UK Finance Mortgage Trends – comment

Commenting on today’s UK Finance mortgage trends, John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart said: “For some time now it’s been difficult to be sure how much the figures have been affected by the uncertainty around Brexit. Even if the situation is clearer by the end of this month – and that itself still seems to be up in the air – that won’t show up until at least the New Year.

“First-time buyer mortgages showed a small increase, reflecting the continued strong demand for getting on the housing ladder, as well as incentives like Help to Buy. But the number of homemover mortgages showed a fairly steep fall – 5.5% year on year – suggesting that there are problems further up the housing ladder.

“I’ve been saying for some time that the Government needs to look again at the heavy incidence of stamp duty on higher value properties, which acts as a tax on transactions and blocks the smooth functioning of the market. Hopefully the Chancellor will use the Budget pencilled in for 6 November to do just that.

“Pound-for-pound remortgaging has fallen year on year for the third month running but this comes as no surprise now: the last few years have seen people increasingly locking in low rates for five years rather than two or three, so we are likely to see a lull in remortgage activity until the first wave of that trend breaks, probably in 2023.”