First-time buyer activity strong across UK but London market cools
Latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show the number of first-time buyers in Q1 2017 was up in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by 23%, 13% and 19% respectively. However, in England first-time buyer activity fell by 8% year-on-year.
The fall in new buyers is a result of cooling activity in the London market where the number of first-time buyer loans in Q1 was down 3% on the previous year.
With London excluded from England’s figures the number of first time buyers is actually up by 10.8% year-on-year.
Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “Home buyer activity in London has fallen for the second quarter in a row. A traditional seasonal dip in activity in the winter months is expected, but it has been more pronounced in London compared to the UK overall as persisting supply and affordability issues continue exerting some restraint on growth. We do expect activity will pick up as we go into the summer months.
“By contrast, remortgage activity was at an eight-year high in London. Attractive mortgage deals aided by low interest rates appear to have sparked a resurgence in activity that has seen consecutive growth year-on-year every quarter for three years.”
Remortgage activity in Scotland totalled £940m, up 9% on the fourth quarter and 21% on the same quarter last year. Wales saw remortgage activity climb by 9% on the fourth quarter and 21% on the same quarter last year to £510m while Northern Ireland saw the total amount of remortgages unchanged on the fourth quarter at £200m, but up 18% on the same quarter last year.