Mortgage market gets off to ‘surprisingly strong’ start in 2019

The mortgage market got off to a strong start to the year for first-time buyers and home movers.

Data from banking trade body UK Finance shows there were 25,100 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in January, up 4.6% annually, while home movers saw a 2.8% annual increase in completions to 25,300.

UK Finance said this suggests that the residential mortgage market has had a strong start to the year, despite ongoing economic uncertainty.

However, it wasn’t such good news for landlords, with buy-to-let loan completions down 1.8% annually to 5,500.

Mike Scott, chief property analyst for Yopa, said: “This shows a surprisingly strong start to the year in the housing market.

“Home buyers seem to be ignoring the political uncertainty and getting on with their purchases, which is setting up 2019 to have similar levels of activity to the previous few years.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “The continuing trend shown in these figures of first-time buyers taking the place of investors at the vital lower-priced end of the market is very welcome and confirms what we have seen on the ground lately.

“Further confirmation of resilience among home owners who are getting on with buying is also encouraging.

“However, this report, like others, highlights once again the missed opportunity of building on modest gains that the Chancellor failed to take in his Spring Statement, particularly while the Brexit fog remains.

“The market is crying out for additional help at the bottom and encouragement of transactions throughout, as well as more help for tenants which would improve the balance between supply and demand in the medium and longer term.”

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