First-time Buyer  

First-time buyer numbers up across UK

First-time buyer numbers up across UK

The number of first-time buyer mortgages taken out in the second quarter of this year has increased across every UK region when compared with last year.

Data from UK Finance, published today (August 20), showed there were 9,960 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in London in the second quarter of 2019 — 1.2 per cent more than in the same quarter last year.

About 2,810 first-time buyer mortgages completed in Northern Ireland during the three months to June, 4.1 per cent more than last year, while those in Scotland were up 3.5 per cent on last year at 9,160.

In Wales, the number of mortgages increased 6.3 per cent year-on-year to reach 4,080. The trade body does not publish separate figures for England.

The average first-time buyer did not differ too much region by region, with the average age for buying sitting between 31 and 33, the average loan to income ratio between 3.02 and 3.80 and mortgage repayments accounting for between 15.3 per cent and 17.6 per cent of monthly income.

However first-time buyers outside the capital had substantially higher loan to value mortgages. In London, the average LTV for the second quarter of 2019 was 67.4 per cent.

According to UK Finance, in Northern Ireland the average LTV was 79.6 per cent, while in Scotland it was 82.7 per cent and in Wales 82.8 per cent.

London fared worse outside of the first-time buyer market, however, as homemover mortgages dropped 3 per cent year-on-year to 6,240 and remortgages fell 9.5 per cent when compared with last year, the total sitting at 13,010 for Q2 2019.

According to UK Finance, this followed a period of strong annual growth in remortgaging in London during 2018.

But the picture is entirely different outside the capital, as homemover mortgages rose 4.7 per cent to 1,780 in Northern Ireland while remortgaging saw an increase of 16.5 per cent year-on-year.

Scotland also saw hefty increases, with homemover totals rising 6.4 per cent and remortgages up 15.3 per cent on last year, while 1.7 per cent more homemover mortgages and 7.7 per cent more remortgages completed in Wales in the three months to June 2019 than in the same period the year before.

John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, said the regional figures “painted a different picture” than overall stats and showed the market was not the “doom and gloom” one could have expected.

“I think this shows two things. Firstly, it reveals just how much London impacts the national figures, and that when you take the capital out of the stats, it is a very different picture. Secondly, it shows that perhaps it is not all doom and gloom as we have been led to believe over the past few months," he said. 

“When looked at on a quarterly basis - which you could argue reveals more of a longer term trend than monthly figures - activity is actually increasing, and that is great news for the housing market.”

imogen.tew@ft.com

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