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UK Finance: Gross mortgage lending increases in July

Gross mortgage lending across the residential market and mortgage approvals both rose in July, UK Finance’s Household Finance Update has found.

Gross mortgage lending across the residential market in July 2019 was £26.1bn, 2.9% higher than the same month in 2018 and the highest since March 2016.

Mortgage approvals for home purchase were 16.4% higher, remortgage approvals were 19.4% higher and approvals for other secured borrowing were 12.7% higher than the same month a year earlier.

Andrew Montlake, managing director of mortgage broker, Coreco, said: “July was our biggest month of the year by a distance and on this evidence we weren’t alone.

“Remortgages were the driving force of the rampant activity levels in July, with households taking advantage of the exceptionally competitive mortgage rates available.

“Lenders are awash with cash and borrowers are making hay while the sun shines.

“First time buyer numbers are also surging, especially among those funded by the Bank of Mum and Dad.

“July was the month when the odds of a no-deal Brexit got a lot shorter and this clearly incentivised people to act.

“Borrowers have become increasingly worried that lenders could easily pull down the shutters in the event of a disorderly Brexit and also increase their rates so they’re getting on with it.

“Similarly, a lot of prospective buyers are wary that house prices could bounce back quite sharply if no-deal proves to be a damp squib and the balance of power swings back to sellers.

“Many people have come to the conclusion that there is as much risk to the wait-and-see approach to Brexit as just getting on with it.”

There were 95,126 mortgages approved by the main high street banks in July 2019, the highest monthly total since July 2009 when the figure stood at 99,970.

Richard Pike, Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, added: “These latest figures from UK Finance are the most encouraging for a while.

“The statistics bear out the regional figures released last week, which showed that across every region, other than in London, mortgage approvals were up.

“Mind you, even in London first-time buyer numbers were up in line with the rest of the country.

“As we know the lending figures for July were for mortgages approved up to three months ago.

“It will be very interesting to see what the figures look like in September and October when the latest HMRC figures showed that property transactions fell considerably in July.”

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, said: “At the back end of the summer holidays, these figures are a nice jump into autumn, and a welcome contrast to the subdued data we have got used to seeing.

“High street banks are lending back at 2009 levels so are loosening their credit a little to encompass more borrowing.

“There is also more demand from people buying property, with home purchases also up, which is great news as it shows transactional flow is happening.”

By Michael Lloyd

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Mortgage approvals hit highest level so far this year

Mortgage lenders approved the highest number of home loans for first-time buyers and movers so far this year during June.

Data from banking trade body UK Finance shows there were 32,760 mortgage approvals for first-time buyers, up 6.1% between May and June 2019.

The number of approvals for home movers increased 9.6% on a monthly basis to 31,000.

However, the figures are down on last year, with first-time buyer approvals declining 1.5% annually and home movers seeing 3.5% fewer loans.

Buy-to-let approvals declined on a monthly and annual basis by 3.6%.

Commenting on the data, Richard Pike, sales and marketing director at Phoebus Software, said: “Given that the country has been in a state of flux for over three years it is hardly surprising that the figures year on year have dipped across the mortgage market sectors.

“When you consider that the mortgages in these June figures were more than likely for applications made in or around the original time we should have been leaving the EU, it is more surprising that the figures weren’t even lower.

“The buy-to-let figures are a concern, but as the next deadline for Brexit nears, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

“One way or another we will have a resolution and, despite the government’s best efforts to curb buy-to-let, a resolution should mean that investors that have been holding fire will know whether or not investing in property is once again a viable proposition.

“We may be a nation of home owners but, when buying a home is so expensive, the need for rental accommodation remains as important as ever.”

By MARC SHOFFMAN

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Home-buyer mortgage approvals at five-month high in June

The number of mortgage approvals being made to home-buyers jumped to a five-month high in June, Bank of England figures show.

But annual growth in consumer credit, which includes borrowing using credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans, slowed to its weakest level for more than five years.

Some 66,440 mortgages were approved for house purchase in June – the highest total since January, the Bank’s Money and Credit report showed.

Meanwhile, consumer credit increased by 5.5% annually in June, down from 5.7% in May, marking the weakest 12-month growth since April 2014.

The Bank said annual growth in consumer credit has fallen steadily since a peak in late 2016.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY Item Club, said: “Despite being at a five-month high of 66,440 in June, mortgage approvals were well in the 63,000 to 68,000 range that has broadly held since late 2016.

“They were also not that far above the average of 65,267 seen over the first half of 2019.

“June’s mortgage data tie in with the view that housing market activity got some help from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March, but the overall benefit has been relatively limited.

“Improved consumer purchasing power and robust employment growth has also recently been helpful for the housing market but latest developments have been somewhat mixed, with employment growth in particular showing signs of slowing.”

Commenting on the consumer credit figures, Mr Archer said households “have seemingly become relatively careful in their borrowing amid concerns over the economic outlook”.

He continued: “It is also evident that consumer credit growth has recently been limited by markedly weaker private car sales as this has reduced demand for car finance.

“Meanwhile, lenders have become more careful about advancing unsecured credit – the second quarter of 2019 saw lenders further reduce the amount of unsecured credit available to households and again tighten lending standards.”

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “Monetary indicators provide reassurance that the economy isn’t grinding to a halt ahead of the October Brexit deadline.”

By Vicky Shaw

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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UK mortgage approvals rise in June

The number of mortgages approved in the UK reached one of it’s highest levels in the past two years in June.

Last month the number of mortgages given the go-ahead for house purchases rose to 42,653 up from 42,407 in May and close to April’s two-year high of 42,792, according to data from UK Finance.

Analysts said the spike in approvals could be attributed to the UK avoiding crashing out of the EU at the end of March.

EY Item Club chief economic adviser Howard Archer said: “June’s mortgage data ties in with the view that housing market activity has received some help from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March, but the overall benefit has been relatively limited.

“Improved consumer purchasing power and robust employment growth have also recently been helpful for the housing market.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added: “Encouragingly, the number of mortgages for home purchase rose in June compared with the same month last year, despite all the continued uncertainty over Brexit.

“Hopefully, the installation of a new prime minister at number ten will effect a positive change for the wider economy and housing market, although it is still very early days.”

Meanwhile, credit card lending growth slowed in June. Net credit card linking contracted from £247m in May to £119m last month.

By Jess Clark

Source: City AM

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Mortgage lending down 4%

Gross mortgage lending in the UK fell by 4 per cent year-on-year in June, latest data has shown.

Figures from UK Finance, out today (July 24), showed that £21.9bn of lending across the residential mortgage market took place in June — 4 per cent less than in the same month last year.

High-street banks performed better than the rest of the market, according to the results, as gross mortgage lending from the big lenders only fell 1.1 per cent.

Mortgage approvals for house purchases increased by 2.9 per cent year-on-year as 48,539 consumers were approved in June.

This marked a slight drop from the 49,683 approvals in May but figures were still above average for the year.

Mortgage approvals — where a consumer is told they are eligible for a mortgage but is yet to actually borrow the money — are typically an indicator of how the future mortgage market will fare as these consumers are likely to go on to borrow the funds in the upcoming months.

Approvals for remortgages dropped slightly, by 1.4 per cent, to 29,415. Consumers remortgaging have bolstered the market in recent years and the number of remortgages is predicted to reach its peak later this year.

Steve Seal, director of sales and marketing at Bluestone Mortgages, said today’s figures didn’t show any “major jump” but that government schemes and attractive remortgage deals were continuing to appeal to borrowers.

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, said the high street banks’ uplift in home purchase approvals was positive but could be down to the more attractive deals lenders were pushing.

He added: “Deals are being done. A colleague recently sold his house in the north of England in two days and this wasn’t because it was priced too cheaply. 

“There are people who are willing to get on and buy when an opportunity presents itself.”

Mr Lewis also thought the new prime minister could look at tax and stamp duty to help the property market, noting there were “measures afoot” to help stimulate property sales.

Boris Johnson was announced as leader of the Conservative Party yesterday (July 23) and there have been reports that he would be open to reforming stamp duty.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Encouragingly, the number of mortgages for home purchase rose in June compared with the same month last year, despite all the continued uncertainty over Brexit. 

“Hopefully, the installation of a new prime minister at number 10 will affect positive change for the wider economy and housing market, although it is still very early days.”

Mr Harris added that swap rates continued to fall, with a number of lenders, including Nationwide, NatWest and Accord, cutting some mortgage rates in the past week. 

He thought this downward pressure on pricing was likely to continue as lenders competed for business.

By Imogen Tew

Source: FT Adviser

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Mortgage approvals down slightly in May

Mortgage approvals for house purchases, an indicator of future lending, fell back slightly from April to 65,400 in May, the Bank of England’s Money and Credit statistics has found.

Approvals remained broadly in line with the narrow range seen in previous years.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The number of mortgage approvals for house purchase, which indicate at what level future lending will be, fell back slightly in May but remain broadly in line with the narrow range seen in previous years.

“It shows that the mortgage market is trundling along quite steadily with no great shocks either way. This is reassuring as there is plenty of political and economic uncertainty, which is preying on people’s minds and creating a delay when it comes to making big decisions

“Lenders remain keen to lend and several have cut rates in recent weeks, so mortgage rates are likely to remain low for a while yet, further supporting the market.”

Net mortgage borrowing by households fell to £3.1bn in May, the smallest increase since April 2017. However, the annual growth rate for mortgage lending remained stable at 3.2%, and has now been around 3% since late 2016.

John Phillips, operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, added: “There is not a huge change here; net mortgage borrowing fell slightly, but the annual growth rate for mortgages has remained stable at 3.2%, which means it has now been steady at around 3% for almost three years.

“Approvals, however, were down for both house purchase and remortgaging, which could suggest that lending will fall over the next few months and growth may slow too.

“There is no doubt that it has been a funny old few years for the mortgage market. Brexit has obviously had – and is still having – an impact, but I don’t think it is the only factor at play.

“For many years now, borrowing costs have been very low, but wages have not been keeping pace with house prices, so while mortgages are affordable, deposits and stamp duty are not.

“Those who may have upsized in the past are now either remortgaging to borrow more and then extending, or just saving the money they would’ve used on stamp duty and investing it into their existing homes.”

Phillips said that if the government wants to get things moving again, it needs to do something about the cost of moving, in particular stamp duty.

He said: “People are simply not prepared to throw thousands of pounds that could be used to invest in a bigger home on stamp duty.

“Back in April, the House of Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision recommended changes to stamp duty because, they said it is ‘seriously distorting the market’ and I think they’re right. Until something is done about the crippling cost of stamp duty, the market will continue to struggle.”

The number of approvals for remortgaging fell in May, to 46,700.

Nick Chadbourne, chief executive of conveyancing solutions provider LMS, added: “Remortgage activity figures from the Bank of England show the market is resilient, buoyed by near record low interest rates and high product expiry rates in Q2 this year.”

“In fact, LMS’ latest remortgage snapshot shows that there was a spike in remortgage activity to 53,624 and almost half of those who remortgaged opted for a 5-year fixed rate deal.

“LMS’ data also shows 65% of borrowers expect an interest rate rise within the next year, so we expect the trend towards long-term fixed rate deals to continue throughout 2019.”

Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “The government’s Help to Buy scheme has improved affordability for first-time buyers, and with mortgage lenders increasingly offering 95% loan-to-value products, they have unparalleled access to the finance they need.

“The low interest rate environment has also encouraged existing homeowners to remortgage onto longer fixed-term products – giving them certainty over their future repayment costs.”

By Michael Lloyd

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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UK property market: Mortgage approvals dip from 26-month April high

The number of residential mortgages approved by banks dipped last month, easing back from a 26-month high in April but remaining above the monthly average.

Seasonally adjusted figures show that banks in Britain approved 42,384 house purchase mortgages in May, falling from roughly 42,900 in April but beating the consensus of 41,000.

The actual number of mortgages for home purchase approved by the main high street banks in May 2019 was also 9.1 per cent higher than in the same month in 2018, marking the highest annual level since June 2016.

According to UK Finance, which released the figures this morning, gross mortgage lending across the residential market in May 2019 was £21.9bn, falling 0.4 per cent compared with the same month in 2018.

“May’s mortgage approvals data support the view that housing market activity may well have got at least some temporary support from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March. It may very well also be that the housing market has benefited from recent improved consumer purchasing power and robust employment growth,” said Howard Archer, chief economic advisor at the EY ITEM Club.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The increase in mortgages for home purchase, rising to the highest level in three years, is hugely encouraging when you consider the political uncertainty which is causing many people to put decisions to move on hold.”

He added: “It suggests a much more resilient market than one might expect, and once a decision is made over Brexit, one way or another, we are likely to see a further uptick in transactions as pent-up demand is released.”

By Sebastian McCarthy

Source: City AM

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Mortgage approvals tick up in April

Mortgage approvals — a leading indicator of mortgage activity and future lending — ticked up in April, according to new data from the Bank of England.

The BoE’s Money and Credit report, published today (May 31), showed the number of mortgage approvals for house purchase rose to about 66,300 in April — up slightly from the 62,559 measured for March.

Mortgage approvals show how many new loans banks have approved and that could be drawn, so capture the early stages of taking out secured lending against a property.

Therefore, they are a key indicator of current market activity and potential future lending.

However the number of approvals for remortgaging was broadly unchanged at around 49,400.

This is a turn in the market, as data released by UK Finance last month showed the number of people getting approved to remortgage increased by 11.1 per cent year-on-year in March and the number of people opting to remortgage is expected to reach a peak later this year.

The bank’s data also showed net mortgage borrowing remained strong for the second month in a row, totalling £4.3bn in April compared with the six-month average of £3.8bn.

The findings showed the annual growth rate of mortgage lending remained unchanged at 3.3 per cent, consistent with the level the market has seen since August last year.

Andrew Montlake, director of mortgage broker, Coreco, said: “Today’s buyer is spoilt rotten. Mortgage rates are obscenely low and, in the majority of cases, buyers are calling all the shots.”

Mr Montlake added that while the passing of the March Brexit deadline will have spurred some into action in April, a broader Brexit apathy was becoming stronger by the day.

He said: “April was the month when activity levels for brokers started to pick up and this was confirmed in the Bank’s latest data.

“People are increasingly of the view that, even if prices fall in the short-term following a potential no-deal Brexit, in the medium-term they will reap the benefits.”

He went on to say that while remortgages had been driving activity for some time, there had been a definitive pick-up in purchases over the past two months.

Richard Pike, marketing director at lending software firm Phoebus, agreed that remortgaging had played a big part in holding up the mortgage market over the past couple of years but said today’s figures showed it was levelling out.

He said: “The trend of people taking advantage of the stamp duty relief to move their current deals will have come to an end and we could see another uptick in the remortgaging figures next month.

“With household debt rising consistently, remortgaging to a better, less expensive deal is one quick way to reduce household spend and even consolidate some debt.

“The number of approvals for house purchase increased, which is a good sign for the whole market. As lenders offer better and better rates and deals, it is a good time for people to move up, or down, the ladder.”

By Imogen Tew

Source: FT Adviser

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Mortgage and business lending rises in April

The level of mortgage lending in the UK rose last month in a sign that the passing of the original Brexit deadline in March has eased fears, according to the Bank of England.

Net mortgage borrowing in April was £4.3 billion with the number of mortgage approvals rising from 49,400 in March to 66,300 last month. Over the previous six months, the average was £3.8 billion.

There were also glimmers of improvements in consumer confidence, with the amount borrowed for goods and services rising to £0.9 billion in April, compared with £0.5 billion in March.

However, the Bank of England pointed out that it was still below the £1.5 billion average seen between January 2016 and June 2018.

Credit card lending fell slightly to £0.2 billion in the period, reversing a boost in March.

Andrew Montlake, director of the UK-wide mortgage broker, Coreco, said that the boost since the passing of the original Brexit deadline could be short-lived.

He explained: “While the passing of the March 29 Brexit deadline will have spurred some into action in April, a broader Brexit apathy is becoming stronger by the day.”

In business lending, the amounts borrowed from UK banks and financial markets increased by £5.7 billion in April, with amount handed out by banks alone rising £4.4 billion.

However, the increase was mainly due to big loans to the manufacturing industry.

Mark Collings, chief commercial officer at debt finance platform CODE Investing, explained: “Despite a continuation of what the Bank’s governor Mark Carney has described as ‘Brexit Fog’, it’s encouraging to see that overall bank lending to business picked up in April.

“The passing of the March 29 Brexit deadline, with all its inherent symbolism, appears to have made some businesses more bullish.

“Drill down into the detail, however, and large manufacturing firms account for most of this increase.”

By Simon Neville

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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Mortgage approvals increase but gross lending falls

The number of mortgage approvals for home purchases and remortgages increased in April, according to new figures from UK Finance.

Data published today revealed approvals by the main high street banks were 5.4% higher in April 2019 than in the same month of the previous year.

For home purchases, this figure was 8.6% more year-on-year and for remortgages it was 2.2% higher than in April 2018.

In the same period gross mortgage lending in the residential market was £20.3 billion, which was a fall of 1.4% year-on-year.

John Goodall, CEO of Landbay, said: “Mortgage lending remained subdued, and reflected the wider challenges facing the housing market.

“Lenders are having to push down mortgage rates for customers even as funding costs begin to rise, which has led to banks like Tesco bowing out of the market altogether.”

He added that while prices had started to stabilise, until there was clarity on the current political situation it was unlikely there would be any drastic rise in confidence, and subsequently, lending.

Meanwhile, Richard Pike, sales and marketing director of Phoebus Software, said the correlation between the gross mortgage lending figures, which were down, and the number of approvals, which were up across the board, was quite telling.

He added: “As house prices fall, especially in London and the south east, and house buyers also look farther afield into more affordable areas, this gap is only likely to widen.

It is, however, encouraging to see the increase in approvals for home purchase, which does show that people have had enough of sitting on their hands and are making their move.”

Product transfers

UK Finance also revealed 290,000 homeowners switched product with their existing provider in the first quarter of 2019, a decrease of 1.7% year-on-year.

In terms of value, it said this represented £39.2 billion of mortgage debt refinanced internally, which was an increase of 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year.

According to UK Finance, of the total number of product transfers in Q1 of 2019, 161,100 were on an advised basis – a rise of 8.6% year-on-year. These were worth £22.7 billion, an increase 15.3% year-on-year.

Execution-only product transfers went down by 12.1% year-on-year, to 128,900. These were worth £16.5 billion, a decrease of 11.8% compared to the same period last year.

By Kate Saines

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette