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CML research underscores regional variations in UK housing market

by: Edward Murray
  • 26/09/2016
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CML research underscores regional variations in UK housing market
Research from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has highlighted the fragmented nature of the UK’s housing market, but accepts the practical difficulties of implementing market initiatives at a regional level.

The CML research compared data for the second quarter of this year with the first, and highlighted substantial regional differences between London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The number of first-time buyer loans increased in Wales by 31%, in Scotland by 39%, in Northern Ireland by 18%, but in London by only 3%. Over the same period, lending to movers in Scotland increased by 11%, but it fell by 6% in Wales, by 7% in Northern Ireland, and by 37% in London.

Remortgaging also varies by region. In Northern Ireland, it has been relatively static since the recession, but grew by 25% in the second quarter of this year. In Wales, it increased by 8%, in Scotland by 11%, and in London by 5%.

The CML analysis highlighted how different borrowers also have a different impact in their local markets.

In the second quarter of 2016, for example, first-time buyers borrowed more than movers in all four regions for the first time since the recession. It was the first time since the second quarter of 1999 that first-time buyers had borrowed more than movers in Wales, while in Scotland, it was the first time this had occurred since the first quarter of 2001. But in Northern Ireland and London first-time buyers have more consistently borrowed more than movers since 2010 and 2012 respectively.

According to the CML, government initiatives, whether introduced across the whole of the UK or by devolved administrations, affect markets differently in different locations.

However the CML understood the need for government initiatives to be offered at a national level where possible.

Bernard Clarke (pictured), communications manager at the CML commented: “The difficulty for lenders can arise around complexities of schemes and so generally we favour those that are widely accessible and that aren’t too different from one market to another.

He added: “Clearly there are devolved administrations and so it is possible to make individual schemes, but in general terms I think lenders like those that are widely available and without too many differences, as that makes it easier to engage with and implement them.”

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