"There have been ups and downs over the course of the year but 2019 ended on a positive note for the UK mortgage market."
2019 ended on a positive note for the UK mortgage market as mortgage approvals saw a December spike, according to the latest figures from e.surv.
There were 66,253 residential mortgages approved during the month, a jump of 1.9% from November’s total and an increase of 2.7% compared to December 2018.
The increase in approvals has been attritubed to the general election result, low rates for first-time buyers and increased competition between mortgage lenders.
Despite this, the proportion of mortgages approved to first-time buyers and others with small deposits fell from 27.7% to 25.5% during the month.
e.surv noted that interest rates have also fallen in the remortgage market which has tempted many mid-market borrowers to switch to a cheaper deal.
Its figures show that mid-market borrowers increased their share of the market substantially to 47.2% from 43.4% in November.
Yorkshire was regularly ranked the best region for small deposit buyers throughout the year. In December, 32.3% of all mortgages in the Yorkshire region went to borrowers with smaller deposits, far higher than any other region.
The closest challenger was the North West, where 30% of all loans went to this market segment in December.
Throughout the year, first-time buyers in London faced the toughest market conditions, and this was no different in the final month of 2019. Just 18.5% of approved loans in the capital went to these borrowers in December.
Richard Sexton, director at e.surv, commented: “There have been ups and downs over the course of the year but 2019 ended on a positive note for the UK mortgage market.
“December’s decisive election result does seem to have put an end to the atmosphere of uncertainty which has dominated the property market this year.
“With more certainty on the future, it appears that many new buyers and existing homeowners have chosen to enter the market, leading to a spike in approvals in December.”