The Council of Mortgage Lenders this week said total mortgage lending was five per cent higher in April than March at £12.2bn.
Commenting on the data, Bien Media client Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘Growth in the housing market is steady rather than spectacular and certainly not back at the levels seen at the height of the housing boom. However, the situation continues to improve. Buyers are gaining confidence and Funding for Lending is resulting in cheaper mortgage rates. Critically, lenders are also loosening criteria which is making it easier for buyers to get a loan in the first place.
‘There continues to be a welcome rise in the number of first-time buyers, with more lending being done at modestly higher loan-to-values. Help to Buy should help boost their number once the details have been ironed out.’
He added: ‘Remortgaging gained some ground in April but one would still expect to see more of this, given the rock-bottom rates now available. It may be that borrowers are sat on attractive reversion rates or standard variable rates so don’t wish to remortgage, or are trapped because of tighter criteria or lack of equity in their homes so can’t switch. There may also be borrowers holding out for even better rates. However, borrowers should look at rates in an historical context – these are the cheapest rates ever seen and even if they do edge a little lower, snapping one up now might be a good move. Don’t assume they will be around for ever.’