Andrew Montlake: BoE data points to a robust mortgage market

Michael Lloyd

January 3, 2020

The Bank of England Money and Credit Statistics point to a robust mortgage market, Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco has claimed.

Mortgage approvals for house purchase were unchanged in November at 65,000, remaining within the narrow range seen over the past two years.

Meanwhile, approvals for remortgages fell slightly on the month to 48,400.

Net mortgage borrowing by households was £4.1bn in November, and the annual growth rate remained within the broad range it has been for the past three years at 3.3%.

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said: “Mortgage approvals for home purchase in November were surprisingly robust given the distraction of the General Election.

“There’s no doubt that many people saw November as the last chance saloon, a time to get a mortgage agreed before a potentially disruptive election result.

“While mortgage approvals and broader lending volumes will almost certainly drop off in December, we’re expecting an uplift in the first quarter of 2020.

“January will be the real test of consumer sentiment as we approach our departure from the EU.

“While we expect mortgage transactions to rise next year, it would be premature to assume that 2020 will be full speed ahead.

“A huge amount is riding on the outcome of the trade negotiations and so there is still the potential for volatility.”

Sam Harhat, head of financial services at Andrews Property Group, added: “The fact that the number of mortgage approvals for home purchase nudged up in November, the month the General Election campaign was in full swing, underlines how many people refused to let politics put their lives on hold.

“Transaction levels throughout 2019 were low historically but there was a lot of pragmatism in the market.

“We’re expecting mortgage approvals to gain even more momentum in the first half of 2020 as a lot of the pent-up demand out there hits the market.

“The return of aspirational buyers, emboldened by the new climate of political certainty, could see mortgage transactions pick up noticeably, especially in the first quarter.

“The fall in remortgages isn’t a cause for concern but merely reflects how many people have already remortgaged onto the exceptionally competitive rates available.

“Many would-be buyers and sellers who have played it safe in recent years look set to make their move in 2020.

“The Bank of Mum and Dad and Gran and Grandpa could come under real pressure from first-time buyers, who will be eager to buy before prices rise beyond their reach.

“A combination of much improved consumer sentiment, continued low borrowing rates and a strong jobs market should see a material increase in transactions during 2020.”

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