Uplift in lending to first-time buyers, figures show

The number of people taking their first step on the property ladder increased year-on-year in July, figures from a trade association show.

Some 32,640 new first-time buyer mortgages were completed in July – 5.8% more than in the same month in 2018 – UK Finance said.

The number of mortgages handed out to home movers also increased by 1.4% compared with a year earlier, with 32,710 loans for this purpose completed in July.

Fewer people re-mortgaged during the month compared with a year earlier.

UK Finance said this was partly due to a fall in the number of fixed-rate mortgages coming to an end.

There were 20,760 new re-mortgages with additional borrowing in July, 7.1% down on a year earlier.

The average additional amount borrowed in July was £55,500.

There were 20,380 new pound-for-pound re-mortgages with no additional borrowing in July, marking a 12.9% annual fall.

Mortgage activity among landlords picked up in July compared with a year earlier.

Some 5,800 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages were completed in July – 5.5% more than a year earlier.

There were 15,100 re-mortgages in the buy-to-let sector, up 2% annually.

Andrew Montlake, managing director of mortgage broker Coreco, said: “First-time buyers continued to drive the mortgage market during the summer months, which is reflected in this data.

“What’s also encouraging is the pick-up in buy-to-let purchase mortgages. After a tumultuous four years, the market appears to have bottomed out.

“Buy-to-let will never be the force it once was but on this evidence, there is life in it yet.”

He continued: “The property and mortgage markets as a whole are ticking along nicely given the depth of political uncertainty.”

Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Despite current circumstances, it is good news to see the number of first-time buyers and home movers up on last year.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The uplift in first-time buyer numbers in July compared with last year is welcome as they are so important to the market.

“This reflects lender efforts to offer products with high loan-to-values or innovative deals which allow parental assistance.

“It also suggests that the bank of mum and dad is busier than ever, helping offspring with that all-important deposit.

“The buy-to-let sector is also demonstrating resilience, despite significant tax and regulatory changes. Investors are still keen on bricks and mortar where they can find the right opportunity.”