Homebuyer market dampens

Ryan Bembridge

October 26, 2016

The homebuyer market has dampened – as the number of house purchase approvals in September was 15% lower year-on-year, the BBA’s High Street Banking Statistics show.

In September the number and value of mortgage approvals was lower than the average between January and June before the Brexit vote, standing at 38,252 and £6.9bn compared to 42,845 and £7.8bn.

The remortgage market fared better, with approvals in the first nine months of 2016 standing 15% higher than in the equivalent period of 2015.

Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS, said: “The uncertain outlook and continuing squeeze on affordability may have forced some homebuyers to put their purchasing plans on hold.”

“In contrast to the overall market, remortgaging activity has remained relatively stable, with little change in the number of remortgage approvals year-on-year.

“The overall value of remortgage approvals also experienced little change – enjoying a slight rise between August and September.

“Record-low mortgage rates have remained the norm since the Bank of England’s cut to the base interest rate, and homeowners have taken advantage of this, with our research showing 85% of remortgagors lowering their mortgage rates in September.

“Rising inflation will encourage more homeowners to take advantage of low rates by remortgaging to make monthly savings as the cost of everyday essentials increase.”

But Doug Crawford, chief executive of My Home Move, doesn’t think there is any significant cause for concern.

He said: “There has been a lot of doom and gloom about the housing market, but there are rays of light in today’s BBA lending figures.

“Looking at 2016 to date compared to the same period in 2015, approvals are down only 4% and 2015 was an unusually busy year.

“Going back one step, further mortgage approvals this year have closely tracked those of 2014, with the only exception being July – the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum result.

“At its core, the housing market faces the same issues of undersupply that it has done for years.

“In the medium to long term, strong fundamentals will continue to drive a prosperous housing market as consumers get on with their everyday lives.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, called this a year of two halves – as the market has been affected by the Brexit vote.

He said: “The market has not collapsed but on the ground we are seeing that the outcome and its aftermath is certainly making buyers and those considering remortgaging think twice before making decisions.

“Needless to say, resilience is very much to the core and pragmatic buyers and sellers are still achieving most of their aims.”

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