Lenders now approving six times more mortgages to first-time buyers than to landlords

There are now almost six times more mortgages approved for first-time buyers than for landlords, lending data shows.

The latest mortgage lending figures from banking trade body UK Finance show there were 31,400 new first-time buyer mortgages completed during July, compared with 5,500 for buy-to-let loans.

The first-time buyer lending figures were up just 1% annually, while the number of buy-to-let mortgage approvals has fallen 14.1% over the same period.

Home movers are also having a tough time, with the number of mortgage approvals for those moving down 3.8% annually to 32,600.

Remortgaging continues to dominate the market, up 23.1% since July 2017 to 46,900.

Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said: “The residential remortgaging market saw its strongest July in over a decade as home owners pre-empted the latest Bank of England rate rise by locking into attractive fixed-rate deals.

“There was also considerable growth in remortgaging in the buy-to-let sector, showing that while recent tax and regulatory changes are impacting on new purchases, many existing landlords remain in the market.

“The number of first-time buyers has returned to modest year-on-year growth.

“However, affordability remains a challenge for many prospective borrowers, underlining the importance of clarity over the future of schemes such as Help to Buy.”

Commenting on the figures, Mike Scott, chief property analyst at Yopa, said: “This is the strongest remortgaging market for a decade, presumably driven by borrowers who want to lock into current low interest rates before they rise further.

“However, this is unlikely to have much effect on the housing market, since it’s not money that will be used for buying a house.

“Government initiatives such as Stamp Duty relief for first-time buyers and the Help to Buy scheme may be helping to boost the number of first-time buyers.

“Meanwhile, the buy-to-let sector continues to fall quickly, due to a less favourable tax treatment for investors.”

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