Remortgaging reaches highest level in a decade

In October, there were 50,500 new homeowner remortgages completed, some 23.2% more than in the same month a year earlier, with the £9.2bn of remortgaging in the month marking year-on-year growth of 22.7%, new data has revealed.

UK Finance’s Mortgage Trends Update for October 2018 found there were 32,900 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in the month, approximately 8.2% more than in the same period last year. On an annual basis, the value of new lending has increased by 12.2%, rising to £5.5bn. The average first-time buyer is 30 and has a gross household income of £42,000.

Though the increase is not as significant, the volume of homemover mortgages completed in the month grew by 4% when compared to October 2017, recorded at 33,400. The £7.4bn of new lending in the month was 8.8% more year-on-year. The average homemover is 39 and has a gross household income of £56,000.

However, the level of buy-to-let home purchase mortgages completed in the month dropped some 9% when compared to the same month last year, with 6,100 be completed. By value this was £0.8bn of lending in the month, falling by 20% year-on-year.

There were 15,700 new buy-to-let remortgages completed in the month, some 5.4 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier. By value this was £2.5bn of lending in the month, 4.2% more year-on-year.

Commenting on the data, UK Finance director of mortgages Jackie Bennett said: “Remortgaging has reached its highest level in almost a decade, as homeowners take advantage of a competitive market and lock into attractive deals. This also reflects the large number of fixed rate mortgages coming to an end, which is expected to continue into 2019.

“There has been relatively strong growth in the number of first-time buyers, with schemes such as Help to Buy providing vital support to those getting a foot on the housing ladder.

“Meanwhile the buy-to-let market has seen a continued increase in remortgaging and a softening in home purchase activity, in line with ongoing trends in recent months.”

OneSavings Bank sales and marketing director John Eastgate added: “’Uncertainty’ must be the most over-used word of the moment, and it prevails in the housing market as concerns over the UK’s exit from the EU loom large for prospective homeowners and investors alike. That we are seeing any increase in first-time buyer lending at all is a testament to the sheer scale of pent up demand for housing and the ongoing attractiveness of Help to Buy.

“Even so, it is remortgaging driving the market onwards, as borrowers look to lock in affordable rates for the future and with swap rates seeming to point towards rates remaining low for the long term, they might have plenty of time to do so.”

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