Drop in house buyers despite ultra-low rates

Tim Wallace
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FIRST time buyers and home mover numbers dipped in April despite enormous levels of official support for the sector driving down interest rates, industry figures showed yesterday.

Yet remortgaging jumped in the month as existing homeowners pushed to renegotiate their deals to lower their monthly payments, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

House purchase lending in April came in at £6.3bn, flat on the month. That was spread across 42,600 loans, down 0.9 per cent compared with March.

First time buyers took out 19,400 loans, down one per cent on the month. They came to a value of £2.5bn.

By contrast remortgage lending jumped 9.7 per cent by value to £3.4bn.

And the category rose 7.1 per cent by volume, to 25,600 loans.

Analysts expect the market to pick up more firmly in the coming months.

“There are indications from the latest survey evidence that housing market activity enjoyed a more marked picked up in activity in May, which may reflect improved consumer confidence,” said IHS Global Insight’s Howard Archer.

“We believe house prices are highly likely to trend up moderately over the rest of 2013 as activity picks up. However, a decisive upward move in house prices seems unlikely in the near term at least given a still challenging and uncertain economic environment despite the recent signs of improvement in activity.”