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UK home owner lending down month on month which CML says is usual winter dip

Home owner house purchase lending totaled 10.7 billion in November, down 9% on October but up 18% on November 2014.

The latest data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders also shows that first time buyers borrowed 4.2 billion,down 9% on October but up 14% on November last year.

Home movers took out 32,300 loans, down 10% month on month and up 9% compared to November 2014. In total, this was 6.5 billion borrowed, down 10% on October but up 20% year on year.
Home-owner remortgage activity was down 9% by volume and 14% by value compared to October. Compared to November 2014, remortgage lending was up 24% by volume and up 36% by value.
Gross buy to let lending fell month on month, down 6% by volume and 8% by value, but the substantial growth year on year continued.

As expected, mortgage lending activity eased back as the normal dip in the winter months began, said Paul Smee, director general of the CML.

There was still growth across all lending types in November compared to the year earlier suggesting continued improvement. Our forecasts anticipate that gross lending will continue a slow but steady upward trajectory over the next two years, he added.

A breakdown of the figures shows that house purchase lending in the UK in November saw a decrease month on month by volume and by value of mortgages advanced, but compared to November 2014 volumes and amount borrowed overall increased.

As previously reported, UK gross lending overall in November totalled 20.5 billion, down 6% on October but up year on year by 27% compared to November 2014. This was the highest lending level in the month of November since 2007.

First time buyer lending declined by volume and by value compared to October, but saw a year on year increase in loan numbers and amount borrowed. Competitive mortgage rates mean first time buyers continue to pay low levels of their monthly household income to service the capital and interest rate payments of their mortgage at 18.3% in November, joint lowest average percentage level since we began tracking this in 2005 alongside June and September 2015.

Home movers borrowed 6.5 billion in November, this was down compared to October but was the highest November level since 2007. Home movers spent 18.2% of their monthly gross household income to pay capital and interest repayments, unchanged on October but a decrease compared to November 2014.

Remortgage activity saw a decrease by volume and by value in November compared to October, but increased year on year to have the highest volume of remortgage loans in the month of November since 2011 and the most borrowed in the month of November since 2008.

Gross buy to let lending decreased in November compared to October but was substantially up on last year. Buy to let remortgage continues to be the driver of activity remaining consistent with October and considerable up on the year before, the CML report points out.

Patrick Bamford, director of Mortgage Insurance Europe for Genworth, said that while the competitive mortgage rates seen over the last year means that payments as a percentage of income remain at a record low for first time buyers, this is of little relief to the vast numbers of hopeful buyers who are unable save the amount required for a deposit to take that first step onto the property ladder.

‘First time buyer numbers were already on the wane in November, a concerning result when you consider that there are no shortage of government schemes to support first time buyers, with Starter Homes and the Help to Buy ISA in the process of launching,’ he pointed out.

‘The end of the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee is fast approaching and with little sign of Treasury appetite to continue this support, lenders will need to take steps to ensure that high loan to value (LTV) lending does not fallback into decline,’ he added.

According to Peter Rollings, chief executive officer of Marsh & Parsons, overall the mortgage market has progressed an impressive distance over the past year. ‘Bargain mortgage deals have transformed the borrowing landscape in 2015. First time buyers, home movers and those seeking to remortgage have had it much easier thanks to a rock-bottom base rate,’ he said.
‘But nowhere was this upswing in lending more evident than in the buy to let sector. However, this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the government and in the short term the April intervention on stamp duty will ensure that buy to let lending continues to be the one to watch over the next few months,’ he explained.

‘These opening months of a new year are typically the busiest for the housing market, as new buyers pile into the market after the Christmas hiatus, added to those who had put their plans on hold at the end of the year, but are now ready and motivated to progress up the property ladder. With supply of homes for sale still limited, buyers are having to act decisively, which should ensure a spritely pace of activity over the coming months,’ he pointed out.

‘Aspiring and existing landlords had added impetus to act quickly this spring and expand their portfolios before being lumbered with an extra 3% stamp duty, and they may well be rewarded if they do. Already, 2016 is shaping up to be a strong year for lettings in London. January is usually the strongest month outside of the summer for lettings activity, and were seeing post Christmas divorces and the New Year mentality fuel new growth in the prime London rental market,’ he added.

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