Furlough criteria searches on the decline, Knowledge Bank data reveals

“Furloughed workers” is no longer among the most searched terms by brokers, new data published by Knowledge Bank has revealed.

The criteria search specialist term stated that the term had previously spent 13 months in the top five most searched terms, after the government introduced the initiative last year.

With furlough dropping out of the top five most searched terms in the residential market, Knowledge Bank confirmed that May was the first month since the pandemic began with no COVID related searches.

“Maximum age at end of term” was the most searched criteria, with the average age of first-time buyers now over 31, according to Halifax. As house prices continue increasing, Knowledge Bank suggested that both older and younger borrowers are also extending terms to make repayments manageable.

Knowledge Bank operations director, Matthew Corker, commented: “Furlough has gone from being an unheard of term, to a mainstay in our lexicon over the past 14 months.

“The fact that in May it has dropped out of the most-searched terms could suggest sunnier times on the horizon as more people return to work, as it hints that we are beginning to return to normality.

“However, we are certainly not completely out of the woods. There are still plenty who are struggling as a result of the pandemic, and the searches for ‘debt consolidation’ confirm this.”

Knowledge Bank’s data also revealed that every month in 2021 has seen “first-time landlord” as either the most searched, or the second most searched for criteria by brokers in the buy-to-let (BTL) market.

In May, this trend continued with “first-time landlord” featuring as the most searched term. Knowledge Bank suggested that owning a BTL property could have become possible for more people as a result of increased savings in the pandemic.

Furthermore, “first-time buyers” was in the five most searched terms and has featured in every month in 2021, which the criteria search specialist said points to the difficulty of younger people meeting the affordability requirements of a residential mortgage.

“The BTL sector continues to go from strength to strength with interest from those new to the sector, and new to house buying,” Corker added. “The continued interest from first-time buyers, indicates that despite the return of 95% LTV mortgages, some are still struggling with affordability for residential mortgages.”

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