Gross mortgage lending sees best April since 2008
Wed 18 May 2016
According to the latest report from The Council of Mortgage Lenders, gross mortgage lending reached 18.5bn inApril.Although this is down 29% against March's lending total of 26.2bn, it is 16% higher than the 16bn lent inApril last year making it the highest lending total for an April since 2008 (25.3bn).
Mohammad Jamei, CMLeconomist, said: "As we move past the stamp duty change that came into effect at the start of April, we expect tosee a quieter second quarter, as some transactions that were due to take place were brought forward to the firstquarter of this year. This is likely to mean that over the next few months buy-to-let takes a back seat as lending isdriven by first-time buyers, movers and remortgage customers.The underlying picture still shows signs of growth,as the market remains underpinned by strong fundamentals such as increasing wages and rising employment.But it is possible that the uncertainty around the upcoming EU referendum in June will weigh on activity in theupcoming months."
Henry Woodcock, principal mortgage consultant at IRESS, said: "Even with the availability ofhigh numbers of low interest rate mortgages deals, it's no huge surprise that borrowing in April was so much lowerthan in March given the false peak which resulted from a rush to beat the Chancellor's 3% tax hike on BTL. Willwe see a rise in lending in May? That will depend on a number of factors.Lenders may increase the number oflong-term deals of up to 40 years to tempt borrowers struggling to afford shorter terms, but on the flip side, as theBank of England interest rate remains static, lenders may increase interest rate margins. The lowest rate trackerdeals have already risen by 0.24% in the last six months.
The unknown effect of the EU vote in June may furtherdepress lending in May as borrowers wait and see both the result and the impact on lenders and houseprices."Richard Sexton, director of chartered surveyor e.surv comments: "The early rush we saw in the springmonths is easing up and April marked an adjustment phase in the property market. But a reduction in lending is tobe expected, and is certainly no cause for alarm. After a change in the timing of buy-to-let activity, the usualrhythm is slowly returning to the mortgage market, and lenders still have an appetite for investing in borrowers particularly first-time buyers."
Small-deposit loans totalled 10,985 in April, down 0.3% from the 11,018 granted inApril 2015. This slight dip doesn't reflect lenders' willingness to help first-timers. A variety of mortgage choices, allaimed at helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder, are flooding the market. Looking ahead, there's anEU referendum on the horizon and wider economic growth in the UK has been marked down. Yet, with a touch ofcaution, the lending market appears to be moving forward, unfazed."
David Brown, CEO of Marsh & Parsons,comments: "April lending was never going to live up to the March hype. The mortgage market was a completelydifferent kettle of fish in the run up to 1st April, characterised by massively increased borrowing to landlords andsecond-home owners, eager to make Stamp Duty savings while they could. But while we've seen a bit of amonthly comedown since then, the annual fundamentals are indicative of strength in the mortgage market.Widelyexpected to be an underwhelming month, April has still set an impressive benchmark for this time of the year,with lending levels harking back to the pre-recession era.
Buy-to-let investors are just one type of buyer after all,and borrowing isn't going to ground to a halt while they have a breather. The Stamp Duty changes didn't affectthe plans and intentions of hordes of other first-time buyers and home movers, and in these areas buyer demandis still bursting at the seams.