Mortgages

House purchases hit decade-high in February: UK Finance

Rozi Jones
|
17th April 2018
House sale sold
"Homebuyers have shaken off the winter blues, with purchases by first-time buyers and home movers reaching their highest levels for February in over a decade."

Total homeowner purchases reached 50,000 in February, the highest level for the month since 2007, according to new UK Finance data.

Mortgage lending for first-time buyers, home movers and remortgagors all increased in February 2018 compared to the previous year.

There were 25,200 first-time buyer mortgages completed in February, 2.4% more than in 2017, while remortgaging numbers totalled 35,400, up 11.3%.

Home movers held steady in volume at 24,800 and increased 1.9% by value year-on-year.

Buy-to-let lending remained subdued, down 8.8% by volume and 12.5% by value on an annual basis. However buy-to-let remortgaging rose by 20.5% over the year to 14,100.

Jackie Bennett, Director of Mortgages at UK Finance, commented: “Homebuyers have shaken off the winter blues, with purchases by first-time buyers and home movers reaching their highest levels for February in over a decade.

“Remortgages are also up year-on-year, as homeowners look to fix costs amid anticipation of further interest rate rises.

"Meanwhile the buy-to-let market continues to operate at stable but subdued levels, due in part to the impact of recent legislative and tax changes."

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, added: "These numbers are encouraging because they underline the fact that you write off this market at your peril.

"Buyers and sellers are showing, once again, that those prepared to negotiate hard are still getting on with their lives, albeit at slightly softer price levels. Encouragingly, first-time buyers are taking advantage of the abolition of stamp duty announced at the end of 2017, as well as a more level playing field with buy-to-let investors, with the latter's numbers noticeably shrinking as revealed in this report.

"Although it is sometimes tough for first-time buyers, many are showing that they would prefer to buy rather than rent, although clearly many have no option unless they have help from the Bank of Mum and Dad.

"Looking forward, we expect more of the same - no boom or bust but a steady market with realistic pricing."

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