As competition between lenders intensifies, the mortgage market could be described as a battlefield as one lender retreats, and another drives forward to increase its market share.
HSBC has announced plans to expand its share of the mortgage market by lending homeowners an extra £35bn. The lender currently holds about 7% of the market, but this increased lending availability will increase its share to 11%, as it strives to become one of the major players in the UK mortgage market.
According to UK Finance, currently, Lloyds Banking Group holds a 20% share of the market, Nationwide 13% and Santander UK approximately 11%. HSBC’s move has been seen by rivals as an aggressive push into the market that will narrow profit margins even further in an already pressurised marketplace.
Lloyds Banking Group buys Tesco mortgage book
However, with increased competition comes losses and Tesco has sold its mortgage book to Lloyds Banking Group in a £3.8 billion deal. Tesco Bank announced its decision to stop new mortgage lending in May citing ‘challenging market conditions’ for limiting profitable growth over the past few years. All 23,000 Tesco mortgage customers will be transferred to Halifax, and Tesco Bank has confirmed that it is business as usual until 27th September 2019 for existing customers.
Buoyant housing market
According to the Bank of England, mortgage approvals for house purchases hit a two-year high in July, an increase of 1.2% on a monthly basis and the highest level since July 2017. This is echoed by UK Finance data which shows gross mortgage lending in the UK in July was 2.9% higher than the same time a year ago and its highest since March 2016.
Lenders might be feeling the pressure as competition intensifies, but mortgage borrowers can revel in the array of incentives, including cashback, free valuations and legal fees, available to them.