Mortgage market 'remains buoyant' despite interest rate rise

Mortgage activity remained buoyant in November despite the hike in the base rate, according to lenders.

Trade body UK Finance said 34,800 new first-time buyer mortgages were handed out in November - 15.2% more than in the same month a year earlier.

There were also 36,200 new home-mover mortgages in the month, marking a 16.8% increase compared with the same period a year earlier.

Meanwhile, there were 38,400 new home-owner remortgages in November, 8.5% more than in the same month a year earlier.

In November, the Bank of England base rate was increased from 0.25% to 0.5%, pushing up costs for some mortgage borrowers.

The figures also showed, however, that buy-to-let lending was down year on year.

There were 6,600 new buy-to-let house purchase mortgages in November, 1.5% fewer than in the same month a year earlier.

Paul Smee, head of mortgages at UK Finance, said: "The data shows housing market activity remains buoyant, despite November's rise in the base rate.

"Steady increases in lending for house purchases, together with increases in home-owner remortgages, reflect a keenness among consumers to benefit from still historically low interest rates, and a highly competitive marketplace."

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: "The market is proving to be fairly resilient, with first-time buyers taking advantage of competitive mortgage deals and slowing house price growth.

"Although there was a base rate rise in November, the money markets had already factored this in with mortgage rates not soaring afterwards.

"This, combined with the stamp duty exemption, means first-time buyers are in a stronger position than they have been in a long time, with many deciding that it is now time to take the plunge, although financial support from the Bank of Mum and Dad is still proving crucial for the majority."

Mr Harris continued: "For landlords the picture is less rosy, with many reassessing their portfolios in light of tax changes.

"However, we still believe there are opportunities for investors when it comes to buy-to-let, although there may be fewer novices taking the plunge in future."