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Remortgage activity bounces back in April

The latest mortgage trends report from UK Finance has shown a surge in both homeowner and buy-to-let remortgages, which one expert described as ‘Blitz Spirit’.

UK Finance’s latest Mortgage Trends Update revealed there was strong growth in remortgaging in April 2018.

New homeowner mortgages were up 36 per cent and buy-to-let remortgages were up 32.4 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier.

James Tatch, analytics expert at UK Finance, said the figures showed mortgage lending operating in a way that the group had previously described as a two-speed market.

He said: “In this case house purchase is relatively slow (strong first-time buyer numbers offsetting continuing weak activity where homeowners are looking to move) whilst remortgaging is showing strong year-on-year increases.”

There were 40,800 remortgages in April, a 36 per cent increase on the same month a year ago.

Mr Tatch said the remortgaging activity was driven by a fear of coming rate hikes, along with a number of relatively attractive deals currently on the market.

The first-time buyer figures were particularly strong.

There were 26,700 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in the month, some 3.5 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier.

The £4.4bn of new lending in the month was 4.8 per cent more year-on-year, the figures showed.

The average first-time buyer is now borrowing 3.62 times their salary and getting 84.9 per cent of the purchase price of £167,000, UK Finance reported.

The average age of a first-time buyer is now 30 and he or she has a gross household income of £42,000.

Mike Scott, chief property analyst at estate agent Yopa, said that despite the slight increase in first-time buyer mortgage sizes, these mortgages are still relatively affordable.

He said: “The average first-time buyer now borrowing 3.62 times their salary and getting 84.9 per cent of the purchase price of £167,000.

“However, these mortgages are still quite affordable, with first-time buyers’ mortgage repayments averaging only 17.2 per cent of their household income, which is actually less than the 17.5 per cent average for all homemovers.

“The biggest obstacle remains the need to find £25,000 (on average) for the deposit.”

The picture on buy-to-let was more mixed.

Despite the strong growth in buy-to-let remortgages, which were up 32.4 per cent by number and 35.3 per cent by value than the same month the previous year, tax changes have prompted a slump in new lending.

There were 5,000 new buy-to-let house purchase mortgages completed in the month, some 5.7 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier.

By value this was £0.7bn of lending in the month, 12.5 per cent down year-on-year.

Mark Dyason, managing director of specialist property finance broker Thistle Finance, said: “We are seeing a particular surge in buy-to-let remortgages, especially among portfolio landlords.

“The fact that buy-to-let remortgages are up by a third compared to a year ago shows that those landlords still in the market are taking it seriously and still see a future in it.

Source: FT Adviser