Nearly 800 deals cut from market: Moneyfacts

The number of products on the market has fallen by nearly 800 over the past week as short-staffed lenders have scaled back lending to cope with the coronavirus crisis and calls from anxious borrowers.
Data from Moneyfacts shows that a week ago there were 5,211 residential mortgages on the market, but today this had shrunk to 4,426 as major lenders withdrew scores of deals.
Barclays announced yesterday that it was withdrawing more than 60 products – representing two-thirds of its range.
The bank is also limiting lending volumes to a set amount every day, which is available to book from 10am.
Today lenders such as Vida and Together put lending on hold, while West Brom withdrew its whole range to focus on essential services, with plans to relaunch a smaller selection of deals.
Santander repriced its trackers and TSB also withdrew deals.
Lenders say they have been struggling with office closures, staff shortages and social distancing rules mean that cases requiring face-to-face valuations have been put on hold.
This means only those lenders with the capacity to do desktop valuations can proceed with cases and even in these instances only low-risk business is likely to be approved.
Prolific Mortgage Finance managing director Lea Karasavvas says: “We are seeing the market change on almost an hourly basis following the recent reductions in the Base Rate. 
“Natwest have followed the actions of Nationwide previously by withdrawing all tracker products but I would expect them to re-enter the market with increased margins above base. 
“This, I am sure is a blueprint of what is to come from others.
“What is more concerning is the deluge of emails from lenders now pausing all physical valuation requests as we are in dire need of a fix here. 
“While lenders’ insurance will only allow a certain number of automated valuations at present, we need an urgent solution to the issue or the purchase market will be in a state of flux until this can be resolved. 
“I know lenders are looking at ways to combat this at present, but as brokers the amount of texts/emails regarding the inability to carry out valuations for the foreseeable future, is concerning.”
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