Halifax mortgage enquiries double in a month

Halifax has announced its mortgage applications have continued to rise seven weeks after the housing market reopened.

In June, mortgage applications from first-time buyers almost doubled with Halifax recording a 96% increase from May, as buyers looked to step onto the housing ladder after months of lockdown.

The bank also saw a 150% increase in agreements in principle (AIPs) being completed digitally compared to May. Halifax suggested this demonstrates the nation’s desire to quickly get back to their future housing plans.

East Anglia, the North-West and the North are proving the most popular choices for those looking for a new home after lockdown, Halifax added, with mortgage applications already higher in these regions than pre-COVID 19 levels.

New Halifax research also revealed that over half (57%) of workers, since working from home, now think there is less need for people to live in a city while proximity to their office is no longer an important factor when purchasing a property (39%). Greater London and the South-East are still the most sought-after regions for buying a home overall, although Halifax indicated they have not returned to their pre-lockdown levels of popularity.

Since the beginning of March, Halifax has granted more than 300,000 mortgage payment holidays, and the bank stated that 75% of households who took out mortgage payment holidays say that they feel confident to restart payments at the appropriate time.

“The initial boom in mortgage application enquiries when the housing market reopened in May was very much anticipated,” Halifax mortgages director, Tom Martin, commented.

“As the high influx of calls continues throughout June, we’re also beginning to see a clear shift in where people are now looking to buy homes, with the likes of East Anglia and the North West already more popular than before lockdown. This may reflect how people see their lifestyles changing after the pandemic, with greater flexibility to work from home and a desire for more outdoor space.

“For those with existing mortgages, we’re also seeing more and more people move back to regular payments which is a positive sign after many took the opportunity for a little breathing space during this uncertain time.”

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