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Growth continues in UK mortgage market, including buy to let

Mortgage market growth in the UK is continuing with the number of first time buyer mortgages completed in July up by 5.8% compared to the same month in 2018, the latest industry figures show.

The data from UK Finance also shows that the number of home mover mortgages were up by 1.4% and buy to let mortgages are also growing, up by 5.5% year on year after several years of declines following tax changes.

There were 20,760 new remortgages with additional borrowing in July 2019, down 7.1% year on year with the average additional amount borrowed at £55,500. There were 20,380 new pound for pound remortgages, down 12.9%. UK Finance says this has been driven in part by a fall in the number of fixed rate mortgages coming to an end and the growing popularity of product transfers.

There were 5,800 new buy to let home purchase mortgages completed and 15,100 remortgages in the buy to let sector, up 2% compared to the same month in 2018.

‘It appears that no matter what happens in Westminster, and who can predict what might happen next, that people are still moving or managing to get on the housing ladder,’ said Richard Pike, Phoebus Software sales and marketing director .

‘With an increased number of longer term fixed rate mortgages that have been taken out since the referendum, it is unsurprising that remortgage figures are down. Until the uncertainty that is being felt across the country is over, one way or another, that trend is likely to continue as borrowers look for some kind of certainty, at least for their finances,’ he pointed out.

According to Adrian Moloney, sales director at OneSavings Bank, a number of buyers abandoning the wait and see approach. ‘This has been helped by mortgage rates remaining as competitive as they have been for some time, alongside high employment and improved earnings. In this market, there are bargains to be had and it seems some are making the most of these now,’ he explained.

‘However, the real problems that we face in the housing market will continue to exist long after Brexit is out of the way. We need a robust plan to boost activity in the market and this has to start with increased house building. Only once we fix the inherent supply/demand issues will we see activity hit previous high levels again,’ he added.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, is pleased that the buy to let sector is demonstrating resilience, despite significant tax and regulatory changes. Investors are still keen on bricks and mortar where they can find the right opportunity.