The Aston Mead estate agency says “unnecessarily restrictive mortgage criteria" have caused the number of home loans to drop sharply in the first quarter of 2015 - with the volume of transactions falling almost as much across the industry.
The latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders indicate that there has been a sluggish start to the year, with mortgage lending for the first quarter down 12 per cent on the previous three months.
The National Association of Estate Agents agrees, saying that offers are now taking an average of 50 days before they are issued.
Aston Mead managing director Charles Hesse says that for a vendor to have to wait for over seven weeks before their buyer receives a mortgage offer is “simply ludicrous” and “the single biggest cause of the drop in the number of buyers out there.”
Hesse says that while it is important to ensure that mortgages are affordable “the current system is so draconian that it’s preventing some perfectly eligible people from getting a mortgage at all.”
He adds: “It’s not as if the market was flooded with repossessed properties – even at the height of the recession.”
Hesse says mortgage companies should introduce a more tailored approach to lending, better suited to the wide range of applicants.
“For older buyers in particular, not to be able to include assets and savings in their assessment - other than any rental income - is patently absurd. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Unless changes are made, the next generation is going to be saddled with this problem too” he claims.