Mortgage approvals increase in December

Mortgage approvals increase in December

Mortgage approvals for December 2018 were up 7.8 per cent on the same month in 2017, according to research by chartered surveyor e.surv.

The company stated there were 66,390 mortgages approved during December 2018, compared with 61,039 for the same period in 2017.

Researchers stated there was an increase in the number of mortgage products offering loans at 95 per cent of a property's value during the year.

Richard Sexton, a director at e.surv, said the figures highlight the strength of the UK mortgage market, despite the Bank of England base rate increase back in August.

He said: "The mortgage market demonstrated its resilience with strong activity in most segments of the market.

"First-time buyers, remortgage customers and second steppers all jumped at the chance to bag a cheap mortgage rate while they last."

More than a quarter of all mortgages taken out in December (25.2 per cent) were by borrowers with a small deposit, the data showed, although this was slightly down on November, when borrowers with small deposits represented 25.9 per cent of the market.

Mr Sexton said: "Following the outstanding November figures for small deposit borrowers, some drop off was to be expected in December.

"Even so, almost 17,000 first-time buyers and other small deposit borrowers were able to get onto the housing ladder this month."

Across the UK, Yorkshire was the region that accounted for the highest percentage of small deposit lending, with 34.8 per cent of borrowers, followed by the north west (31 per cent) and Northern Ireland (29.2 per cent).

The e.surv report said the August base rate increase had acted as a reminder for many homeowners to begin their search for a new mortgage deal.

Tony Sutton, managing director of mortgage brokerage group Specialist Financial Services, said lenders have become more competitive as they seek to protect their market share.

Mr Sutton said: "There is a wider choice of products available, serving a broader range of people with more sensible underwriting decisions.

"Lenders are trying to maintain market share and have increased the terms they are willing to offer."

Mr Sutton said that the withdrawal of Fleet Mortgages from the market last week was not representative of the broader trend, with mortgage clients benefitting from more choice.