Wednesday, 17 April 2013

CML announce: Lending to first-time buyers increased in February

First-time buyers increased

The number of first-time buyers increased by 3 per cent in February, marking the best start to a year since 2008, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). Activity in the first-time buyer sector was 17 per cent stronger in February than in February last year, and combined with January reached the largest number of first-time buyers in the first two months of the year since 2008. Lending to home movers fell – contributing to an overall dip in house purchase lending – while remortgage lending also eased.

First-time buyers
A total of 16,400 loans were advanced to first-time buyers in February, up on 15,900 in January and 14,000 at the same time last year. By value, loans to first-time buyers totaled £2 billion, the same amount as the previous month, but 18 per cent higher than in February 2012 (1.7 billion). First-time buyers accounted for 43 per cent of all house purchase loans in February. This was the sixth consecutive month that this indicator has been at or above 40 per cent, suggesting that market conditions continue to improve for first-time buyers. Indicators of loan affordability also suggest that the market was marginally more favourable for first-time buyers in February.First-time buyers typically borrowed a smaller amount in February than in January, both in absolute terms and relative to their income. First-time buyers typically borrowed 3.19 times their income in February, down from 3.2 times in January, while the average loan-to-value ratio remained at 80 per cent. This is likely to be associated with a shift towards the purchase of less expensive properties by first-time buyers, with a small increase in the proportion of properties bought for less than £125,000.

Home movers
Lending to home movers fell in February for the third consecutive month. A total of 21,500 loans were advanced to borrowers who moved in February, down by 4 per cent compared to January and a fall of 3 per cent on February last year. By value, home movers were advanced 3.5 billion in February, a 5 per cent fall compared to January.

House purchase lending
The underlying trend for resilient house purchase lending continued in February, with lending stronger than a year earlier. A total of 37,900 loans (worth £5.5 billion) were advanced in February, up by 5 per cent on the same time last year (36,400 loans). Month on month, house purchase lending dipped in February compared to January when 38,200 loans were advanced.

Remortgage lending

Remortgage lending remained subdued in February, down compared to both the previous month and February 2012. In February, £2.6 billion was advanced to borrowers remortgaging, a 13 per cent fall compared to January (3 billion), and 28 per cent lower than February last year (£3.9 billion).

Director General of CML, Paul Smee, Commenting on the data, saying: “First-time buyers are continuing to take advantage of more favourable market conditions, helping to drive the underlying trend for resilient house purchase lending. We hope that the new initiatives announced by the government in the 2013 Budget will further stimulate first-time buyer activity but also help those ‘second steppers’ looking to move into a new or existing home.”

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