The number of mortgages on the market has hit a post-crisis high with broker-distributed deals leading the charge.
Total deals on the market rose by more than a third in the last year to over 17,000, while the average number of broker products leapt 42%.
Brokers have now been responsible for arranging 71% of total mortgage products for five consecutive months, according to the latest National Mortgage Index from Mortgage Advice Bureau.
The index showed there were 17,132 available products on average in January, the highest number since 23,802 in March 2008, eight years ago.
This was a rise of 34% from 12,771 mortgage deals in January last year.
The average number of broker products jumped from 8,555 to 12,180 over the year.
Yet the number of direct-only products increased just 17%, from 4,217 to 4,952.
Broker products made up 71% of the total product range in January, and have remained at this level for the past five months.
This marks an increase from 67% in January 2015 and reflects the growing importance of intermediaries in the mortgage market under the Mortgage Market Review (MMR).
Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said the intermediary share of the mortgage market has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
“The new affordability criteria and stress tests introduced as a result of MMR make applying for a mortgage a more time-consuming process.
“It no longer makes sense to spend this time talking to just one provider when you could be researching the whole market with an independent broker.
“Lenders that have historically opted not to distribute through brokers have now changed their stance to reflect this.”
The research also showed that the mortgage market got off to a bullish start in 2016 but most borrowers are feeling cautious by choosing fixed rates.