Mortgage market is stronger in Scotland and Wales

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all showing increases in the numbers of both first time buyer and home mover mortgages, but activity is not as strong in London, the latest regional finance figures show.

There were 9,960 new first time buyer mortgages completed in London in the second quarter of 2019, up 1.2% compared to the same quarter in 2018 and 6,240 new home mover mortgages, down 3%, the data from UK Finance shows.

There were 13,030 new home owner remortgages completed in London in the second quarter of 2019, down 9.5% and the UK Finance report points out that this follows a period of strong annual growth in remortgaging in the capital during 2018.

In Scotland there were 9,160 new first time buyer mortgages completed in the second quarter of 2019, up 3.5% compared to the same quarter in 2018 and the highest volume of first time buyers since the second quarter of 2017.

Additionally, there were 9,290 new home mover mortgages completed in Scotland in the second quarter of 2019, up 6.4% and 8,870 new home owner remortgages completed, a rise of 15.3% compared to the same quarter in 2018.

There were 4,080 new first time buyer mortgages completed in Wales in the second quarter of 2019, up 6.3% compared to the same period of 2018 and 3,650 new home mover mortgages, a rise of 1.7%.

The data also shows that there were 4,870 new home owner remortgages completed in Wales in the second quarter of 2019, some 7.7% more than in the same quarter in 2018.

In Northern Ireland there were 2,810 new first time buyer mortgages completed in the second quarter of 2019, a rise of 4.1%, 1,780 new home mover mortgages, up 4.7%, and 2,750 new home owner remortgages completed, up 16.5% compared to the same quarter in 2018.

Mike Scott, chief property analyst at full service estate agent Yopa, pointed out that the regional mortgage trend figures give an indication of likely housing market trends, and this shows where the biggest growth could be.

‘This data confirms that the housing market is slow in London, especially for home movers, but is still performing well in UK regions other than England where prices are much lower and affordability is much better,’ he said.

‘Despite higher salaries in London, the average first time buyer mortgage is for 3.8 times the borrower’s gross household income, compared with 3.02 times in Northern Ireland, 3.16 times in Scotland and 3.35 times in Wales,’ he explained.

‘Yopa expects to see a further narrowing of the North/South divide in house prices, as London and the South East have reached their affordability limits, while there is still some headroom in the rest of the country,’ he added.