John Phillips, group operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, says the latest UK Finance figures show that Brexit uncertainty continues hit consumer confidence, and that is having a significant impact on the housing market and it will probably not start to recover until summer 2019: “Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. Whether it is Brexit itself, or, more likely, the uncertainty it brings, one thing is for sure – it is impacting the mortgage market.
“We have seen purchasing take a real hit over the past few months, and this is mirrored by UK Finances’ lending figures today, which show first-time buyer mortgages are down 4.5% on last year and home mover mortgages are down 8.4%.
“In our business, remortgage is by far the strongest area of the business and is actually rising. The UK Finance figures show a drop, but it is a very small one 0.6%, which suggests remortgage is the strongest area of lending across the market. Buy to let has seen the biggest hit – an 18.8% drop, and while market uncertainty is sure to have affected this area too, it has probably been hit harder due to all the recent changes in the BTL market over the past 18 months.
“I think that basically we will see this slow down continue, especially in the purchase market, until we have some sort of stability back. The Prime Minister said today that they are in the ‘final stages’ of negotiations, but still, no deal has been reached, and there is a real possibility of a no deal Brexit. Whatever happens, I think it will continue to affect the market until at least March. Then we will have a period of ‘wait and see’ when people start to get their heads around what, if any, impact the final deal has. So in all likelihood, it will probably be summer next year before we see the market start to recover.”