Countrywide applications drop 18%

Mortgage applications at Countrywide fell 18% in April, largely wiping out the gains seen in March when the level of applications rose by 20%.

Countrywide says the slowdown in the number of applications was typical for April, and blames public holidays and school breaks for the drop in applications.

The group says this was made worse by travel disruptions and the lead-up to the election.

Based on data from over 700 mortgage consultants, applications grew 6% on a year-on-year basis.

The average interest rate of Countrywide’s top 10 mortgage applications fell by 0.08% from March to 4.57%.

The average deposit was 20%, 1% less than in March.

Some 60% of Countrywide customers opted for a fixed rate deal in April, compared to 61% the previous month.

The product split between fixed and trackers represents a huge shift since since April 2009, when trackers accounted for only 3% of applications compared to 40% currently.

Fixed rate deals made up 70% of the remortgage deals through Countrywide, while for buy-to-let mortgages trackers represented 48%.

Grenville Turner, group chief executive at Countrywide, says: “April is traditionally a quieter month with school breaks and bank holidays affecting market activity.

“What we’ve experienced has followed the typical pattern of recent years.

“However, the contrast between applications in March and April shows how fragile any market recovery can be.

“That said in April we saw one of our best weeks for mortgage appointments in 2010, which suggests an improvement  in buyer interest during May and June.”