Affordabilty among FTBs ‘worsened’ in April

The latest figures released by the trade body for the lending market showed that the number of loans to FTBs rose 36.9 per cent year-on-year to April 2014, compared with April 2013, reaching a total of 25,500 loans, valued at £3.5bn.

Month-on-month, the number of loans to FTBs rose just 1 per cent from March to April, suggesting the pace of market activity could be slowing.

The level of affordability worsened fractionally in April according to the CML, with FTBs typically borrowing 3.42 times their gross income, compared to 3.41 in March. Typical loan size for FTBs was £121,500 in April – up from £118,750 in March – and represented the highest monthly average advance for FTBs on record.

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The data also revealed that total homeowner house purchase lending in April increased 6 per cent month-on-month, with a total of 53,200 loans advanced for house purchase, with the value rising 11 per cent to £8.8bn.

However, the total number of buy-to-let loans, totalling £2.2bn on 16,200 loans declined slightly month-on-month by 1 per cent in April.

Compared to April 2013, on the BTL front there was a 43 per cent increase in number of loans and a 57 per cent increase in overall value.

The figures came in the wake of the Bank of England reporting earlier this month that gross UK mortgage lending was 8 per cent higher in April at £16.5bn compared to March. Total lending was also 35 per cent higher in April 2014 than it was a year ago, when the figure stood at £12.2bn.

David Newnes, spokesman for LSL Property Services, said: “In May, a new calm permeated the market and we’ve seen evidence of sales and total house purchase lending slowing as we move towards summer. There are early signs that price growth is moderating. In London, for example, prices have started to fall at the very top end of the market as demand cools.”

Adviser view

Mark Harris, chief executive of London-based mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “With 6600 more FTBs in April compared with a year ago, the success of the Help to Buy scheme and willingness of lenders to offer high loan-to-values beyond it, is evident.

“Lending volumes continue to grow, albeit not at the frenetic pace witnessed at the end of last year.”