Some of us will be old enough to remember a time when if you needed to know something, you had to go to what today would be deemed extraordinary lengths to find it out.

But modern platforms are making it easier than ever to get the information we need. For mortgage advisers, there are now a number of tools to support with guidance on mortgage applications. 

One such tool is the SmartrCriteria platform from Legal & General Mortgage Club. The information entered into platforms such as this means there is an opportunity for organisations like Legal & General to keep tabs on what it is people are searching for when it comes to mortgages. This data allows for pertinent trends to be monitored, and provides a flavour of what has been happening within the industry. 

In this vein, Legal & General Mortgage Club has just released the top mortgage search terms on SmartrCriteria tool for the three years since its launch. The terms over these three years provide some interesting insight into how the market has been operating, so let’s take a look.

Three intriguing years of mortgage fun

When Legal & General launched the SmartrCriteria tool, they probably were not envisaging a global pandemic kicking off and life as we know it being turned on its head.

One of the reactions from the UK government to the COVID-19 pandemic relevant to the mortgage market was the stamp duty holiday – something many brokers wanted extending. This, combined with savings people made during lockdowns where spending decent money on anything was pretty much impossible, saw greater momentum behind first-time buyers.

This was reflected in Legal & General’s findings, with a 64% increase in searches on behalf of first-time buyers seen in 2021. The term ‘first-time buyer’ was the third-most searched in 2020, and fourth highest searched in 2021.

Interestingly, these circumstances saw an increased interest in buying UK properties from people overseas, with ‘Visa’ being the most searched term on the platform in both 2020 and 2021.

The pandemic’s limitations on travel also led to an increased interest in holiday let properties. This was the fourth highest searched term in 2020, with the term not even being in the top 10 in 2019.

The second highest term in 2021 was loan-to-value (LTV) – something we’ve covered regularly in our blogs at Roots Mortgages. This term has been hitting the headlines in recent months with the increased availability of 95% LTV mortgages, and LTV is something that will play a big role in any first-time buyer mortgage deals for sure. 

Other highly-searched terms in 2019, 2020 and 2021 included:

  • Capital raising
  • Maximum age
  • Gifted Deposit/Gifted Equity
  • First Time Landlord
  • Default satisfied

More of the same in 2022?

A new year always brings plenty of predictions with it. The search terms seen by Legal & General provide an interesting insight into the mortgage market over the past 3 years, but what will 2022 bring?

This year so far seems to be all about rate increases and tight pursestrings. There is a feeling that people may be wary of spending too much money in what could be a potentially tumultuous economic climate.

“We appear to be entering another phase for the sector, as we leave behind the rock-bottom rates that have dominated the market for so long,” said Clare Beardmore, Head of Broker and Propositions, Legal & General Mortgage Club. “Just as we face further potential rate increases, many homeowners and prospective buyers have seen their household finances take a knock, with high energy prices and rising inflation driving a surge in the cost of living.”

This may see a greater preference for longer-term fixed rate mortgages, which provide a greater level of stability and will not fluctuate with the changes in the market. 

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that predicting what will happen next is often a fairly futile task. For contractors or freelancers considering their options at present, getting the right level of support for your mortgage plans in 2022 is of vital importance. 

Seek mortgage advice if you are unsure of anything, and be sure to stay on top of the situation as best you can. The Roots Mortgages blog will keep you up to date with everything you need to know.