Gross mortgage lending sees annual increase of 5%

Jessica Nangle

October 25, 2017

Gross mortgage lending in September is estimated as being £21.4bn according to UK Finance, which is 5% higher than in 2016.

Mohammad Jamei, senior economist at UK Finance, added: “As we near the end of 2017, our data is showing that housing market activity has built up modest momentum since the start of the year, helped by an increase in first-time buyer numbers.

“Rising inflation continues to put pressure on household budgets which is impacting consumer spending.”

A majority of this lending (64%) was carried out by high street banks.

John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation, said: “Having benefited from a decade of low interest rates, consumers are sensing the risk that this era is nearing an end.

“Many older mortgage deals are expiring this autumn which will mean moving onto more expensive standard variable rates.

“As a result, homeowners on these deals are opting to refinance, taking advantage of the intense competition in the mortgage market right now.

“With so much economic uncertainty and hints of a base rate rise, many are choosing to lock into a lower rate to see them through the next few years.”

Estimates of economic growth by UK Finance in the three months to September is expected to reach 0.4%.

John Goodall, chief executive and co-founder at Landbay, argues the PRA changes and the possibility of an interest rate rise may lead to a change in the current landscape.

Goodall said:  “These more accommodating borrowing conditions are however set to change in the coming months as the prospect of the first interest rate rise in almost a decade looms large, putting pressure on borrowers, and potentially putting off first time buyers.

“September’s figures also offer some insight into the final month of lending before the PRA’s portfolio landlord changes came into effect.

“While these new regulations are a good thing for the sustainability of the buy to let sector, we may see a dip in lending in the coming months as the sector adjusts to both the new regulations and a possible rate change.”

John Eastgate, sales and marketing director at OneSavings Bank, suggests those seeking the best rates on the market may have missed out.

He added: “With a rate rise in the offing however, borrowers may well have to face up to the reality that they’ve missed the opportunity to secure the lowest mortgage rates in history.”

“The mortgage market continues to demonstrate sustainable growth, but not without challenge.”

Jeremy Duncombe, director at Legal & General Mortgage Club, adds to this thought by saying: “Lending has continued to grow year-on-year and despite referendums, Brexit and a General Election, we are seeing robust levels of activity at a similar pace to that in 2016.

“Brokers see a positive future ahead too, with 15% expecting the mortgage market to hit more than £260bn this year, according to our research.

“Borrowers are clearly continuing to take advantage of a favourable, low rate environment by remortgaging ahead of a potential base rate rise.”

Richard Pike, sales and marketing director at Phoebus Software, questions whether now is the right time for an interest rate rise.

He said: “It is hardly surprising, given the amount of news regarding a potential interest rate rise in November, that lending is continuing on its steady path.

“With just over a week to go until the Monetary Policy Committee meet to vote the question remains, is this really the time to put interest rates up?”

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