Industry reacts to CML data
Whilst confidence is high many are cautioning that there is still a way to go before the market hits the heady heights of 2007.
David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, said: “In housing, green shoots have sprouted into saplings. Not yet scaling the heights of 2007 – but the housing market feels solid now – and volumes are growing steadily.
“Confidence will be important, because there’s still some way to go – particularly for first time buyers.
“The struggle to buy a first home is no longer an insurmountable wall – but certainly still an obstacle course.
Alexander Gosling, director of online estate agents Housesimple.co.uk, said that despite a sustained fall in real incomes, people’s appetite to buy is stronger than it has been for years.
He said: “Property market demand was resurgent even before the Help to Buy scheme launched, and it is now being fanned by a combination of buyer confidence and people’s fear that if they don’t buy now they will be left behind.
“But look deeper and you’ll see that a fundamental mismatch between demand and supply is driving up prices.
“This is artificially propping up house values, and many buyers are gambling on an economic recovery that is by no means in the bag.”
Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS, agreed with Gosling that whilst Help to Buy is extendeding a helping hand to first-time buyers the issues relating to demand remain.
He said: “The market is being squeezed – more and more people are trying to come in but there are simply not enough houses to satisfy everyone. Low returns on savings and high rental costs mean that a spotlight is being shone on property as a potential means of investment.
“And as a result, first-time buyers are finding themselves having to compete with landlords. The pressure in the market will continue to intensify and house prices will continue to rise until this dire need for more housing is addressed.”
Today’s CML figures showed the Lending for buy-to-let increased in September with 14,600 buy-to-let loans advanced, which was up 0.7% in volume compared to August. The value of these loans totalled £1.9bn.
Overall buy-to-let lending in the third quarter of 2013 grew with 43,900 loans advanced, up 16% on the second quarter of 2012 and 36% compared to last year.
Lucy Hodge, director of Vantage Finance, said: “Today’s figures certainly reflect what we have been seeing in the market.
“Demand for BTL products is growing, thanks to a buoyant rental market that shows no signs of slowing.
“It’s a long time since there have been enough BTL products to satisfy the needs of property investors, and at the moment any new products are snapped up really quickly.”
Hodge said that funding solutions from beyond the high street are proving particularly popular.
She said: “As a result of restricted criteria and fairly restrictive maximum exposure limits from mainstream lenders on the number of loans, or volume of lending to an individual, many have sought out more comprehensive solutions from commercial lenders, or those more geared toward professional landlords where there is scope for larger portfolios.
“There are still significant opportunities for lenders to fulfil demand in the BTL market and it would be exciting to see more creative solutions from lenders.
“Nevertheless, the increase in lending announced today is a positive reflection of the market’s current strength.”