Signs emerge that Stamp Duty cut is working as first-time buyers see spike in mortgage approvals

There was a mixed picture for mortgage lending during April as approvals for first-time buyers increased, but home movers saw a fall.

The latest data from trade body UK Finance shows there were 26,700 new first-time buyer mortgages in April, up 3.5% annually.

But the home mover market saw a fall, with the number of approvals down 4.2% to 25,100.

The number of buy-to-let mortgages also fell, down 5.7% annually to 5,000.

Meanwhile, remortgaging continued to dominate across the market, up 36% to 40,800 for home owners and 32.4% to 14,300 for buy-to-let.

Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said: “Remortgaging activity bounced back to strong levels in April, as both home owners and landlords put their house in order by locking into attractive fixed-rate deals ahead of an anticipated interest rate rise.

“This spike in remortgaging was also driven by a large number of short-term mortgage deal rates coming to an end, combined with increased efforts by lenders to contact their customers before their deal rate expires.

“The number of first-time buyers has grown year-on-year, outstripping the number of home movers. This may reflect the impact of measures such as the recent Stamp Duty cut and the Help to Buy scheme that are focused on getting more people onto the housing ladder.”

Commenting on the figures, Brian Murphy, head of lending for the Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The data suggests that, as anecdotal evidence supports, buy-to-let for purchase is down in volume on an annualised basis to its lowest number of loans issued in the last year.

“Correspondingly first-time buyer borrowing volumes have increased slightly year-on-year, perhaps suggesting that those buying their first home are finding it slightly easier to get on the ladder due to less competition for the same sorts of properties with landlords.”

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One Comment

  1. Will

    Or it might be as many small landlords start to realise the significant impact of the “Osbourne hammering on taxation” that less people are prepared to invest in the rental market, the first time buyers are finding it easier to find the stock as rentals are sold off and sale prices fall to reflect the increase in supply from fleeing investors. The help to buy/stamp duty has, in my view, a minimal impact and is a window dressing exercise or political spin.

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