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Small deposit buyers increase share of UK mortgage market

Small deposit buyers were given a New Year boost, with their share of the mortgage market increasing in January 2017.

Small deposit borrowers – often first-time buyers or second steppers – are defined as those with a 15% deposit or less. At the start of this year, they represented 18.7% of the mortgage market, according to research carried out by chartered surveyors firm e.surv.

This was up on December 2016 (when small deposit borrowers only held 16.1% of the overall market) and substantially ahead of the figure seen in January 2016, when these borrowers only accounted for 14.5% of the total market.


Between December and January, the overall size of the mortgage market stayed steady, with 67,430 house purchase loans approved by lenders, just slightly down on the 67,505 approvals recorded in December.

“Typically, the new year heralds a fresh start for those considering taking out a mortgage, and small deposit buyers are now taking more share of the market than both last month and the same point a year ago,” Richard Sexton, Director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said.

“First-time buyers are benefiting from historically low mortgage rates and this is helping more people onto the property ladder for the first time. Government schemes such as the Help to Buy ISA are also providing support for those still saving for their deposit.”

Despite the uplift in small deposit buyers, the mortgage market is still dominated by those with larger deposits – defined as those with a deposit of 60% or more – which represented some 35.4% of all mortgage approvals made in January. But while the larger deposit buyer market was down in January from the levels seen in December and November, the small deposit market rose substantially, with 12,609 small deposit buyers getting their mortgage applications approved in the first month of 2017, compared to the 10,868 recorded in December.

“The government is making all the right noises in terms of increasing housing supply, but words need to turn into action if the housing market is to work for all,” Sexton added. “A boost to the number of first-time buyer homes will contribute to getting the whole market moving.” 


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