Demand defies end of stamp duty holiday
Recent rate rises and the passing of the stamp duty exemption have done little to slow mortgage demand.
Using data from more than 300 brokers and 700 estate agents across the UK, the latest National Mortgage Index from Mortgage Advice Bureau shows the number of mortgage applications increased again in March 2012.
Mortgage applications were up 98.1% from December 2011 and 5% higher than the same time last year which MAB puts down to worries over further increases to lenders' SVRs and the withdrawal of upfront discounted deals.
At the same time the number of borrowers choosing fixed-rate deals increased to 78.7% in March from 73.3% in February. This is the highest level in the last twelve months and the second highest level since the summer of 2009.
Commenting, Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: "Demand remains strong and it has been a strong first quarter for mortgage activity.
"Despite rising rates and the end of the stamp duty holiday in March, the number of mortgage applications for both purchase and remortgage increased again last month.
Murphy said consumers are increasingly switching to fixed rate mortgages and they now account for more than three out of every four transactions.
"This suggests many are expecting further rate rises and are eager to lock into attractive deals as soon as possible," he said.
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