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It seems that homeowners have taken our frequent warnings about upcoming mortgage rate rises to heart, as January saw 49,800 new homeowner remortgages completed, according to data from UK Finance. This is the highest number of remortgages since November 2008.
January's figure also marks an increase of 19.1% year-on-year and an impressive monthly increase of 58.1%. Meanwhile, the monthly value of remortgaging, at £8.9 billion, increased by 20.3% compared with January 2017.
"While an increase in remortgaging is expected in the New Year as people put their household finances in order, this strong growth is above the seasonal fluctuations we tend to see at this time of year," said Jackie Bennett, director of Mortgages at UK Finance, further suggesting this is partly due to "a number of fixed rate mortgages coming to an end while borrowers locked into attractive deals amid expectations of further interest rate rises."
Given that standard variable rates have been moving upwards, it's hardly surprising that borrowers coming to the end of a fixed rate deal will look to remortgage rather than see their monthly repayments go up considerably. But it's not only remortgagors that were active in January.
UK Finance's data, released today, also shows that the number of new first-time buyers stood at 24,500 in January, down from 30,800 in December but up from 22,900 a year earlier. Similarly, the number of home movers decreased to 25,000 on a monthly basis, but this was still more than were recorded the previous January.
Jackie suggests that the monthly dip is normal following the festive period, but the year-on-year growth is an encouraging sign. The average first-time buyer, according to the figures, is 30 with a household income of £41,000, while the average home mover is 39 and has a gross household income of £55,000.
If you don't see yourself reflected in these averages, don't panic. For first-time buyers specifically, the average loan-to-value may have been 84.6% in January (slightly up from December), but our own figures show that there's record-high choice in the 95% loan-to-value market.
Regardless of whether you're a remortgagor, mover or first-timer, why not have a look at our mortgage charts to see if there's a deal for you
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