This is according to a new report by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), which questioned brokers about their prospects during the first three months of 2021.
The latest survey by the trade association recorded a 14% increase in the average annual number of cases handled by intermediaries between the fourth quarter of 2020 (78) and the first quarter of 2021 (89).
This means that 96% of intermediaries are confident about the future of the mortgage industry. Another 97% reported being confident about the intermediate sector and 99% saw positive prospects for their own businesses.
The latest Bank of England data showed that gross lending on all mortgages increased to £ 81.1 billion, from £ 74.6 in the fourth quarter of 2020.
In the first quarter, IMLA reported that the business mix – the proportion of cases related to different types of mortgages – remained stable.
Two-thirds (66%) of the cases handled by consultants were for residential mortgages, another 28% related to buying-to-rent customers and 6% were specialists.
However, the average number of DIPs processed by consultants increased from 25 to 28 between the final three months of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.
The conversion rate from DIP to completion also increased compared to the previous quarter with 43% in 1Q 21 compared to 34% in 4Q 20.
After a significant drop in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the conversion rate from offer to completion increased dramatically from 65% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 75% in the first quarter of 2021.
The most recent results show that almost two-thirds of all requests resulted in completion between January and March 2021. In the first quarter of 2021, the rate reached 64%, compared with 68% in the first quarter of 2020.
Kate Davies, IMLA’s executive director said: “After a difficult period in the wake of the coronavirus crisis that led to the temporary closure of the housing market, it is pleasant to see such a positive start to 2021.
“Our results show that, after a stable recovery period, the activity levels of the consultants and the feeling about the prospects for the sector are now approaching levels never seen before the start of the pandemic.
“We also expect this high demand to continue throughout the year, with a combination of government support helping to sustain new purchases and an abundant year for product maturities, while also providing significant opportunities in the refinancing market.”