Building societies hold 21% market share but COVID drives net lending down in Q1

Ryan Fowler

June 1, 2020

home sales

Building societies held at 21% share of the mortgage market at the end of the first quarter of 2020, according to Building Society Association (BSA) figures. 

Gross lending was £13.5bn – however this was down 19% on the £16.7bn of lending in Q1 2019 – whilst net lending was £0.9bn, an 8% market share, but down 83% compared to the £5.1bn in Q1 2019.

In total building societies hold outstanding mortgage balances of £336.6bn, a 23% market share, and up 3% on the £327.3bn on the end of Q1 2019.

Paul Broadhead, BSA head of mortgages and housing, said: “Building societies performed well in the first quarter of the year, approving nearly a quarter of new mortgages in the UK during the period.

“Lending activity was beginning to pick up following uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU at the end of January. However the coronavirus outbreak has understandably paused any momentum.

“With the housing market effectively halted between the end of March and end of May, lending activity in the second quarter of the year will be materially lower than normal.

“However, building societies are well placed and resilient enough to weather the storm and are preparing to ramp up lending now that the housing market is beginning to reopen.

“Building society savings balances grew in the first quarter of the year. Early evidence indicates that the support of the government furlough scheme, coupled with the fact that many people have spent less during lockdown may promote growth in cash savings in total.

“However personal financial resilience will be on the minds of many people as the economic implications for individuals start to become clearer.

“Similarly if borrowers find themselves in financial difficulty due to the coronavirus, or for any other reason, they should contact their lender to discuss the options available to help them.”

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