According to the latest figures from UK Finance, overall gross mortgage lending rose 4% from £59bn in the first quarter of 2017 to £61.4bn in the first three months of 2018 – driven by remortgaging.
However, March was a drag on the market with the total of £20.5bn lent being 2.3% lower than last year.
Home purchases slump
Notably, home purchase approvals for the first three months of 2018 were down 14% compared to the same period last year, from 116,275 to 100,559.
In March this figure was down 21% compared to 12 months previously.
Overall, all mortgage approvals were down by 6% in the three-month period, from 219,955 to 203,528.
Remortgage approvals were largely unchanged, up just 1%, while other mortgage loans fell down 6%.
Stable ongoing market
Hearthstone Investments fund manager Alan Collett said the decrease in the gross mortgage figures was not unexpected following the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) data which saw a continued fall in new instructions.
“However, the rising trend in mortgage approvals for the first three months of 2018 is positive news and the Office of National Statistics UK House Price Index recorded over 1.2 million transactions in 2017 and over 100,000 per month in January and February, suggesting a stable ongoing market with opportunities for buyers,” he said.
Richard Pike, Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, says “This morning’s estimate for gross lending is encouraging compared to the drop in February.
“It’s easy to look at the figures month by month and see that lending is down on the same month last year. However, when you compare the first quarter of 2018 to 2017 lending is actually up 4%.
“We are obviously nowhere near the dizzying heights of 2007/8, but in the grand scheme of things we are on a fairly even keel. House purchase is the one element of the market that is proving difficult, but that is more likely down to supply than sentiment.”