First-time buyer mortgage completions were up across the UK during the first three months of 2019, according to the latest findings from UK Finance.
The trade body’s regional mortgage trends, published yesterday (May 22), showed the number of first-time buyer mortgage completions had increased throughout the first quarter of this year in London, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales when compared with the same period last year.
Northern Ireland had the highest increase in first-time buyer numbers as 2,440 new mortgages completed during the first quarter — 11.4 per cent more year-on-year — with Scotland the next best with a 4.5 per cent increase.
In the capital, the number of completed first mortgages rose 1.6 per cent to 9,410, while Wales saw 1.2 per cent more new home owners in the first three months of this year.
However, data published by the trade body last week showed first-time buyer numbers dropped towards the end of the quarter as numbers were down 2.4 per cent in March when compared with the previous year.
First-time buyers in London needed much larger deposits on average however, with the average loan to value for a new buyer in the capital sitting at 65.6 per cent.
By comparison, on average borrowers in Wales needed a 17 per cent deposit, Northern Ireland a 21 per cent deposit and Scotland a 19 per cent deposit.
First-time buyers outside the capital also beat Londoners to the ‘first-home’ milestone by two years, as the average age was 33 in London but 31 elsewhere.
Keith Haggart, managing director of lifetime mortgage provider Responsible Lending, said: "It’s still business as usual for the capital’s first-time buyers, as they continue to build a name for themselves as one of the most resolute and economically resilient groups of buyers in the market over the past couple of years.
"The increased activity we’re seeing from them in London may look modest, but set against the pretty dramatic decline in home mover mortgages, their determination to transact looks positively sprightly."
The changes in the home-mover and remortgage markets differed depending on region.
In London, 5,980 new home-mover mortgages were completed — 3.7 per cent fewer than the same quarter in 2018 — while remortgages dropped 1.3 per cent to 14,170.
UK Finance said this followed a period of strong growth in remortgaging throughout 2018.
Although Northern Ireland figures for home-movers dropped slightly by 0.7 per cent, the country saw the highest level of remortgaging in a decade with 2,820 homeowners opting to remortgage their property — 24.8 per cent up on the first three months of 2018.
Scotland also saw a booming remortgage market as 18.8 per cent more people remortgaged in Q1 2019 when compared to Q1 2018 — also the highest level since 2009 — while their homemover market also grew with 6.6 per cent more borrowers moving home.
The number of consumers moving home or looking to remortgage stayed steady in Wales when compared to last year’s figures.
Around 3,140 home-mover mortgages were completed and 4,810 borrowers opted to remortgage, up 1 per cent and down 0.2 per cent respectively.