Property Reporter: CML data points to 21% rise in house purchase lending

The latest figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders has revealed that home-owners borrowed £8.7bn for house purchase, a 4% rise month-on-month and 21% year-on-year.

According to the report, those taking their first steps onto the property ladder borrowed £3.4bn, up 3% on January and 21% on February last year. This totalled 22,000 loans, up 3% month-on-month and 11% year-on-year.

Home movers borrowed £5.3bn, up 4% on January and up 20% compared to a year ago. This totalled 26,000 loans, up 4% month-on-month and up 14% on February 2015. Remortgage activity totalled £4.8bn, down 17% on January but up 37% compared to a year ago. This came to 28,400 loans, down 15% month-on-month but up 24% compared to a year ago.

Landlords borrowed £3.7bn in February, unchanged month-on-month but up 61% year-on-year. This came to 23,700 loans in total, up 1% compared to January and up 47% compared to February 2015.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, commented: “In 2016, there have been substantial increases in house purchase and remortgage activity year-on-year. This reflects the sluggish market in early 2015, perhaps driven by election uncertainties. Buy-to-let has also seen substantial year-on-year increases, with particularly strong growth in remortgaging, a pattern which we have seen in the buy-to-let sector the past six months. Activity has been boosted by landlords seeking to complete purchases before tax changes in April. We do not expect activity to show such strong year-on-year growth later in the year.”

Buy-to-let lending

While gross buy-to-let lending increased month-on-month and substantially year-on-year, the monthly lending levels have remained relatively consistent the past six months. Remortgage remains the driver of increased activity recently in the buy-to-let sector, with 59% of gross buy-to-let lending being remortgage compared to just 27% in the home-owner space.

Nicola Georgiou, Managing Director at Freedom Finance, commented: “Borrowers are continuing to take advantage of the low mortgage rates on offer in February. As interest rates remain at a record low and realistically do not look like they will be rising anytime soon. The increased activity experienced by the buy-to-let market at the start of the year continued into February as landlords looked to complete ahead of the new stamp duty rate introduced at the start of this month.”