Homeowner purchases, which look at people moving home as well as first-time buyers, reached an impressive 50,000 this February, marking the highest level recorded for that month since 2007. This is according to UK Finance's latest mortgage statistics, which show that February saw a welcome uplift in activity overall compared to a year previously.
The data reveals that first-time buyers seem to be taking advantage of the stamp duty cut, with a year-on-year increase in the number of new first-time buyer loans at 2.4% and the value of that new lending up by 2.6%. The size of these mortgage loans also increased, from £132,295 in February 2017 to £138,150 this February – an uplift of 4.4%.
Even more impressive is the number of remortgagors, with 35,400 marking an annual increase of 11.3%, while the value of these loans was up by 11.1% to £6 billion. This is hardly surprising, as the looming spectre of a base rate rise has incentivised many homeowners to remortgage to a better deal, while they're still available.
The buy-to-let sector is also seeing its share of remortgaging activity, with 20.5% more remortgage loans this February. However, last year's regulatory changes still appear to be having an impact on new buy-to-let deals, as this number has dropped by 8.8% year-on-year. It seems that those operating in the buy-to-let market are attempting to secure the best deals for their existing property, while holding off on buying any new homes.
Overall, making sure you have the most competitive mortgage deal is a good idea for anyone, whether first-time buyer or landlord, as mortgage rates are likely to rise next month. If homeowners have heeded this warning already, we will certainly see even more growth when UK Finance's figures for March are released.
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