98% of Brits could get mortgages but are reluctant to do so

14 August 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
The UK property market remains stagnant not because people are uniformly unable to secure a mortgage deal, but because people are too wary to sell or buy in the current market uncertainty.

According to HSBC, Britons are not experiencing a credit crunch so much as a 'confidence crunch', which is not affecting their ability to get a mortgage, but their confidence in the fact that they can get a good deal on a house sale or purchase.

As many as 98 per cent of potential housebuyers would have no problem in securing a mortgage, HSBC's research claims, but the property market has continued to grind to a halt because people expect house prices to keep falling and assume that they will not be able to get a mortgage.

The study found that 10 per cent of Brits are eager to move house or to buy their first home but are opting to put it off for at least six months.

When asked why they made this decision, just two per cent said that it was because they couldn't get a mortgage; 37 per cent said it was because they're waiting to see if prices fall further, and 36 per cent said it's because they are concerned about not being able to afford a mortgage amid current economic conditions and the rising cost of living.

"There is a perception at present that banks are not offering mortgages. In fact, our latest study suggests that access to finance is not a major issue." said Martijn van der Heijden, HSBC's UK head of mortgages. "Instead, many buyers are taking a wait and see attitude, naturally some feel uncomfortable buying a home which may be worth less in six month's time.

"Almost one in four buyers think they might struggle to get a mortgage, however just one in fifty has actually given up on their purchase due to failing to find a suitable loan. Anyone keen to buy a home still has an extensive range of mortgage options" he added.

The study confirmed what everyone already knew about potential first time buyer mortgage customers, which is that they are steering clear of the property market for now, with first time buyers accounting for almost a quarter of those delaying a property purchase being.

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