Mortgage hunters go for brands

Brokers are increasingly popular with younger homeowners

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The Independent Online

Consumer websites and brokers are becoming increasingly important when people are looking for the right mortgage, according to a study by Wriglesworth which argues that brand reputations are even more influential than professional recommendations.

Respecting or trusting their mortgage lender’s brand is more important to people than the recommendation of their adviser. Brand perception is a deciding factor for more than a third of aspiring and current homeowners compared with a quarter who are guided by professional advice.

Only interest rates (74 per cent) and product fees (46 per cent) are bigger priorities than a mortgage lender’s reputation. Branding is considered more important than fitting a lender’s criteria (30 per cent), the ease of the application process (28 per cent), an existing relationship with the lender (18 per cent) or a recommendation from a consumer website (15 per cent).

Male homeowners are slightly more likely than female ones to use a broker, while women are more likely than men to speak to their existing bank (39 per cent as against 34 per cent of men).

Brokers are increasingly popular with younger homeowners. Over half aged 18-39 used a broker for their most recent house purchase (52 per cent compared to 33 per cent aged 40 or over). They are also more likely to use consumer websites (27 per cent vs 9  per cent aged 40+).

John Wriglesworth, Chief Executive of The Wriglesworth Consultancy, said: "In a growing market buoyed by government funding and driven by consumer interest, the respect of a lender’s brand is absolutely vital to shaping people’s choice of mortgage products.

"Rates, fees and offers will always be the first thing borrowers look at when taking out a mortgage, but beyond the numbers, it is clearly important for them to have confidence in their lender before entering into a relationship."

Using data from more than 500 brokers and 800 estate agents, figures from the Mortgage Advice Bureau show that while more than nine in ten homebuyers preferred fixed deals in August this was down by 1 per cent from July and the lowest since November 2012.