Little movement in mortgage market

Nia Williams

November 12, 2010

This is according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

There were 50,000 loans for house purchase (worth £7.4 billion) advanced in September, unchanged by volume but down £0.2 billion in value from August. The number was down 1,000 from September 2009 but the value was up £0.3 billion.

Loans for remortgage increased from 25,000 (worth £3.2 billion) in August to 29,000 (worth £3.6 billion) in September. Remortgaging accounted for 29% of total lending in September, the first proportionate increase since May. Despite this rise, there is still little incentive for borrowers to move away from low reversion rates with interest rates remaining low.

This, coupled with an inability for some borrowers to access new refinancing deals means there is little prospect of a significant rise in remortgaging in the coming months.

Loans to first-time buyers increased in number by 4% in September to 18,600 (worth £2.2 billion) but were 6% lower by volume and 4% lower by value than in September 2009. In contrast, the number of home-mover loans fell by 2% to 31,600 in September following a 10% fall in August. And the value also fell by 2%, from £5.3 billion to £5.2 billion.

Credit criteria remain tight and the slight easing of loan-to-value ratios that occurred earlier in the year appears to have reversed. First-time buyers borrowed on average 76% of the value of their property, down from 77% in August, while home movers borrowed 67%, unchanged from August.

On a quarterly basis, there were 156,000 loans advanced for house purchase from July to September (worth £23.3 billion), up 13% in volume (17% in value) from April to June and up 1% in volume (9% in value) from July to September 2009. The 83,000 remortgaging loans (worth £10.3 billion) in the third quarter represented a rise of 6% by volume (5% by value) from the second quarter but the number fell by 20% and the value by 19% from the third quarter of 2009.

The number of loans to both first-time buyers and home movers increased in the third quarter by 8% and 16% respectively (values increased by 8% and 21%), but the number of first-time buyers was 5% lower than in the same period of 2009 (with the value of loans advanced staying the same) while the number of home-mover loans increased by 5% (and the value by 12%).

Commenting, Michael Coogan, director general of the CML, said: “With lending volumes at historic lows, stability in the mortgage market is the name of the game at the moment. With both consumer demand falling and funding capacity limited, neither supply nor demand look likely to feed through to any significant improvement in lending volumes as we head into winter.”

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