The remortgage market in many parts of the UK has been growing, with new figures showing it was particularly strong in Wales, Scotland and London in the first quarter of 2018.
In London remortgage activity reached its highest levels since the end of 2008 with the number of loans in this sector up by 4.1% compared to the same period in 2017. The figures from UK Finance also show that the amount of remortgaging at £4.67 billion was up by 7.6% year on year.
Completed remortgages increased by 10.9% in Wales and the amount at £0.6 billion was up by 13.2% compared with the first three months of 2017. Overall levels reached a nine year high for remortgaging.
The figures also show that in Scotland remortgages increased by 6.1% and the amount increased by 9.2% to £1.07 billion, the highest level since 2011. ‘Competitive mortgage rates and speculation of a Bank of England rate rise are likely to have spurred home owners in Scotland to lock in to advantageous deals,’ said Douglas Cochrane, chair of UK Finance’s Scotland Mortgage Committee.
There was also strong remortgage growth in Northern Ireland, up 9.5%, with the amount at £0.25 billion up 19% year on year. This was the highest number of remortgages since the summer of 2009.
However, the number of first time buyer mortgages fell in London, down 3%, and the number of home mover mortgages also fell, down by 4.3%.
‘The market for first time buyers and home movers was subdued at the start of 2018, compared to the strong growth seen for the last few years, however affordability has improved slightly, which is good news for those homebuyers transacting,’ said Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance.
The level of first time mortgages also fell in Scotland, some 9.2% fewer than in the same quarter of 2017. Home mover mortgage numbers also fell, down by 2.9%. ‘While we have seen a fall in completions for first time buyers over this period, the announcement in April to extend the Help to Buy scheme in Scotland until March 2021, should help encourage more people to take their first step on to the property ladder,’ said Cochrane.
But first time buyer mortgage numbers rose in Wales, up by 5.9%, as did home mover mortgages, up 3.1%. ‘These numbers are very positive. First time buyer activity continues to remain strong, with Help to Buy Cymru helping many borrowers get on the property ladder. In the coming year, the Shared Ownership and Rent to Own schemes should also help boost home ownership in Wales,’ said Julie-Ann Haines, chair of UK Finance’s Wales Mortgage Committee.
Lending to first time buyers also increased in Northern Ireland, up by 10% with the amount of borrowing at £0.22 billion also up by 10%, while home mover lending increased by 16.7% with a value of £0.19 billion, a rise of 18.8%.
‘Northern Ireland’s mortgage market has enjoyed the strongest start to the year across the UK.
We also saw the highest number of remortgages since the summer of 2009 as home owners continue to take advantage of low interest rates and attractive deals,’ said Derek Wilson, the chair of UK Finance’s Northern Ireland Mortgage Committee.