There was a spike in mortgage approvals for borrowers across the country in December as the market ended the year on a high, e.surv’s latest Mortgage Monitor has found.
There were 66,253 residential mortgages approved during the final month of 2019, up from 1.9% in November and 2.7% year-on-year.
Richard Sexton, director at e.surv, said: “There have been ups and downs over the course of the year but 2019 ended on a positive note for the UK mortgage market.
“December’s decisive election result does seem to have put an end to the atmosphere of uncertainty which has dominated the property market this year.
“With more certainty on the future, it appears that many new buyers and existing homeowners have chosen to enter the market, leading to a spike in approvals in December.”
Reflecting this shift, the proportion of mortgages approved to first-time buyers and others with small deposits fell from 27.7% to 25.5% during the month.
This was because mid-market borrowers increased their share of the market substantially during the last month of the year.
The year ended with a rise in the number of mid-market borrowers, as those with both small and large deposits saw their market shares slip back.
In December, 27.3% of approvals were to those with large deposits, which is a monthly decline of 1.6%.
Meanwhile the proportion of small deposit borrowers also declined, falling from 27.7% in November to 25.5% during the following month.
These changes meant that the share of loans going to mid-market borrowers, or those borrowers who do not fit into either of the other two categories, rose once again.
In December, 47.2% of all mortgages went to these borrowers which is higher than the 43.4% market share found in November’s survey.
The number of small deposit borrowers was 16,895, lower than the 18,248 total recorded a month ago.
Sexton added: “Remortgage rates were low throughout December and this appears to have tempted many homeowners to switch to a new, cheaper deal.”
Yorkshire was regularly ranked as the best region for small deposit buyers throughout 2019.
In December, 32.3% of all mortgages in the Yorkshire region went to borrowers with smaller deposits.
The closest challenger was the North West, where 30% of all loans went to this market segment in December.
Throughout the year, first-time buyers in London faced the toughest market conditions.
Just 18.5% of approved loans in the capital went to these borrowers in December.
By contrast, 33.4% of mortgages in London were handed to those with large deposits which is the highest figure in the country.
Close behind was the South East, where 31.7% of all loans were to this market segment.
Sexton said: “The prominence of Yorkshire as a small deposit hotspot in 2019, serves as a reminder that the UK’s property market remains heterogenous and divided.
“The contrast between the Yorkshire and London markets, for instance, remains stark.
“Any analysis of the UK market should engage with its regional nature and acknowledge that pockets of value do exist, even for borrowers with smaller deposits.”