May 18 2013 Latest news:
Adam Aiken, Editor
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Mortgage lending has recorded its seventh consecutive month of year-on-year growth, with further evidence that first-time buyers are rushing to complete deals ahead of the end of the stamp-duty holiday.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said £10.7bn was lent in February – a rise of 14pc rise on the same month in 2011.
A two-year stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers buying homes worth between £125,000 and £250,000 ends this Saturday, and it is thought this looming deadline has prompted a recent surge of interest buyers.
“Although a seasonal decline is expected over the winter months, our forward estimates suggest that February was the seventh month in a row of higher year-on-year lending,” said CML chief economist Bob Pannell.
“This indicates that lending for house purchase remains brisk in advance of the ending of the stamp duty concession.”
He added: “The launch of the Newbuy scheme [for first-time buyers] is an important addition to lenders’ toolkit in addressing the various needs of would-be borrowers.
“The scheme has the potential to offset the dip in first-time buyer activity that the end of the stamp-duty concession may produce.”
Gerry Dupree, director of Dupree Mortgage Services, said: “For two months in a row, the imminent end of the stamp-duty holiday has clearly injected a dash of urgency into the first-time buyer market.
“There’s a good chance that the momentum created will now continue into spring, especially as the Newbuy scheme breathes some much-needed life into the new-build property market.
“Many mortgage lenders are still bruised and wary, but the return of 95pc LTV loans shows a genuine willingness to lend. And as the mortgage market emerges from hibernation, property demand is slowly picking up.
“Many would-be buyers have been deferring their purchases in the hope that things would get better, but they are starting to realise that life has to go on and are finally starting to commit to a move.”
Michael Coogan, of Deloitte, said: “The new mortgage figures in the first quarter of 2012 have been buoyed in advance of the removal of the stamp-duty exemption. The eyes of the mortgage industry will be on whether the budget contains measures to maintain this stimulus, and support the government’s housing strategy to increase new house building and transaction numbers through the rest of the year.”