First-time buyer activity receives October boost

First-time buyers

A total of 20,000 loans were advanced to first-time buyers in October, a rise of 14% compared to last month and up by 19% compared to this time last year. In total, loans to first-time buyers were worth £2.5billion in October, up on the £2.2billion in September and the £2.1billion advanced at the same time last year.

At 80%, the average loan-to-value (LTV) ratio was unchanged in October compared to August and September – this figure has essentially remained static for the last two years.

First-time buyers continued to favour properties priced between £125,000 and £250,000 in October, with 49% buying properties in this band. The percentage of income consumed by initial mortgage interest and capital repayments was unchanged at 20.0%, remaining more favourable than in 2007 when total capital and interest payments typically consumed closer to 25% of first-time buyer income.

Loans to first-time buyers accounted for 40% of all house purchase loans in October for the second consecutive month.

Although not matching the same rate of growth as first-time buyers, lending to home movers increased in October. A total of 29,400 loans were advanced to home movers, worth £4.8 billion, a rise of 13% compared to September and up by 5% on the same period last year.

After three consecutive months at 69%, the LTV ratio for home movers ticked back up to 70% in October.

On the back of the rise in lending to first-time buyers and home movers, loans for house purchase returned to the underlying upward trend seen earlier in the year. A total of 49,500 house purchase loans were advanced in October, up from 43,500 loans in September and 44,900 loans in October last year. This represented a 14% increase compared to last month and a 10% rise on October last year. By value, house purchase loans totalled £7.3billion in October, up by 11% on September and the same period last year.

Following weakness in remortgage activity for most of the year, remortgage lending increased for the second consecutive month in October. Remortgage lending totalled £3.5billion in October, up from £3.2billion in September but remains low compared to historical levels and was 10.3% lower than October last year (£3.9billion).

The small up-tick in remortgage lending suggests that the Funding for Lending scheme may be starting to have an early effect on remortgage lending, after subdued activity early in the year. The scheme has the potential to boost remortgage lending activity more quickly than house purchase due to the longer lag time in buying a property.

CML director general Paul Smee said: "More positive figures in October, after a slow September, suggest that the underlying trend in house purchase lending of modest year-on-year growth will continue. However, usual seasonal factors may act as a counter to lending levels in the coming months.

"An up-tick in remortgage lending may be an early sign of a small positive impact of the Funding for Lending scheme, but it’s still too soon to evaluate the effects of the scheme.

"If the incremental improvements in house purchase lending that we are currently seeing persist as we expect them to, then next year should feel a more stable and positive year in the housing and mortgage markets."

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