22 Mar 2021
Advisers were sourcing furlough-friendly mortgages more than any other criteria in February, with more than 1,000 searches logged on Legal & General’s SmartrCriteria. The tool, which helps advisers quickly determine suitable mortgage lenders for their clients, also showed that search volumes continued to rise, increasing by 8% between January and February. The follows a 69% increase in January and suggests that activity in the mortgage market has remained strong in the opening months of 2021.
While lockdown restrictions are set to be eased, around 4.7 million individuals remain reliant on the Government’s furlough scheme. The continued focus of advisers on mortgages for furloughed borrowers follows a dramatic 230% rise in searches for these products between December 2020 and January 2021.
Legal & General’s data also showed a 27% increase in searches for lenders that would consider borrowers who had missed a mortgage repayment, reflecting the growing cohort of mortgage borrowers who have seen their finances negatively impacted by the crisis.
Furthermore, the findings revealed that rising house prices, stoked by strong market demand, could also be placing pressure on buyers to seek out more affordable routes onto the ladder. SmartrCriteria tracked a 60% increase in searches for joint borrower-sole proprietor mortgages. The data follows an 8.5% increase in the UK’s average house price last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.1
SmartrCriteria was launched by Legal & General on January 14, 2019 and has over 8000 registered advisers. The service is free to use whether an adviser is a member of the Club, or not.
Clare Beardmore, Head of Mortgage Transformation and Operations, Legal & General Mortgage Club: "The wide-ranging implications of COVID-19 are continuing to play out in the mortgage market and it’s clear that advisers are playing a critical role for borrowers. Not only are many focusing their efforts on finding lenders that meet the needs of those with more complex financial circumstances, including those on furlough, but they are increasingly supporting others with more affordable routes onto the ladder too.
SmartrCriteria is helping these intermediaries to efficiently source mortgages at a time where the market is incredibly busy and when a growing proportion of borrowers are needing specialist support. At Legal & General Mortgage Club we are committed to helping improve operational efficiency, and the continued development of tools like SmartrCriteria will support intermediaries in matching customers to products that best suit their needs."
Notes to editors
Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK's leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with over £1.4 trillion in total assets under management* of which a third is international. We also provide powerful asset origination capabilities. Together, these underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions: we are a leading international player in pension risk transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Through inclusive capitalism, we aim to build a better society by investing in long-term assets that benefit everyone.
*at 31 Dec 2021
Legal & General Insurance (LGI) has been offering life insurance cover since 1836 and is the UK’s number one individual life insurance provider. Our group protection business in the UK offers life insurance and income protection products to individuals through their employers and we offer term-life insurance in the US. We now have over 5.5 million UK life insurance customers, 1.8 million people in group protection schemes and approaching 1.3 million US term-life insurance policyholders. Here in LGI, we protect our customers and their loved ones throughout life and death.
(As of June 2021)