For the good and the bad, it’s fair to say that 2020 will be a year to remember. 

At Roots Mortgages, 2020 will always be a proud year as it is when we launched and announced ourselves to the wider mortgage industry.

Even in our early stages, we are proud of the work we have been able to do with clients covering contractor mortgages, freelancer mortgages and residential mortgages

But it’s fair to say that this year has had its challenges, both for us and the wider mortgage industry. So we have gone through the year that’s been and picked out some of the highs and lows of 2020 in our final blog of the year. Enjoy!

Strong start

It is genuinely difficult to remember a time before the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, face masks and life generally being turned on its head.

But back in January 2020, the mortgage market actually made quite a strong start to the year. RightMove reported its highest ever number of home visits from people looking to move house, while more than 5.7 million visited the RightMove site in a single week. 

Home loan approvals also saw high approval rates in January 2020, with 7.4% increase on January 2019 according to UK Finance figures. 

This kind of strong start to the year had the potential to stand the mortgage industry in good stead for the year ahead. Oh what might have been!

Lockdown hits

By February, the risk of Coronavirus and the fact things were set to change quite radically had started to come into our wider thoughts.

In March, the UK went into lockdown and the mortgage market was quick to follow suit, entering a partial lockdown at the end of the month.

This saw many lenders scrap their home loan deals, and placed the mortgage market, like so many others, into a state of flux.

Homeowners takes mortgage holiday

By April, some pretty serious action had to be taken as tens of thousands of people up and down the country were placed on furlough, or even worse lost their jobs.

This saw people take a forced break from their mortgage repayments, with one in nine people taking advantage of a ‘mortgage holiday’ after agreeing terms with lenders. Given the bizarre and unprecedented circumstances, the mortgage holiday option was something that people begrudgingly took to tide them over during difficult times.

Somewhat inevitably, property sales also dipped in April hit their lowest rates since records began back in 2005. 

By May, we were all adjusting to the absolute madness of the pandemic. The mortgage payment holiday scheme was extended by a further three months for those who had requested it in March.

The scheme was further extended in November by six months, giving people who had yet to take advantage of the holiday the chance to do so.

Stamp Duty Holiday Launches

July saw the Government, as part of its ‘Plan for Jobs’, introduced a temporary Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday for residential properties worth up to £500,000. The scheme was effective from the 8th July 2020 and runs right the way up to the 31st March 2021. The holiday means that nine out of ten people getting on or moving up the property ladder will pay no SDLT at all.

Roots Mortgages Launches

September 2020 saw the launch of Roots Mortgages and our emergence as a force in the field of contractor, freelance and residential mortgages.

After plenty of planning and logistical challenges, it was an absolute thrill to launch Roots Mortgages and start what we believe will be a journey of some standing.

Boris commits to helping the market bounce back

In October, as part of the Prime Minister commitment to trying to get society back in shape,  Boris Johnson committed to helping young people get a ‘long-term fixed-rate mortgage’. This, Boris said, would help ‘two million more owner-occupiers to buy their own home.’ This was all with the aim of fixing Britain’s ‘broken housing market’

Signs of the market bouncing back

After such a tumultuous year, it was pleasing in October to see that the previous weeks had shown signs of the property market bouncing back.

There was a 21.3% increase in the number of property sales recorded in September 2020 according to HMRC. 98,000 property transactions were also completed during the month. This was a slight increase on the number of transactions completed in September 2019, back in the free and fancy halcyon pre-COVID days.

New Ground Risk Model launched

And as a slightly left-field ending to the year that’s been, November 2020 saw a new climate-centric model for assessing ground risk.

This model contains risk information for all properties across the UK, covering 29 million UK properties, and having information on 50 million structures and 30 million land parcels.

2020 – What to say?

It’s been mad hasn’t it. There have been highs and lows, but we like everybody else are hoping for a much more settled year in 2021. 

2021 of course will be our first full year of operations, and will see us celebrating our first anniversary. 

We also have ambitious goals and targets all centred on providing the very best service to our clients and helping more and more contractors, freelancers and buyers secure their ideal mortgage. 

Thank you for your support thus far and from all of us at Roots Mortgages, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!