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Quarterly mortgage activity up almost £600m in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

  • 20/08/2019
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Quarterly mortgage activity up almost £600m in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all saw notable increases in mortgage activity in the second quarter of 2019, contrasting with a dip in business in London.


Data from UK Finance showed that the three nations saw combined lending growth of £592m, with Scotland up £373m, Wales rising £137m and Northern Ireland up £82m compared to the period of April to June last year.

All three regions’ increases were driven by higher transaction numbers across the board from first-time buyers, home purchasers and remortgagors.

In Scotland first-time buyers rose 3.5 per cent to 9,160 – the highest figure since Q2 2017 which hit the same number.

There was also a 6.4 per cent rise in home mover mortgages with remortgaging up 15.3 per cent.

Wales saw increases of 6.3 per cent, 1.7 per cent and 7.7 per cent for first-time buyers, homemovers and remortaging respectively.

And Northern Ireland witnessed gains of 4.1 per cent, 4.7 per cent and 16.5 per cent respectively.

Significant gains were also seen when compared with the first three months of 2019, however this appears to match the trend for a busier spring after the slower winter period.


London slowing

In contrast, remortgaging and home mover activity have dragged down the London market.

There were 6,240 new home mover mortgages completed in London in the second quarter of 2019, three per cent fewer than in the same quarter in 2018.

And the 13,030 remortgages completions show a drop of 9.5 per cent, which UK Finance noted followed a period of strong annual growth in remortgaging in the capital during 2018.

Perhaps encouragingly, the number of first-time buyers rose 1.2 per cent to reach 9,960.

However, all this meant that the value of lending completed was down three per cent or £334m.


Not all doom and gloom

Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart national operations director John Phillips noted that while last week’s, UK Finance Mortgage Trends Report revealed falls in remortgaging, first-time buyer and homemover mortgages across the UK, these figures painted a different picture.

“I think this shows two things; firstly, it reveals just how much London impacts the national figures, and that when you take the capital out of the stats, it is a very different picture,” he said.

“Secondly, it shows that perhaps it is not all doom and gloom as we have been led to believe over the past few months.

“When looked at on a quarterly basis – which you could argue reveals more of a longer term trend than monthly figures – activity is actually increasing, and that is great news for the housing market.”

Yopa chief property analyst Mike Scott agreed, adding: “This data confirms that the housing market is slow in London, especially for home movers, but is still performing well in UK regions other than England where prices are much lower and affordability is much better.

“Despite higher salaries in London, the average first-time buyer mortgage is for 3.8 times the borrower’s gross household income, compared with 3.02 times in Northern Ireland, 3.16 times in Scotland and 3.35 times in Wales.

“Yopa expects to see a further narrowing of the north-south divide in house prices, as London and the South East have reached their affordability limits, while there is still some headroom in the rest of the country,” he added.


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