L&G criteria searches jump 105% in last quarter

Legal & General (L&G) has reported that its total criteria searches for those looking to invest in property has increased by 105% from December 2023 to the end of February.

Analysis of the firm’s free mortgage research and sourcing platform, L&G Ignite, found that ‘first-time buyer’ remained a top three search term used by advisers throughout January and February, with activity from this cohort being a significant driver of the Q1 market uptick.

Despite the strong level of activity, L&G said that aspiring homeowners are still struggling with the impact of economic headwinds, leading to more complex situations and requirements.

Searches for 'minimum income for interest-only' products have risen by 9%, while those clarifying the minimum required period of employment increased by 15%.

Satisfied defaults moved up to the second highest term, from third in January, as searches increased by 7%.

L&G said that many buyers have been impacted by wider economic strains, and as a result, are seeking professional guidance as they explore the housing market.

The UK property market has seen significant interest from both domestic and overseas buyers and investors, with ‘visa’ remaining the most used criteria since the start of the year.

Furthermore, searches on behalf of expats not in the UK have increased by 9%, while those for buyers relying on foreign income have jumped by 112% from December.

Head of mortgage products and transformation at L&G Mortgage Services, Jodie White, said: "The latest data makes for interesting and positive reading, with many areas of the market – particularly first-time buyers – enjoying a really promising start to the year.

"There is no denying that 2023 was quieter than many had hoped, but there are already clear signs that 2024 is on much steadier footing. The huge competition on mortgage pricing starting at the backend of last year is undoubtedly central to this uptick."

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