5 Oct 2020

Why Mortgage Lenders are Experiencing Delays


Mortgage lenders are taking longer than usual to handle applications in the current climate, which is something potential buyers should know if they’re looking to buy soon.

Clearly it’s best to get your application in as early as possible, while ideally it’s good to get a mortgage agreement in principle on the table before you bid to buy a property.

Major lenders

At the time of writing Santander is taking 21.3 working days to take residential applications to offer, which is surely resulting in some nail-biting times for potential buyers.

With Nationwide residential cases are taking even longer, at 23 days for standard cases and a shocking 34 days for referred.

At NatWest it currently takes 22 days for purchase and 21 days for remortgage offers.


It’s even worse if you’re after a buy-to-let mortgage.

It’s not uncommon for it to take longer for lenders to handle buy-to-let applications, as surveyors may have the complications of entering a tenanted property to obtain the rent and property values.

At the time of writing Santander is taking 26.2 working days for buy-to-let applications to come to offer. 

For The Mortgage Works (Nationwide’s buy-to-let branch) it takes 25 days for a standard buy-to-let, and 34 days for both portfolio and limited company applications.


Like many businesses, lenders are blaming Covid-19 on delays to their services.

One claimed that the pandemic has increased the complexity involved with some cases. 

You have to suppose the sheer number of borrowers claiming government support, plus the uncertainty around people’s employment must be having an impact.

The pandemic also means lots of businesses are working with skeleton staff, which makes it harder to work to usual timeframes.

Busy times

Of course, as we’ve discussed previously, the market is in an extremely busy state.

The stamp duty holiday has motived some people to move house and invest in property, though it’s unlikely to have changed much for the majority of first-time buyers.

The market was always likely to rebound after the worst of the lockdown ended due to pent up demand. 

The pandemic saw months of people not being able to get on with their life plans, so many were forced to wait it out until they could buy.

Slow market

Obviously it’s not ideal for buyers to wait longer to get a mortgage offer than usual.

With the current situation however it pays to be organised. 

It’s good to see a mortgage broker well in advance of looking for a property and making an offer, so they can tell you what’s available and whether you’re likely to be accepted. 

If you put in your mortgage application before other buyers that puts you in front of them in the queue, so buying your chosen property is less likely to be scuppered at an advanced stage by an irritating delay.

Related Mortgage Articles


First-Time Buyers Guide For Contractor Mortgages

First Time Buyer Mortgages for Contractors: How To get one. We are experts in helping contractors get on the property ladder.

Read Story

Contractor Mortgage Advice for Buying Your Second Home

If you’re a contractor and thinking about buying a second property, there are a number of factors to consider.

Read Story

First-Time buyers: The challenges and Solutions in the Current Climate

First-time buyers have to cope with a tightening in mortgage criteria, combined with high house prices and increased competition from other buyers.

Read Story

COVID-19 update:

We're open and ready to provide mortgage advice!