According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ (CML) December monthly lending figures, the value of house purchases for first-time buyers reached £45m in the last month of 2014 compared to £23.9m in December 2008.
Buy-to-let lending fared similarly, with the number of loans up 4% on quarter three and 16% on the same period in 2013, a total of 54,000. Overall the value of loans reached £7.7bn in the final quarter of the year.
CML director general Paul Smee (pictured) said improving economic conditions and government schemes such as Help to Buy had boosted first-time buyer lending figures.
“In 2014, the mortgage market saw unprecedented change with the introduction of major regulatory reform but the market has adjusted and kept its stability throughout.
“There will be challenges in 2015, including preparation work on the European Directive implementation and a general election potentially bringing new housing policies to be put in place. But the industry is stronger than a year ago and ready to meet the challenges going forward,” he added.
Despite the success of lending in these schemes, the CML’s data showed that the number of loans advanced to homeowners, first-time and existing, totalled 173,200 in December 2014, a decline of 5% compared to quarter three.
Loan value dropped by 8% compared to the third quarter to £28.8bn, but was up 2% compared to the same period in 2013.
Lending for remortgaging experienced a slump with just 73,100 loans advanced in the fourth quarter of 2014, down 13% compared to the same period in 2013.
Danny Waters, CEO of Enterprise Finance, said: “Remortgaging activity continues to decline on both a monthly and yearly basis and hasn’t actually registered an annual improvement since the summer. This is despite a raft of attractive products on offer and the Bank Base Rate at a historic low and murmurs it may fall further still.
“This would suggest that homeowners are gambling on further reductions or are trapped on their current home loan; possibly because their original product is not compatible with current affordability requirements.”
He added: “It also suggests that some homeowners wanting to access capital are already on a competitive mortgage rate and don’t want to jeopardise this by remortgaging on to a potentially less favourable rate. Such individuals are considering alternative methods of finance such as secured loans.”