CML reveals strong first-time buyer activity

Ryan Bembridge

May 17, 2017

First-time buyer activity performed strongly in March while other tenures rebounded from February, Council of Mortgage Lenders figures show.

In March there were 31,500 first-time buyer loans, an increase of 30% from the month before and 12% year-on year.

In the first quarter of 2017 there were 78,300 first-time buyer loans, up 10% year-on-year but down 13% quarter-on quarter.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “Overall, lending trends have remained reasonably consistent.

“The relatively sluggish activity among homemovers stands in contrast to the growth in first-time buyer and remortgage activity, but in aggregate the market is showing broadly the levels of activity we expected.

“As we head into the summer, we expect a continuation of these trends, with both first-time buyer and remortgage lending expected to maintain momentum in the light of the very attractive deals currently available.”

Homemover volumes were 24% higher than February but down 28% year-on-year, while remortgage activity was up 14% month-on-month and 24% year-on-year.

Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Despite the ever-changing political landscape, demand for lending, particularly to first-time buyers, remains strong.

“It is encouraging to see a growing number of borrowers taking control of the mortgage market by reaping the financial rewards of our current and historically low mortgage rates.”

Jonathan Sealey, chief executive of Hope Capital, said: “It is clear that as well as remortgage activity which is up in terms of both value and volume, demand from first-time buyers is continuing to drive the housing market, with many using low interest rates to get onto the property ladder.

“In fact, more first-time buyers bought a home in 2016 than in any year since 2007. This highlights how these buyers are keeping the housing market solid, and each transaction has an impact further up the chain and is also helping to drive levels of housebuilding.”

Ishaan Malhi, chief executive of Trussle, expects momentum to continue.

He said: “Given current political and economic factors that the country is continuing to face, it will be interesting to see how the elected government will look to give long-term certainly to both first-time buyers and the housebuilding industry.

“Due to the current deals on the market and the low interest rate environment, it is likely that this will keep momentum up and activity will remain stable as we head into the summer months.”

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