Remortgage 

Remortgaging levels in March dip

Remortgaging levels in March dip

The UK mortgage market showed signs of slightly softening remortgaging levels, and a small increase in lending to first-time buyers, in March.

This was according to UK Finance figures.

Separate Bank of England figures showed gross mortgage lending in the first quarter of 2018 was £6.1bn, up 3.4 per cent from £59bn in the same period in 2017.

There was £5.1bn of new lending to first-time buyers in the month, up 2 per cent year-on-year.

A total of 31,200 new first-time buyer mortgages were completed in the month, some 1.9 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier.

UK Finance said the average first-time buyer is 30-years-old and has a gross household income of £42,000.

Buy-to-let lending has decreased sharply after the introduction of new buy-to-let taxation rules.

There were 5,500 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages completed in the month, some 19.1 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier.

Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said "Remortgaging levels softened in March, after a busier than usual start to the year saw customers locking into attractive deals ahead of a potential interest rate rise.

"There has been relatively flat growth in lending to first-time buyers, reflecting recent Bank of England figures showing a fall in mortgage approvals.

"Meanwhile the buy-to-let market remains subdued, as recent tax and regulatory changes continue to have an impact on demand."

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former Rics residential chairman, said: "These figures are interesting because they show a bit of a push-me pull-you market.

‘Remortgaging, which we would have expected to be higher, has fallen whereas new business, which might have been higher, is not so impressive either.

"However, bearing in mind these numbers are for March so reflect buying decisions made at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, we wouldn’t really expect to see much dramatic change. The market is continuing its steady process without a major correction in sight one way or the other.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: "First-time buyer numbers continue to edge up, which is encouraging, although it is a modest increase.

"With lenders continuing to offer great rates at high loan-to-values, we would hope to see a continued increase in first-time buyers jumping on the property ladder, which suggests that affordability may still be an issue for many."

rosie.murray-west@ft.com

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