There were 10,700 new FTB buyer mortgages completed in London in Q4 2017, equalling Q4 2016. The £3.05bn of new lending was 2.7% more year-on-year.
However, there were 14,500 new homeowner remortgages in the capital in Q4 2017, some 9.8% more than 2016. In value terms the £4.41bn of remortgaging jumped 16.4% year-on-year.
In total, the 56,800 homeowner remortgages in London throughout 2017 is the highest annual figure in eight years.
Meanwhile, the 7,700 home mover mortgages completed in London in the period were 8.5% higher than the previous year, while the £3.07bn of new lending was 12.5% more year-on-year.
Commenting on the data, director of mortgages at UK Finance Jackie Bennett (pictured) said: “London’s mortgage market remains competitive, with strong growth in the number of home movers and remortgaging reaching an eight-year high.
“However, subdued growth in the number of first-time buyers shows that affordability remains a challenge in the capital.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman added: “Disappointingly, it seems that first-time buyers are not taking full advantage of their improved competitiveness over landlords who are struggling with tax and regulatory changes, particularly when it comes to the small flat and house end of the market.
Leaf continued: “It is no surprise that remortgaging numbers are so strong with mortgage rates at record lows and concerns about the possibility of a rate rise – which came in November – and the chance of another in coming months.”
The UK Finance data also showed that the capital was outperformed by other regions in the UK.
The Scottish mortgage market showed strong growth, with FTB buyers growing 3.5% by 8,800, with the £1.01bn of new lending, almost 10% higher than in Q4 2016.
Home mover mortgages grew by 9,100 or 8.3%, with lending value expanding by £1.41bn or 8.5%.
Remortgages grew a significant 17.8%, with 8,600 remortgages equating to £1.05bn of new lending that jumped 18%.
“The mortgage market has shown strong growth in Scotland, with first-time buyers and remortgaging levels at their highest for a decade,” said Carol Anderson, chair of UK Finance’s Scotland mortgage committee.
Anderson added: “Remortgaging has also risen by a fifth compared to the same period in 2016, which demonstrates homeowners are shopping around for suitable mortgage deals,”
Meanwhile, in Wales, FTB mortgages jumped 14.3% by 4,800, with the £0.56bn of new lending up 16.7%.
Home mover mortgages grew 10% by 4,400, with £0.66bn of lending up 11.9%.
Remortgages were also up by 9.5% or 4,600 completions, jumping in value terms by 12.5% or £0.54bn of remortgaging.
“The number of mortgages for first-time buyers is growing at twice the rate of the UK, and clearly shows the positive impact Help to Buy Wales has had on the housing market. This is welcome news for those looking to step on to the housing ladder in Wales,” said Julie-Ann Haines, chair of UK Finance’s Wales mortgage committee.
“The Welsh mortgage market continues to grow at a steady rate, with lending increasing across the board as homeowners continue to take advantage of historically low borrowing rates,” she continued.
Northern Ireland also posted strong figures, with FTB and remortgagors at a ten-year high.
The 2,700 new FTB mortgages represented a 17.4% increase, with the £0.27bn of new lending equating to a 22.7% growth.
New home mover mortgages grew by 1,900 or 18.8%, with the £0.23bn of new lending a 21.1% hike from the year before.
Remortgaging grew by 2,300 or 21.1%, with the £0.24bn of remortgaging a 20% increase from 2016.
Over the whole of 2017, there were 9,700 FTBs and 8,600 remortgages – up 20% and 15% respectively and reaching a ten-year high in those categories.
“The mortgage market in Northern Ireland remains highly competitive, with the number of first-time buyers and remortgagers reaching their highest levels in a decade,” commented Derek Wilson, chair of UK Finance’s Northern Ireland mortgage committee.
Wilson continued: “The strong growth in mortgage activity reflects the fact that prices remain more affordable than the rest of the UK.”