A slow start to 2010 in Scotland

Even with this effect, the number of Scottish homebuyer loans in the first quarter of 2010 was up 28% by volume (36% by value) on the low of 7,600 (worth £784 million) seen in the first quarter of 2009. Scotland’s share of UK house purchase loans was back up to 9% in the first three months of 2010, following a small dip to 8% in the previous quarter.

There were 3,900 loans to first-time buyers (worth £326 million) in the first quarter of 2010, a 28% decline in numbers on the last three months of 2009 but a 39% increase on the trough seen a year previous.

First-time buyers accounted for 40% of all house purchases in Scotland in the first three months of 2010, 2% more than during the last three months of 2009 and 2% more than the UK average.

First-time buyers in Scotland put down on average a 23% deposit in the first three months of 2010. This is the first time average deposits for this group have been below 25% since the end of 2008 and is evidence of some modest easing of affordability criteria for Scottish first-time buyers.

Scottish home movers took out 5,800 loans (worth £738 million) in the first quarter, down 35% from the last quarter of 2009 but up 23% on the first quarter of 2009.

Home movers in Scotland put down on average a 30% deposit, unchanged from the last quarter of 2009 and 1% more than the same quarter last year. They typically needed to commit only 9.5% of their income to cover the interest payments on their mortgage – down from 10% in the last quarter of 2009. This shows that for those who are able to put down a significant deposit, affordability is at a 14-year high.

The first quarter of 2010 saw another drop in loans for remortgage – 7,000 in the first quarter of 2010 (worth £700 million), down 22% from the last quarter of 2009 and down 36% year on year.

CML spokesman Kennedy Foster said:

"The pace of recovery in Scotland at first sight appears slower than in the rest of the UK, but in fact throughout the current housing cycle, market activity in Scotland has followed that of the whole of the UK very closely, but with a lag of around one quarter.

"As in the rest of the UK though, the low level of house sales seen in the first three months of 2010 can be attributed to two events. The end of the last stamp duty holiday in December 2009 will have caused a drop in house sales at the start of the year and the severe winter weather seen in Scotland in January and February will have adversely impacted on the market."

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