AMI: Steady improvement for housing market
In terms of mortgages AMI said that the first-time buyer market has made its strongest start since 2008, citing recent CML data showing first-time buyer house purchase loans accounting for 43% of all new mortgages in February.
Gross lending is up 2% year on year, totalling £25.4bn, and the Association forecasts that it will hit £155bn this year. Net lending totalled £11.5bn in 2012. Although redemptions and repayments have not been drastically outstripped by new mortgage lending in the early part of the year, AMI believes we will likely see 2012’s net lending total overtaken as availability improves.
The Bulletin also found that the geographical divide in UK house prices is widening as renewed fears about the stability of the eurozone continues to fuel investment in central London. While prices have risen 6.3% annually in London and 2% in the South East, according to the latest Land Registry data, they’ve actually fallen in four regions.
However the Association said that escalating fees may discriminate against lower end borrowers who already face an uphill battle to save for both a deposit and stamp duty.
Robert Sinclair, chief executive of the AMI, said: “Mortgage fees continue to rise as rates have dropped – the initial fee payable to secure a mortgage product has increased. Moneyfacts calculates that the average fee is now £1,522, the highest in 25 years.
“Initial arrangement fees are good news for lenders, allowing profit to be booked on day one.
“However the concern is that escalating fees may discriminate against lower end borrowers, who already face an uphill battle to save for both a deposit and the cost of the stamp duty tax.
“In this environment advice will be more crucial than ever and prospective borrowers will need the insight of intermediaries to navigate beyond headline rates to find the most affordable and appropriate mortgage products.”