Research carried out by Equifax Touchstone, analysing the intermediary marketplace, has revealed that Northern Ireland had the highest regional mortgage sales growth in the UK in March, with a 21% rise on February.
London and Wales weren’t far behind, with sales rising by 18.8% and 17.2% respectively. By contrast, the North West witnessed the lowest growth of 12%.
Taken together, mortgage sales for the UK leapt to £16.4 billion in March, a rise of 15.7% on February. Buy-to-let sales rose by 17.4% to £2.7 billion, while residential sales increased by 15.3% to £13.6 billion.
“The first quarter of 2017 has shaped up to be a strong few months for the mortgage market, with a notable increase once again in mortgage sales across the UK in March,” John Driscoll, Director at Equifax Touchstone, said.
“New record low five year fixed-rate mortgages and signs of a further drop in rates in April, a time historically associated with seasonal house hunting, indicates we may be in luck for another positive month ahead.”
He warns, however, that with the recent triggering of Article 50 and the recently announced snap general election for June, the country is set for a bumpy political ride in 2017. “It will be interesting to see if the market will react to the impending political uncertainty or if this strong upward trend in mortgage sales will prove resilient,” he added.
Equifax Touchstone’s data, which covers the majority of the intermediated lending market, revealed that the average value of a residential mortgage in March was £196,994 (up from £190,203 in 2016) and £151,759 for a buy-to-let (down from £157,529 in 2016).