A busy month for mortgages: homebuyers and movers hit record 50,000

 

Both new mortgages and remortgages are up year-on-year after a busy start to 2018, with the highest levels of homebuyer lending seen in more than a decade.

In February more than 50,000 mortgages were taken out across the UK, according to figures from UK Finance, with around 25,200 first-time buyers and 24,800 home-movers all taking out borrowing for their property purchases – the most active February seen since 2007. There were also 35,400 remortgages completed in the month, an 11.3% rise on 2017.

The total figures equates to a huge £4bn in total new lending, while remortgages amounted to £6bn.

With first-time buyer levels on the rise since stamp duty for properties under £300,000 was abolished for first-timers in November, which has provided a huge boost to mortgage levels, speculation that the Bank of England will up its base rate in May has also led to a rush as people try to get the best rates now.

Buyers and sellers are getting on with it

Buy-to-let landlord remortgages also saw an upturn annually to February to 14,100, which was 20.5% higher than the previous year, although new buy-to-let mortgages saw a fall of 8.8% to 5,200.

According to Jeremy Leaf, a London estate agent and former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the latest figures are encouraging, and highlight the fact that the UK’s housing market should not be written off.

“Buyers and sellers are showing, once again, that those prepared to negotiate hard are still getting on with their lives, albeit at slightly softer price levels” – Jeremy Leaf

Landlords are staying in the market

James Cameron, director of property management company Vesper Homes, said: “On the one hand, UK landlords have slowed down on making new purchases or stopped buying properties for investment purposes altogether. But in the main, they are keeping their current portfolios intact as opposed to selling up and risking not getting the price they want.

“On the other hand there is still a pool of investors who are cash-rich but looking at property investment opportunities over the next five years – particularly those with higher yields and low entry prices.”

He added: “Re-mortgaging figures are strong for landlords as they try to maximise the earning potential of their investments, with many landlords taking this opportunity to raise money.”

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A busy month for mortgages: homebuyers and movers hit record 50,000

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