"Increased competition within the mortgage market continues to help thousands of buyers with their property plans and ambitions. "
The residential mortgage market has had a strong start to the year, despite ongoing economic uncertainty, according to the latest UK Finance research.
Its figures show there were 25,100 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in January 2019, 4.6% more than in the same month in 2018, while homemover figures rose 2.8%.
UK Finance says it is still seeing some contraction in the buy-to-let sector, with a 1.8% annual dip in completions, however the rate of decline is less than the 5.1% figure recorded in January 2018.
Residential remortgage completions fell by 2.7% over the year, however UK Finance noted that January 2018 was a "particularly strong month", with the highest number of residential remortgages in nine years.
Overall, the trade association expects the remortgaging sector to see continued strength in 2019, as more tranches of fixed-rate deals come to an end.
Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, commented: “While the current political landscape is forcing some homeowners to ‘improve, not move’, increased competition within the mortgage market continues to help thousands of buyers with their property plans and ambitions. With mortgage rates having halved in the last decade, and a growing number of lenders offering 95% LTVs, first-time buyers stand in a particularly strong position.
Stuart Wilson, corporate marketing director of more 2 life, added: “The rising number of first-time buyers we are seeing can be partly attributed to the hard work of parents ‘gifting’ wealth to their children to help with property purchases. This is particularly important at the moment as younger buyers are struggling to raise hefty deposits from their already squeezed disposable income which naturally takes a toll on the confidence of some younger buyers in the market. According to last autumn’s Equity Release Council report, 1.1 million properties in England had been purchased with the support of gift or a loan from family or friends between 2017 and 2018.
“These figures make it clear that the advantages of equity release extend far beyond its primary customer base, with younger relatives now feeling the benefits alongside their parents or grandparents. What advisers ought to be ensuring now is that this is highlighted in their conversations with customers, so that more homeowners are aware of the opportunities that equity release can bring for them as well as their families.”