First time buying in a post-lockdown mortgage market

Stuart Bowman

2-minute read

Last updated:

May 21, 2020

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Update - November 2nd:

Much of the housing and mortgage market remains open and will do until the UK comes out of national lockdown in December.

You can see what all lenders will currently offer you here, and check out any house viewing issues you may have here. Much of the government guidance remains the same since it was introduced in May.

What was the issue?

Almost half a million potential home moves were halted by lockdown and that figure doesn't even take into account how many first time buyer plans were scuppered.

If you were viewing houses and getting mortgage ready ahead of lockdown, you'll have been glad to learn that some restrictions have been eased.

From 13th May in England, new rules have allowed both house viewings and valuations to resume, provided they adhere to social distancing advice.

There are many reasons first time buyers have been unable to proceed, most due to the practicalities of social distancing. Removal firms, house viewings and particularly the valuation process have all been affected.

Banks were also inundated with existing mortgage holders trying to negotiate a payment holiday while being furloughed due to coronavirus.

It all led banks and other lenders to pull a lot of their higher LTV deals. Now valuations can begin again, lenders are working through their backlog and more deals are coming back to the market.

What are mortgage rates like now?

Back in March, Bank of England slashed the base rate of interest to 0.1%, the lowest it's ever been.

It was never likely the rate reduction would be transferred to consumer mortgage rates, as the Bank of England was primarily trying to support businesses and wider industry, but some variable rates did fall, before products were pulled due to the lockdown restrictions mentioned above.

However, mortgage rates were already at an historic low and now more mortgage products are returning to the market and lenders are keen to take on new applications, thousands and thousands of people are aiming once more to get on the property ladder.

How do I make an offer on a house during coronavirus lockdown?

Official guidance explains you can make offers and reserve properties as normal. However, the government stresses that first viewings should be carried out virtually if possible and even subsequent viewings should be subject to social distancing measures.

You can still ask tradespeople to carry out inspections and quote for any renovation works you want doing on your new property.

In terms of your offer price, it remains up to you. House prices actually rose 2% in March, but Lloyds recently suggested the coronavirus pandemic may have pushed house prices down 5%.

Will I need a higher deposit?

Probably not.

As mentioned during the height of lockdown most lenders restricted new mortgage offers to 60% LTV deals, but now there are a lot of 85% LTV deals available. If you were seeking a 95% LTV mortgage you may still be slightly restricted in your choice of lender, but speak to a Mojo expert and we'll see what's available to you.

What about Mojo?

We've been working from home throughout the lockdown and have managed to get mortgage offers for our remortgage customers. Since the property market opened back up, we're now helping first-time buyers once more.

Can I get a first-time buyer mortgage in lockdown?

Absolutely.

If you've had an offer accepted on a property log back into your Mojo account and book an appointment with a Mortgage adviser straight away.

They'll be able to talk you through your options and get your paperwork ready to reply – even if you're still furloughed.

If you're still looking for a property, log back in and see what rates you could get right now – a lot has changed in the past few months. You can also check your MortgageScore and see how likely you are to be accepted in the coming weeks and months.

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