Help to Buy will give the property market "va-va-voom"

11 October 2013

The recovery in the property market is strengthening with residential mortgage up 7% in August, a 15% rise on August 2012, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The number of first-time buyer numbers increased by a third over the year to 27,100 in August, up 7% compared to July.

There was more modest growth in the number of home movers, with 34,200 loans taken out in August - a 5% annual increase and 7% monthly rise; while remortgage lending fell by 11% annually and 7% compared to July.

The number of buy-to-let (BTL) loans also fell, from 15,200 in July to 14,900 loans in August, but the number of BTL loans for house purchase rose by 4% over the period to 7,900.

Buy-to-let remortgage lending dipped slightly as well, to 6,900 loans in August, compared to 7,200 in July.
Gross UK mortgage lending (which includes loans for commercial property) was up 28% year-on-year in August at £16.4 billion, but was down 2% on July's figure.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: "The healthy growth in all lending areas compared to the same time last year is indicative of more confidence in the market.

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"The high number of borrowers, in particular first-time buyers, opting for fixed rates reflects the attractive pricing currently on products which can provide helpful stability to borrowers for the next few years."

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, added: "Mortgage lending is increasing at a rapid rate – and that's before Help to Buy 2 even kicks in. When it does take effect, we could see a dramatic recovery the likes of which have never been seen before.

"The Funding for Lending scheme - which encouraged banks to lend more to borrowers with small deposits - lit the blue touchpaper of the housing market recovery. Help to Buy will give it real va-va-voom."
He believes Help to Buy is badly needed to help make deposits more affordable across the country. "First-time buyer levels and house purchase lending are still well below their historic levels. Wages and incomes in the North are dashing dreams of homeownership. In the South, where prices are much higher, even normal people with decent jobs can't raise the gargantuan deposits required for a first home.

"As long as it is complimented by more house building, which will help keep house price rises under control, then Help to Buy will only be a good thing for the country."

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