume of applications in March – an increase of 1% compared to the previous month but an increase of 27% on March 09. Overall, 89% of mortgage applications made in March 10 were for two and three year products – a decrease of 1% from February 10 and a 24% increase on March 09.

The average interest rate of Countrywide’s Top 10 Mortgage Applications was 4.65% in March 10 (taking into account both transactional and remortgage customers) - up 0.13% from February 10 and a 0.42% decrease on March 09.