First-time buyers ‘hope for Budget housing support’ as they lock in low mortgage rates

An increasing number of first-time buyers secured a mortgage approval last month, surveyors claim.

Data from e.surv suggests the proportion of mortgage approvals for those with smaller deposits – typically 15% – increased from 25.5% in December to 26.7% in January.

Richard Sexton, director at e.surv, suggested this could be due to new buyers getting hopeful of next month’s Budget unveiling more support for them to get on the housing ladder.

He said: “First-time buyers have often been reliant on a range of Government-backed schemes.

“With the Government’s Spring Budget looming, would-be homeowners will be alert to any potential new measures which could help them on to the property ladder.”

The proportion of loans approved to customers with large deposits of up to 40% fell from 27.3% of the market in December, to 25.5% last month, e.surv said.

The remaining mid-market borrowers saw their share increase from 47.2% to 47.8%.

Overall, e.surv predicts there was a 1.8% decline in approvals during January to 66,002.

Sexton said: “While the market fell slightly following the December bump, rumours of a Bank of England base rate cut appear to have had little appreciable impact on the mortgage market, with a strong performance among several key buyer groups in January.

“Existing home owners benefited from low remortgage rates and were persuaded to switch to a new deal, while new buyers also swooped to seal low interest rates for their first purchase.

“The new Chancellor is due to present the government’s Spring Budget in March – the first opportunity for the Johnson Government to lay out its spending plans.

“Home owners, lenders, housebuilders and anyone else with a stake in the UK housing market will be watching with interest.”

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