"Whilst mortgage lending in August weakened, attractive deals, increased lender competition and the economic climate are incentivising people to act."
Mortgage approvals for house purchase weakened to 65,500 in August, following the 18-month high of 67,000 seen in July, according to the latest Money and Credit statistics from the Bank of England.
The Bank says August's approval figures remain "within the narrow range seen over the past three years".
Its data also shows that whilst net mortgage borrowing weakened to £3.9 billion in August, this followed a strong net flow of £4.5 billion in July.
As such, the outturn was in line with the average seen since 2016. The annual growth rate was unchanged at 3.2%, also in line with growth rates of the past three years.
David Copland, director of mortgage services at TMA, commented: “Whilst mortgage lending in August weakened, attractive deals, increased lender competition and the economic climate are incentivising people to act. Mortgage advisers are steering borrowers in the right direction and finding the best product for their circumstances.
“Remortgage business is a clear opportunity. Now is the time for advisers to be contacting any customers who are approaching the end of their term. According to recent market data, £77.5bn of residential and buy-to-let business is set to mature between September and the end of the year. That’s a huge opportunity for mortgage advisers.”
Kate Davies, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, said: “Mortgage lending remains consistent and stable in the face of ongoing uncertainty in Westminster. Borrowers are still keen to press ahead with their plans to step onto or up the housing ladder and our research shows that advisers remain confident about the future of the mortgage market.
“However, there are still challenges facing the sector that must be addressed. As a priority, we need to replace the Help to Buy scheme, which has supported over 220,000 housing transactions since 2013. The market is already responding by providing more options for first-time buyers, such as higher loan-to-value mortgages, but it can still be hard for younger buyers to meet the stringent requirements of the current affordability rules.
“We need more dialogue between lenders, builders, regulators and the Government to forge a coherent policy which supports responsible lending on good quality properties designed for younger buyers and those on lower incomes.”
Vikki Jefferies, proposition director at Primis, added: “Whilst mortgage lending for August was lower than July’s, mortgage advisers are continuing to do a great job of securing the right deals for borrowers – despite the political and economic uncertainty.
“What the industry needs to ensure now is that advisers feel supported enough to continue producing the best outcomes for customers. Networks play a key part here in providing advisers with access to the guidance and tools they need. If advisers get the right level of support, there’s no reason why today’s encouraging lending figures shouldn’t continue.”