Overall, Equifax said mortgage sales for the UK fell by £2.62bn in April, down 16% on the previous month.
Every region across the UK witnessed a slump in sales. The North and the Yorkshire region led the way with the steepest drop of 18.5%, followed closely by London and the Home Counties, with sales falling by 17.5% and 17.0% respectively.
It follows Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) data for March, showing home buyers were up 27% on February (though down 12% on March 2016). The CML also said buy to let had seen month on month increases of 4% in value and 8% in volume.
However, the trade body said appetite for moving has been lower, with remortgaging proving more popular among existing homeowners. HMRC figures out today also show a decrease in residential property transactions – falling 3.2% between March 2017 and April 2017
John Driscoll, director at Equifax Touchstone, said March’s strong performance has not been sustained.
“Mortgage figures have nose dived following a strong first quarter, with every single region experiencing a notable slump in sales. Government measures to cool buy-to-let property sales, including the phased cuts to mortgage interest tax relief which started on 1 April, have no doubt played a role in diminishing sales figures last month.”
He added that this intervention, together with election uncertainty means more volatility is likely in the coming months.
“The big question is where figures will go from here – this time of year is traditionally fairly buoyant for house-buying, but there may be too much uncertainty on the horizon to see an immediate rebound,” he said.
Equifax Touchstone covers the majority of the intermediated lending market. It said the average value of a residential mortgage in April was £198,347 (2016: £192,255) and £153,900 for buy-to-let (2016: £158,335).