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Remortgaging levels plummeted by 20% in October following a year of strong growth, the latest figures from UK Finance have revealed.

According to the Mortgage Trends Update for October, new remortgages with additional borrowing dropped off by 20.8% compared to the same month in 2018, with 18,910 being completed.

Meanwhile pound-for-pound remortgages, without additional borrowing, also plunged by 20% in October when 20,660 of these completions were recorded.

First-time buyer mortgages were more buoyant, with numbers up by 2.8% to 32,260 and there were also 33,370 home mover mortgages, which was up 4.2% when compared to the same month a year earlier.

In the buy-to-let market, figures were down slightly in October compared to the same month in the previous year. UK Finance reported there were 6,600 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages, a dip of 1.5%.

Meanwhile, 16,200 buy-to-let remortgages were completed, down by 2.4% compared to October 2018.

Resilient market

Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, described today’s figures as ‘mixed’ but pointed out they came at the end of a resilient year for the mortgage market.

He revealed the mortgage club had seen completion levels reach an all-time high in October. And he added: “Thousands of first-time buyers are continuing to take advantage of competitive rates to make the move into homeownership.”

Meanwhile, Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the fall in remortgaging numbers suggested many of those borrowers who needed to refinance had already done so and taken advantage of the cheap rates available.

He added: “First-time buyers continue to prop up the housing market with their numbers continuing to grow.

“Home mover numbers also edged up as those buyers brave enough to ignore political and economic headwinds got on with the business of moving.”

Many in the industry agreed the mortgage sector had clearly braved the Brexit uncertainty in October. They were keen to offer their views on how things would progress now there was more clarity following the Tory win in the general election.

Daniel Hegarty, founder and CEO of Habito, said its own analysis revealed online searches for getting a mortgage in the UK were up 113% over last Saturday and Sunday combined, compared to the same period in the previous week.

He added: “We’ll wait to see if this initial surge of online interest is backed up with more mortgage submissions and an increase in home-buying activity in early 2020. But, the very early signs look positive.”

By Kate Saines

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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