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Knowledge Bank notes shift in broker searches

There has been a shift in broker searches regarding equity release, while searches for lenders that allow houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) appeared in the top five for the first time in the buy-to-let sector, according to Knowledge Bank.

Its latest criteria activity tracker revealed the searches brokers performed in March prior to mortgage product sourcing.

Tenure became the most searched criteria category within equity release for the first time in the criteria index. Interestingly, though, the top searches within equity release have shifted in recent months from factors affecting the loan to considerations relating to the property itself.

Brokers have also been questioning the data for lenders who will consider timber and non-standard construction in addition to properties with an annex or outbuildings.

In the buy-to-let sector, searches for lenders who will allow first-time landlords took the top spot once again and, with continuing uncertainty around alternative investment choices, bricks and mortar seemed to offer an attractive option.

What’s more, within buy-to-let, searches for lenders that allow HMOs broke into top five for the first time. Anecdotal evidence suggests that changes to rules surrounding HMOs is leading brokers to delve deeper into this area.

Meanwhile, residential loan searches in March continued to reflect the needs of older borrowers, with three out of the top five categories relating to a borrower’s age. The most popular searches performed by mortgage brokers included those for lenders who offered the most generous criteria regarding the maximum age at the end of the mortgage term.

“As we head into the second quarter of 2019, the landscape for brokers advising clients continues to be more and more complicated,” Nicola Firth, chief executive officer of Knowledge Bank, commented.

She said that mortgage and loan providers are reacting to external financial and competitive forces during a period of change with Brexit.

“There are daily challenges to both products and their underlying criteria so the task facing brokers in delivering advice is harder than other,” Firth added.

“However, the reality for brokers is that borrowers are unaware or unconcerned as long as they can be paired with the right product from the right lender.”

She concluded: “This is why technology is crucial in helping brokers find the right product the first time.”

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