First-time buyer numbers down in June

The number of people getting on the property ladder for the first time was down year-on-year in June, figures show.

Some 32,760 new first-time buyer mortgages were completed in June, 1.5% fewer than in the same month in 2018, UK Finance said.

The latest figures also point towards a continuing trend of people improving their existing properties rather than moving.

There were 31,000 home mover mortgages handed out in June, 3.6% fewer than in the same month a year earlier.

But the number of remortgages with additional borrowing was up by 8.3% year-on-year, in a sign that people are borrowing extra cash to give their homes a makeover.

There were 16,880 new remortgages with additional borrowing in June, with an average of £56,100 borrowed.

There were 15,320 new pound-for-pound remortgages with no additional borrowing, 23.9% fewer than a year earlier.

UK Finance said the decrease has been driven in part by a slight fall in the number of fixed-rate mortgages coming to an end.

Meanwhile, 5,300 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages were completed in June – down 3.6% annually.

Adrian Anderson, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: ‘Many borrowers are taking on extra borrowing when they come to remortgage, with the average increase being just shy of £60,000.

“This is a clear sign that home owners are staying put and improving or extending, rather than paying the hefty cost of moving home.

“This may be manageable while interest rates are low but it is still money that needs repaying at some point and borrowers should be careful that they don’t overstretch themselves.”

He said following rule changes for landlords, many are “deciding to rein back in on further investments and concentrate on their existing portfolios instead”.

Daniel Hegarty, chief executive and founder of online mortgage broker Habito, said: “Even accounting for the seasonal summer lull, mortgage lending is down across nearly all buyer types.

“It’s really no surprise given the current political and economic uncertainty that the only area of growth in lending is from homeowners remortgaging for additional borrowing as home owners look to hunker down, get their finances in order and improve, not move.”

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