Mortgage lending to first-time buyers increased by two per cent in March compared to a year earlier, while remortgaging levels eased slightly, according to the latest survey by trade association UK finance.
The research showed that there was £5.1bn in new lending to first-time buyers in the month, up two per cent year-on-year. However, only 31,200 new first-time buyer mortgages were completed in the month, down 1.9 per cent from the same month last year.
There was also £6.1bn of new lending to homemovers in the month, 4.7 per cent down year-on-year, according to the UK Finance report, with 28,400 new homemover mortgages completed in the month. That’s 7.8 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier.
Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said: “Remortgaging levels softened in March, after a busier than usual start to the year saw customers locking into attractive deals ahead of a potential interest rate rise.
“There has been relatively flat growth in lending to first-time buyers, reflecting recent Bank of England figures showing a fall in mortgage approvals.”
Data showed that the average homemover is 39 and has a gross household income of £56,000, while the average first-time buyer is 30 and has a gross household income of £42,000.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “These figures are interesting because they show a bit of a push-me pull-you market.
“Remortgaging, which we would have expected to be higher, has fallen whereas new business, which might have been higher, is not so impressive either.
“However, bearing in mind these numbers are for March so reflect buying decisions made at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, we wouldn’t really expect to see much dramatic change.
“The market is continuing its steady process without a major correction in sight one way or the other.”