With the country still in ‘lock-down’, physical house-moves are virtually non-existent. But, if you have already found a property to buy and had an offer accepted, it may still be possible to progress a mortgage application pending a return to ‘normal circumstances’. It is also still possible to re-mortgage in many circumstances.
Physical valuations and surveys are not permitted to take place under social-distancing measures, but in many cases it may be possible to conduct a ‘desktop valuation’. A desktop valuation is completed by an independent valuer using publicly available information to assess the value of a home. This includes getting details about a property from the Land Registry and using online information to review any previous sales history. The final valuation figure will also consider the actual sale prices of similar properties in their area. Desktop valuations are completed by Registered Valuers that use a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) risk managed, data enabled Digital Valuation tool. This type of valuation will usually provide less information, and therefore is not always as accurate, than if the valuer was able to visit a property.
Lenders are still ‘open for business’, but due to the restriction on valuations, most have restricted their product offering to those customers that have a larger deposit (or equity) in a house. Typically, you would need a deposit equivalent to 20% of a property’s value in order to secure a mortgage at present.
If you are already a homeowner, now may be a good time to consider remortgaging, particularly if your mortgage is on your lender’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR). With the Bank of England interest rate at an all time low of 0.1%, this means there may be a window of opportunity to secure a competitive mortgage rate, although it is thought that the volume of new deals on offer could decrease as lenders contend with reductions in staffing levels caused by Coronavirus. Lenders may also limit the number of mortgage applications they may accept.
If you wish to discuss your existing or a new mortgage, we are on hand to assist as usual.