Mortgage Brain has seen the volume of European Standardised Information Sheets (ESIS) generated through its sourcing systems surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time since COVID-19 struck in the UK.

ESIS volumes increased 1.7% last week and are now 1.5% higher than the nine-week average to 16 March.

Volumes have been trending up since the housing market began to reopen on 13 May, and have been within 7% of pre-pandemic levels for the last four consecutive weeks.

Mark Lofthouse, CEO Mortgage Brain -

Mortgage Brain: ESIS numbers return to pre-pandemic levels

Demand among consumers to purchase a home continues to be strong, with residential home mover ESIS at higher levels than those seen before the pandemic for nine straight weeks.

This difference has become more pronounced of late, as levels have been up by 10% on pre-pandemic numbers for the last five weeks.

For buy-to-let cases, purchase ESIS are at levels of around 7% above those seen pre-pandemic for a seventh straight week.

ESIS volumes for cases at 80% to 85% loan-to-value (LTV) have strengthened significantly, at around 9% above pre-pandemic levels for six weeks in a row. They now represent 22.5% of all ESIS produced.

However, difficulties remain for those borrowers with the smallest deposits, as cases at above 90% LTV account for just 0.9% of ESIS generated, down from 6.6% pre-pandemic.

Product numbers once again fell marginally last week, down by 0.6% on the previous week to 8,973.

However, product numbers remain on an upward trend, having increased by 20.8% from the low point of the week ending 12 April.

Mark Lofthouse (pictured), CEO at Mortgage Brain, said: “Just a few months ago it would have seemed incredible that ESIS volumes in the middle of the summer holiday season would surpass those seen in the pre-COVID world, and yet that is precisely what has happened.

“The way that the housing market, and demand from purchasers ‒ whether owner occupiers or landlords – has bounced back during this difficult time has been testament to the resilience of the market.

“While product numbers have improved significantly from their pandemic depths, they have dropped marginally for three straight weeks, highlighting the cautious approach lenders are continuing to adopt.

“We can only hope that as things continue to improve, more lenders return to the market to deliver products that meet the needs of those borrowers suffering from limited choice at the moment, particularly at the highest LTVs.

“Looking ahead, this looks like it is going to be an unusual summer for mortgages.

“Typically volumes reduce over the summer months and then pick up again in September and October but if the July trend continues fuelled by the pent up demand and stamp duty holiday it could result in high demand at the time when lender capacity is lower.”