Remortgage 

Mortgage approvals hit 16-month high

Mortgage approvals hit 16-month high

The number of first-time buyer mortgages being approved has increased across all UK regions, figures from UK Finance have shown.

UK Finance's regional lending trends data show there were 11,000 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in London in the fourth quarter of 2018, up 5.8 per cent on the same quarter in 2017.

This amounted to £3.2bn of new lending, which was up 7.4 per cent year-on-year.

In 2018, there were 42,800 new first-time buyer mortgages in London, up 0.5 per cent year-on-year.

This equated to £12.6bn of new lending, an increase of 2.6 per cent from 2017. 

In Northern Ireland, there were 2,900 (£0.31bn) new first-time buyer mortgages completed in the period, up 11.5 per cent year-on-year, while for the full year there were 10,500 new first-time buyer mortgages, 9.4 per cent more than in 2017.

This was the highest annual number of such mortgage completions in Northern Ireland since 2004, when the figure stood at 10,600.

Scotland completed 9,000 (£1.07bn) new first-time buyer mortgages in the fourth quarter of last year, up 5.9 per cent from the same period in 2017.

However, Scotland saw a drop in those mortgages for the full year at 34,100, 3.1 per cent less than in the whole of 2017.

In Wales, there were 4,800 (£0.58bn) new first-time buyer mortgages completed in the last three months of 2018, 4.3 per cent more year-on-year.

In the whole of 2018 there were 16,800 new first-time buyer mortgages, up 1.2 per cent from 2017, making this the highest annual number in Wales since 2006 when the figure stood at 16,900.

The survey also looked at new homemover mortgages and remortgages.

In London, there were 7,400 (£3.1bn) new homemover mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2018, down 1.3 per cent year-on year, while the number of remortgages was up 2.7 per cent at 15,000 (£4.6bn).

For the full year, there were 60,400 new homeowner remortgages, up 6.2 per cent from 2017, representing the highest annual number of remortgages in London since 2008 when the figure stood at 111,900.

In Northern Ireland, 1,900 (£0.26bn) new homemover mortgages were completed in the last quarter of 2018, a 5.6 per cent increase year-on-year.

A total of 2,600 new homeowner remortgages were completed in the fourth quarter, up 18.2 per cent year-on-year.

Scotland saw 9,000 (£1.46bn) new homemover mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2018, up 2.3 per cent year-on-year, although the full year 2018 figure was down 0.9 per cent from 2017 at 34,300.

There were 9,600 (£1.21bn) new Scottish homeowner remortgages in the fourth quarter, an increase of 14.3 per cent year-on-year.

New homemover mortgages in Wales stood at 4,400 (£0.69bn), up 2.3 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2017, while new Welsh homeowner remortgages were 5,400 (£0.67bn) in the fourth quarter, up a huge 22.7 per cent year-on-year.

Alastair McKee, managing director of One77 Mortgages, said: "Although current conditions are far from ideal, a market slowdown caused by wider economic and political uncertainty seems to have bolstered the number of first-time buyers entering the market.

"This is most prevalent in London where house price growth has remained almost static since the Brexit vote and the continued affordability of mortgage products has also helped those attempting that first foot on the ladder to take the plunge."