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Following a drop of 23% between March and April, due to a sharp fall at the start of April and a subsequent plateau at subdued levels, the volume of remortgage instructions has increased by 11.8% between the weeks commencing 20 and 27 April.

Remortgage completions remained flat through to the end of April, falling 1% compared to March volumes.

There was a significant spike in completions on the first working day of May, outstripping the performance in each of the last two months, as many early repayment charges (ERCs) expired.

Completions on the first working day increased by 63.7% from 1 April, and by 74% from 2 march.

Completions were also 8% higher than 1 May last year.

Remortgage pipeline numbers at the end of April decreased by 2.5% from the end of March.

Instructions exceeded cancellations and completions at the beginning of April, but this trend reversed through the month as cancellations slowly increased, completions remained strong and instructions were below seasonal averages.

This is a usual trend over the Easter period and is comparable to 2019 figures.

Remortgage cancellation levels slowed in the second half of April, dropping by 18.7% from the week commencing 20 April to the week commencing 27 April.

However, April still ended with a cancellation rate of 7.11%, 1.27% higher than March.

This led to a 31% increase in the raw number of cancelled transactions from March to April.

April 2020’s cancellation rate was 2.58% higher than April 2019, equating to an increase of 28.8% in the raw number of cancelled transactions.

Nick Chadbourne (pictured), CEO of LMS, said: “The remortgage market had a flying start to May, with a sizeable increase in completions across the first two working days of the month.

“Performance far exceeded both March and April, which clearly shows the market is working well.

“There’s definitely still work to be done on the processing of more complex cases around witnessing documents and validating ID.

“This is something we need the whole industry to collaborate on if we are to find solutions that ensure all customers are serviced, but overall there are hugely encouraging indications that the industry is coping incredibly well.

“Net numbers are set to be comparable with 2019, and it’s pleasing to see the continuation of normal seasonal trends.

“This is such a positive sign after the initial shock of lockdown, and small variations can be expected in the remortgage market, so slight falls in some areas aren’t cause for alarm.

“Cancellation rates need to be monitored but at this stage are not materially impacting the overall market.

“Completion numbers show that the market remains in good shape, with FAR conveyancing firms continuing business as usual and the hard work across the industry paying off.

“If short-term cancellations and a potential medium-term economic shock can be managed, we’re optimistic that the market will remain strong as we move towards the summer.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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