Alexa... find me a mortgage

Home owners making an initial mortgage search can now get "groundbreaking" help from Alexa, Amazon's voice-controlled virtual assistant.

By asking Alexa to "open UKMortgages", people can receive a list of potential mortgages which might suit them, based on their answers to a few questions, such as how much they want to borrow, how much the property is worth and whether they are a first-time buyer, moving house or re-mortgaging.

UKMortgages is an app which launched in 2012 and has been used more than two million times.

Now, an extension of the app - called Mortgage Skill - allows voice recognition, with Alexa responding to people's answers in seconds.

It will search through more than 10,000 mortgages from UKMortgages to provide details of products matching requirements.

As well as giving product details verbally, Alexa can also send a summary of the top fixed, variable and tracker mortgage results to the user's Alexa app.

Those behind the initiative described the use of mortgage data and technology as "groundbreaking".

By giving Alexa a postcode - or using the one registered for the device - it will also search through thousands of mortgage advisers and provide contact details of the nearest one and send a list of up to 10 local advisers to the Alexa app.

People wanting to go ahead and apply for a mortgage deal can then contact an adviser of their choosing or go directly to a lender themselves.

The app makes searches across the mortgage market, while the brokers listed have registered for free with UKMortgages.

UKMortgages was developed by Mortgage Brain Limited.

Formed in 1986, Mortgage Brain Limited is jointly owned by Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Virgin Money.

Mark Lofthouse, chief executive of UKMortgages, said: "A mortgage remains one of the single most important financial decisions many of us will make, and with the number of mortgages available, varying rates, payment options and set-up fees, making the right decision can quickly become very confusing.

"This groundbreaking Amazon Echo Mortgage Skill gives potential home buyers the opportunity to carry out the initial mortgage search and enquiry process at a time that suits them best, and then make contact with a local mortgage adviser to take the enquiry further."