Mortgages returning as lenders adapt to lockdown

UK's top lenders reintroducing their mortgage offers as they find ways to operate during Covid-19 lockdown

Mortgage application
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As the UK remains in extended lockdown, mortgage lenders are beginning to reintroduce loan offers to the property market. This will be welcome news for prospective property buyers who were stuck in limbo, unable to apply for most mortgages as banks stopped approving loans on higher than 75 LTV (loan to value ratio).

Halifax and Nationwide are both now accepting mortgage applications at 85 per cent LTV, meaning you need a 15 per cent deposit on the property you want to buy. This is a welcome change from the 75 LTV that has been standard with lenders since the lockdown began.

Other lenders have begun to loosen restrictions on maximum loan sizes – Santander most prominent among them, increasing the loan limit to £500,000 from £300,000.

And – as many lenders are increasingly turning to virtual property valuations to find a way around the lockdown restrictions, it's looking like the UK mortgage market will finally be exiting its 'stand-by' mode and offering mortgages, including to first-time buyers.

Will we see tighter approval criteria? It's possible; in fact, it's highly likely that lenders will now want to know more about any changes in applicants' incomes due to Covid-19 and their employment prospects for the rest of 2020. This does not mean that you will automatically be refused by a lender if you have been affected, but it is worth doing your own calculations before applying.

We've teamed up with online mortgage expert Habito – use their free online mortgage calculator below to see how much you could borrow and how much your repayments would be.