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First time buyer lending back to 2007 peak

Robyn Hall

August 12, 2013

In June first-time buyers received 25,300, a 30% increase on the 19,400 loans advanced in June last year, representing 46% of all house purchase loans in June up from 44% in May and 38% on average since 2007.

Paul Smee, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, said: “First-time buyers have become a strong driver in the growth of mortgage lending this year proving that market conditions are favourable for them.”

First-time buyers continued to increase the amount they borrowed as the average loan size crept up to £117,000 in June from £112,500 in May.

Consequently there was a stronger growth in the value of loans advanced to first-time buyers which totaled £3.5bn, an increase of 9% in value compared to May and 40% on June last year.

This is likely to be associated with the growth in house prices in recent months – in June 34% bought a home less than £125k, down from 37% in May.

While first-time buyers borrowed more in June, an increase in income, along with falling interest rates meant that there was no deterioration in the affordability of these loans as typical first-time buyers mortgage payments consumed 19.3% of first-time buyers’ income – unchanged from May.

Previous CML data has shown a small increase in the average loan to value for loans advanced to first-time buyers but the latest figures showed this had dropped back to 80%.

However the average for the second quarter, which will be less affected by monthly fluctuations, has increased up to 81% from 80% in previous quarters.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “With another rise in loans to first time buyers in June, this section of the market is looking stronger than it has done for some time.

“But even though affordability does not appear to have suffered from the recent growth in house prices this may be because higher-earning borrowers have been mostly responsible for the surge in first time buyer activity.”

Oliver Atkinson, director of the online estate agency Urban Sales and Lettings, added: “If first-time buyers are the engine of the housing market, the turbocharger has just kicked in.

“They have become the star performers of the mortgage landscape, and could soon account for half of all house purchase loans.

“This figure is being stoked in part by the Help to Buy scheme and steadily improving buyer sentiment.

“But the main reason that so many would-be buyers are getting off the fence is the sense that the housing and mortgage stars are finally aligned.

“House prices – even in regions hit hardest by the slump – have moved from stagnation to stability and even steady growth. And mortgages are cheaper and more available than ever.

“Lenders are offering higher LTVs and have eased some of their more oppressive lending criteria. The wild lending of the boom years still haunts them, but the mortgage market is finally functioning as it should.

“The result is the release of a lot of pent-up demand from first-time buyers. Those who have saved hard for a deposit are earning nothing from having cash in the bank – and many are deciding that now is the time to take the plunge.

“We’ve seen a gentle migration of people from renting to buying as increasing numbers of those with savings calculate that they’d be better off buying. As a result, in some areas rents are stabilising after years of exceptional growth.

“The summer holidays are traditionally a quiet period for house sales, but first-time buyer demand is showing no sign of taking a break.”


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