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Mortgage product numbers hit new high

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More mortgage products were on offer to consumers in February than at any time since the financial crisis, research has shown.

Broker firm Mortgage Advice Bureau found a total of 12,940 separate mortgage products were offered by lenders during the month.

This is the highest level seen since the recession and beats the previous record of 12,925 recorded in December 2014.

The mortgage index said this number was 18% higher than the same point a year ago – equivalent to 1,999 extra products – and was due to increased competition between lenders.

Of these additional products the vast majority (74%) were available through mortgage brokers and other intermediaries. For every single product launched through direct channels like branches and telephony systems three had been launched through brokers, it found.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said already strong competition between lenders had increased in the past year.

“Just six months ago it seemed that that low interest rates were experiencing a last hurrah,” he said.

“But with inflation also at record lows, the 0.5% base rate has sailed past its sixth anniversary unscathed and is continuing to tempt lenders into offering attractively priced deals.”

Murphy said with more complicated products being launched by banks and building societies, mortgage brokers were becoming more important.

“Product numbers continue to rise and changes in the market over the last year mean that lenders are increasingly leaning on brokers to match their products to suitable borrowers.”

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