Lending market stagnates, says Bank of England
Wednesday 4th July 2012
The number of mortgage approvals for house purchase in May was 51,098 – slightly down from the 51,627 recorded in April.
Remortgages also dipped very slightly from 30,799 in April to 29,244 in May, according to new Bank of England figures.
Mutual lenders claimed to have increased their share of the market. Gross mortgage lending by building societies rose sharply in May to £2.8bn , up from £1.8bn for the same month a year ago. Mortgage approvals by mutuals were up 67% in May, year on year. Adrian Coles, director general of the Building Societies Association, said that building societies were open for business to all types of borrower, and that 24% of new loans in May were to first-time buyers.
The figure appears to be at odds with the National Association of Estate Agents, which said that the number of sales to first-time buyers fell to its lowest level in seven months during May.
The NAEA reported that sales to first-time buyers in May slumped to just 17% of overall sales – down from 24% in April, and the lowest proportion in over six months.
Last October, the NAEA said first-time buyers made up just 16% of the market.
Prior to that, the figure had not been as low for over three years, at the height of the financial crisis in December 2008 when first-time buyers were responsible for just 10% of the market.
The number of house hunters registering at estate agency branches across the country also decreased, says the NAEA, with 274 per branch in May compared with 294 in April.
However, sales remained stable across the property market for a third consecutive month in May, with an average of seven per branch.
NAEA president Mark Hayward said: “Sadly, as the NAEA predicted, the Government’s removal of the crucial Stamp Duty holiday for properties priced at £250,000 and under has hit the fragile first-time buyer market hard.”
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