Homeowner house purchases reached 50,000 in February, the highest level for the month since 2007. The data, which combines both home movers and first-time buyers, comes from the latest study on mortgage trends by trade association UK Finance.
The report also found that mortgage lending for first-time buyers, home movers and remortgagers increased in February this year compared to the previous year, equating to £4bn in new lending. According to the study, there were 25,200 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in February 2018, up about 2.4 per cent from the same month in 2017.
“Homebuyers have shaken off the winter blues, with house purchases by first-time buyers and home movers reaching their highest levels for February in over a decade,” said Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance. “Remortgages are also up year-on-year, as homeowners look to fix costs amid anticipation of further interest rate rises.”
The group’s analysis also shows that there were 35,400 new homeowner remortgages in February, an 11.3 per cent increase than in the same month last year. The resulting £6bn in remortgaging for the month was 11.1 per cent more year-on-year.
Commenting on the results, Craig McKinlay, sales and marketing director at Kensington Mortgages said: “Amidst the noise about the Bank of England’s next decision on interest rates, remortgaging levels continue to remain high as borrowers organise their finances before any potential rate rise. Prudent borrowers are now locking themselves into competitive mortgage deals that remain on offer through the mortgage market, whether it’s for two, three or five years.”
According to UK Finance’s analysis, despite a nearly nine per cent drop in the number of new buy-to-let house purchase mortgages this February compared to last year, there were 14,100 new buy-to-let remortgages completed in the month, an increase of 20.5 per cent from the same month in 2017.
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“Spring came early for the UK housing market, with a flurry of activity in February pushing total homeowner purchases to their highest rate since 2007,” said Shaun Church, director at mortgage broker Private Finance. “Lenders are eager to get a slice of this revitalised market and first-time buyers should use this to their advantage to ensure they secure the most competitive mortgage deals.”