January saw highest total approvals for home buying in UK for a year

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January saw highest total approvals for home buying in UK for a year

from admin on 03/02/2016 11:34 AM

January saw highest total approvals for home buying in UK for a year

Image The number of loan approvals for house purchase in the UK increased by 22% in January with the month seeing the highest number of total approvals since the beginning of 2014.

 

The data from the Bank of England also shows that the number of remortgage approvals increased by 33% year on year.

A breakdown of the data shows that purchase approvals reached 74,581 in January compared to the average of 70,221 over the previous six months while those for remortgaging was 42,228, compared to the average of 40,306 over the previous six months.

According Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, the threat of a rate rise is no longer driving the remortgaging uplift and instead it is being supported by home owners looking to improve their financial situation through cheaper monthly repayments.

'In particular, landlords are preparing for fewer tax reliefs like the loss of the wear and tear allowance and restriction of mortgage interest deductability. Accessing cheaper deals through remortgaging will help offset these when they come into place,' he said.

'With rising home owner equity and a range of competitive deals in the market, home owners have also been determined to capitalise on currently low rates and intense market competition amongst lenders,' he explained.

He also pointed out that the stability in lenders' mortgage funding continues to improve. 'While the government and the Bank of England have supported funding the market, an increase in retail deposits over mortgage balances is underpinning improved mortgage lending, with the savings inflow exceeding that lending by £215 billion or 17% in the last quarter of 2015,' he added.

Adrian Gill, director of Reeds Rains and Your Move estate agents, believes it signals a strong spring buying season ahead. 'Interest rates aren't going anywhere fast and while cheaper mortgage deals stick around, buyer demand is chomping at the bit. With all the various government initiatives now in place, many first time buyers consider this their best shot at making the finishing line and purchasing their own home and they are upping the ante to make sure they don't miss out,' he said.

But in reality, he pointed out that the market currently favours sellers. 'Those looking to put their home on the market haven't been in such a strong position since before the recession. House price growth is gaining strength on both an annual and monthly basis, and with an army of eager first time buyers it's a brilliant time for existing home owners to be advancing up the property ladder. Ultimately, activity levels won't be able to keep up the pace unless there's a steady stream of homes for sale entering the ring,' he added.

But Martin Stewart, managing director of the independent mortgage broker, said that the forthcoming referendum on the UK as a member of the European Union could slow the market.

'The beginning of 2016 has been far busier than usual in the mortgage market, but between now and June activity is likely to slow as the possibility of Brexit makes people more cautious. Growing concerns around the UK economy will only temper demand further,' he explained.

'The buoyant Spring period could be far more subdued than usual in 2016. While buy to let may drive activity for another month or so, the worry is that many amateur landlords still haven't quite understood the full impact of reduced mortgage interest tax relief. It seems many will learn the hard way,' he pointed out.

He also warned that the increase in the number of first time buyers was tangible in 2015 and this has been no different in the first two months of 2016 and believes that there is an increasingly blasé approach to interest rate rises that could come back to bite many people.

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