There were 50,500 homeowner remortgages completed in October, some 23.2% more year-on-year, UK Finance’s Mortgage Trends Update has found.
The £9.2bn of remortgaging in the month was 22.7% more year-on-year.
Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Despite ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, competitive rates from lenders offering good value for money continues to drive activity in the mortgage market.
“Couple this with increased innovation and it is hardly surprising that there is a growing number of first-time buyers stepping onto the ladder.
“However, for any borrowers unsure of where to start, speaking with a mortgage broker is a sensible first step.
“These professionals have access to the whole of the market and thousands more products than those available to borrowers going direct to lenders, making them well placed to find a product best suited to the borrower’s needs.”
There were 32,900 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in the month, some 8.2% more than in the same month a year earlier. The £5.5bn of new lending in the month was 12.2% more year-on-year. The average first-time buyer is 30 and has a gross household income of £42,000.
There were 33,400 new homemover mortgages completed in the month, some 4% more than in the same month a year earlier.
The £7.4bn of new lending in the month was 8.8% more year-on-year. The average homemover is 39 and has a gross household income of £56,000.
There were 6,100 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages completed in the month, some 9% fewer than in the same month a year earlier. By value this was £800,000 of lending in the month, down 20% year-on-year.
There were 15,700 new buy-to-let remortgages completed in the month, some 5.4% more than in the same month a year earlier. By value this was £2.5bn of lending in the month, 4.2% more year-on-year.
Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said: “Remortgaging has reached its highest level in almost a decade, as homeowners take advantage of a competitive market and lock into attractive deals.
“This also reflects the large number of fixed rate mortgages coming to an end, which is expected to continue into 2019.
“There has been relatively strong growth in the number of first-time buyers, with schemes such as Help to Buy providing vital support to those getting a foot on the housing ladder.
“Meanwhile the buy-to-let market has seen a continued increase in remortgaging and a softening in home purchase activity, in line with ongoing trends in recent months.”
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, added: ‘Remortgaging is at a decade-high as borrowers, fuelled by continuing uncertainty around Brexit and the economy, take advantage of cheap rates. With the number of new purchases remaining subdued, lenders are focusing on where the business is and offering competitive deals to those coming off fixed-rate mortgages.
“This trend is set to continue into 2019. Landlords are also remortgaging as they make their property portfolios work harder and squeeze out every bit of profit they can.
“First-time buyers are taking advantage of the lack of competition from landlords for smaller properties, such as one-bedroom flats, and we expect this to continue into next year.”