Gross mortgage lending down YOY

Gross mortgage lending across the residential market in March 2019 was £20bn, 0.5 per cent lower than the same month in 2018, new data from UK Finance has revealed.

In its latest Household Finance Update, the association revealed that the number of mortgages approved by the main high street banks in March 2019 was 9.1 per cent higher than in the same month last year, despite gross lending being down. However, this figure highlighted a particularly subdued month for total mortgage approvals.

In March, approvals for home purchase were 9.3 per cent higher, remortgage approvals were 11.1 per cent higher and approvals for other secured borrowing were 1.7 per cent higher year-on-year.

Commenting on the statistics, TMA director of mortgage services David Copland said: “Despite ongoing political headwinds first-time buyers continue to look for opportunities to take their first steps onto the housing ladder, while those looking to move weigh up their options.

“In order to guide customers down the best route for their circumstances, advisers are on hand to provide them with the support and expertise that they need. With the market committed to producing quality solutions, this should reassure consumers that their needs remain at the forefront of the industry, no matter what uncertainties may be in store.”

Also commenting, Landbay CEO John Goodall: “It’s been a slow start to the year for mortgage lending, and this month doesn’t buck the trend. But while Brexit-led uncertainty doesn’t show signs of abating, we are likely to see growth in the coming months. Many borrowers will be nearing the end of two-year mortgage deals secured in the lows of 2017, and they could be in for a rate shock in the coming months.

“House buyers, be they landlords or not, need to ensure they’re doing their research and looking for the best rates and getting the best advice.”

In its publication, UK Finance found both credit card spending and the number of approved personal loans had risen in March 2019 when compared to March 2018, by 8.1 per cent and 6.8 per cent respectively. Credit card spending soared to £10.5bn, while the outstanding level of credit card borrowing also increased by 4.3 per cent in the twelve months to March. Increased lending on credit cards has been matched by growth in repayments, which suggested that consumers favour credit cards as a means of spending, rather than a borrowing vehicle.

Although personal borrowing through loans was up in 6.8 per cent in March 2019, the level is still significantly below the levels of personal borrowing seen in March 2017. Additionally, lending through overdrafts in March 2019 was 2.5 per cent higher compared to the same month last year.

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