Fall in gross mortgage lending across residential market

Gross mortgage lending across the residential market was £25.5bn in October 2019, 0.9% lower than in the same month in 2018, new UK Finance data revealed.

UK Finance also announced that mortgage approvals for home purchases by the main high street banks in October 2019 were 3.0% higher, remortgage approvals were 12.7% higher, while approvals for other secured borrowing were 2.1% lower, than in October 2018.

Commenting on the latest data, CEO and co-founder of BTL specialist Landbay, John Goodall, said: “While these figures are disappointing, they come as no surprise, considering the economic and political pressures the market has been facing.

“Looking forward, with the election looming, we may finally see the cloud of uncertainty begin to lift – assuming there is a clear parliamentary majority.

“If this does happen, we could see a spike in demand as those who were holding off in recent years consider making their move in 2020. With their genuine appetite to lend, lenders will be gearing up to facilitate any increase in demand.”

The £11.0bn of credit card spending in October 2019 was also announced to be 2.3% lower than in October 2018, and UK Finance said repayments had remained in line with credit card spending – showing that consumers are managing their finances responsibly and choosing to use credit cards as a preferred method of payment.

The data showed that the level of credit card borrowing grew by 3.1% in the year to October 2019.

“For customers wanting financial certainty in the current climate, remortgaging to a fixed rate deal continues to be an attractive option – especially as rates remain highly competitive,” added PRIMIS proposition director, Vikki Jefferies.

“Advisers have played a big part in helping consumers lock in to great deals while they’re still available, and remortgage numbers have seen a boost as a result.

“However, whilst current homeowners may be able to achieve certainty around their monthly repayments, prospective homeowners still may be wondering what the future holds for them.

“When customers are uncertain about their next steps, turning to a financial adviser can provide them with the reassurance they need to successfully navigate the complexities of the mortgage market.”

For personal borrowing through loans in October 2019, UK Finance announced a 7.4% increase from the same month a year earlier. Borrowing on overdraft had been declining over recent years and October’s level was revealed to be 1.2% higher than October 2018.

Personal deposits also saw a rise, by 2.1% in the year to October 2019, and three-quarters of deposits were held in immediate access accounts in October 2019, which was in line with the same period last year.

Head of financial services at Andrews Property Group, Sam Harhat, added: “The Brexit tempo increased significantly in October and yet buyers and homeowners showed the same level-headedness they have throughout most of 2019.

“Activity levels aren't off the scale, but the property market is ticking over exceptionally well, given the political environment we're in.

“Remortgage activity remains particularly strong as people seek to lock into a lower rate before we leave the EU.”

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