Intermediary confidence returns to pre-pandemic levels – IMLA

Confidence among intermediaries for the outlook of the mortgage industry, the intermediary sector and their own businesses increased significantly in the first three months of 2021, according to new research from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA).

The trade association’s latest report also recorded a 14% increase in the average annual number of cases handled by intermediaries between Q4 2020 (78) and Q1 2021 (89).
IMLA suggested that confidence in the mortgage industry has returned to levels not seen since before the start of the pandemic, with 96% of intermediaries now confident about its future. A further 97% reported being confident about the intermediary sector while 99% saw a positive outlook for their own business. 

The data showed that the average number of DiPs processed by advisers increased from 25 to 28 between the final three months of 2020 and Q1 2021. The conversion rate from DiP to completion also increased quarter-on-quarter, with 43% in Q1 21 compared to 34% in Q4 20.

IMLA highlighted that this means after a significant drop amid the COVID-19 crisis, the conversion rate from offer to completion across the mortgage industry climbed from 65% in Q4 2020, to 75% in Q1 2021.

“Following a difficult period in the wake of the coronavirus crisis which led to the temporary closure of the housing market, it is pleasing to see such a positive start to 2021,” said IMLA executive director, Kate Davies.

“Our findings show that after a steady period of recovery, adviser activity levels and sentiment towards the outlook for the sector are now nearing levels not seen since before the start of the pandemic.

“We also expect this high demand to continue into the year, with a combination of government support helping to underpin new purchases and a bumper year for product maturities also providing significant opportunity in the refinance market.”

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