With lending 9.8% higher than the same time last year, the prospect of rate rises and diminishing fears over Brexit appear to have stirred up the market.
Eric Leenders, managing director, Personal Finance at UK Finance said: “Gross mortgage lending in January increased by almost 10% compared to the same period last year and was higher than the monthly average, as customers took advantage of mortgage deals on offer at the end of 2017.”
Jonathan Sealey, CEO at Hope Capital, said: “This rise suggests that the nervousness around Brexit negotiations has subsided and people are willing to start borrowing again, and while buy-to-let did take a bit of a knock as a result of the new regulations, specialist lenders are still seeing business come through as they work hard to offer clients a more specialist service.”
Imminent rate rises
Last week, Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney hinted again that interest rates are set to rise again in the coming months.
In a written report to the Treasury Select Committee Carney, he reiterated a previous warning that interest rates are to rise faster than previously expected.
Shaun Church, director at mortgage broker Private Finance, said: “Those with remortgaging still on their “to-do list” should act soon to ensure they secure the best possible rate. With inflation rising, savings stagnating and wage growth slowing, mortgage rates are one of the few market conditions currently working in the consumers favour.”
John Phillips, Just Mortgages and Spicer haart group operations director, said the stamp duty cut introduced for first-time buyers in November may also have played a part in the reasonable figures.
“Thanks to the help to buy scheme and record low rates, 2017 saw the highest number of first-time buyers in a decade, and with such a positive start to the year, I think 2018 could be even better.”