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First-time buyer numbers up in October but re-mortgage activity falls sharply

The number of people getting on the property ladder was higher in October than a year earlier, but re-mortgaging levels fell sharply, figures from a trade association show.

Some 32,260 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in October 2019, 2.8% more than in the same month in 2018, UK Finance said.

There were also signs of increased activity among existing home owners who were moving properties.

There were 33,370 home-mover mortgages completed in October 2019, 4.2% more than in October 2018.

Meanwhile, there were 18,910 new re-mortgages where extra money was borrowed – down by around a fifth (20.8%) on a year earlier.

For these re-mortgages, the average additional amount borrowed in October was £51,000.

There were 20,660 new “pound-for-pound” re-mortgages with no additional borrowing – 20% fewer than in October 2018.

UK Finance said the fall in re-mortgage activity follows a strong period of growth in September.

Looking at lending to landlords, UK Finance said 6,600 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages were completed in October 2019, 1.5% fewer than a year earlier.

There were 16,200 remortgages in the buy-to-let sector, 2.4% down on the same month in 2018.

The figures were released as a separate report from NAEA Propertymark (National Association of Estate Agents), which said the number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch decreased in November, from 341 to 332. This was the lowest figure seen since July.

The number of properties available per member branch remained the same in November, standing at 39.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said greater political certainty, following last week’s general election, could now trigger more housing market activity.

He said: “The housing market now has reassurance from a Government, which will in turn inject some confidence in the market for both buyers and sellers.

“Now the political impasse is resolved and it’s clear how and when we’ll be leaving the EU, we hope there will be a degree of certainty which may trigger a flurry of activity.”

By Vicky Shaw

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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UK Finance: Strong remortgage activity in September

Remortgage activity was strong in September – with volumes outstripping last year, UK Finance data shows.

There were 17,740 remortgages with additional borrowing, an increase of 5.9% on September 2019.

Meanwhile there were 19,140 remortgages with no additional borrowing, 8% more than the same month last year.

Nick Chadbourne, chief executive of conveyancing solutions provider LMS, said: “Overall remortgage activity is steady, with a slight bounce due to a peak in ERC expiries, but we are starting to see a shift in the balance of power within this market.

“Lower rates on 2-year deals have sparked competition between lenders, aiming to turn the heads of remortgagers, and borrowers have been taking advantage.

“Recent LMS data shows that although 5-year fixes remain the most popular product, purchases of 2-year deals have surged and closed the gap to just a few per cent.

“It’s tough to call whether this will continue as we move into the new year, but with low rates and slow price growth set to stay, we can be sure that the remortgage market is in good health.”

The number of first-time buyer and homeomover mortgages also rose year-on-year, by 1.6% and 1.8% from September 2018.

Buy-to-let activity was down however, as there were 3.5% fewer purchase mortgages year-on-year.

John Phillips, national operations director, Just Mortgages, said: “This is a strong set of figures, with both new loans and especially remortgages showing a big improvement on the same time last year.

“The 8% rise in pound-for-pound remortgages in particular is a welcome reversal of recent trends, where the increased prevalence of longer-term fixes has been driving down volumes.

“This is somewhat offset by the quite steep fall in new buy-to-let mortgages – more than 11% by value.

“There have been a number of changes to regulations in recent years, not to mention the impact of the stamp duty surcharge for buy-to-let.

“It would not be surprising if this was deterring landlords from expanding their portfolios and putting new entrants off altogether.”

Source: Property Wire