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New data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) suggests that mortgage approvals are on the rise, after the CML recorded robust gross mortgage lending throughout September and October.
The CML’s latest report has revealed that gross mortgage lending hit £20.6billion last month, up from £20.5bn in September.
Year-on-year, however, gross mortgage lending was down in October by £1.2bn.
Mohammad Jamei, CML senior economist, said: “Housing market sentiment is holding up well, with demand still strong. This has led to a ‘pick up’ in approvals, as expected.
“The more pressing issue is on the supply side, where the lack of private sellers continues to be an obstacle for would-be borrowers.
“For this reason, we expect lending in the months ahead to be driven more by re-mortgaging activity and less by house purchases. Re-mortgaging will be helped by competitively priced mortgage deals, which are encouraging borrowers to refinance.”
Henry Woodcock, of financial software and property body IRESS, added: “Over the last four years, gross mortgage lending in October has shown a trend to be strong, with last year’s lending figures the highest since July 2008.
“Recent market conditions and indicators all showed positive signs, so the expectation was that the market would continue grow, which it has, but surprisingly, only by a very small amount”.
Property body Rightmove is calling upon Chancellor Philip Hammond to use his forthcoming Autumn Statement to offer greater support for Britain’s first-time buyers, after a study revealed rising ‘negative sentiment’ amidst those trying to get on the property ladder.
Rightmove’s study revealed that Britons aged 21-24 and adults living at home with their parents were growing increasingly pessimistic about their property prospects.
In a bid to support would-be homeowners and ensure that more affordable homes to buy are built in the right locations, Rightmove has suggested that the Chancellor should consider the following:
- Releasing suitable public land at below market value.
- Relaxing and speeding up planning.
- Introducing new tax breaks to further incentivise landowners to sell up.
The calls come after the property body’s research suggested that would-be homeowners were finding themselves priced out of the market, with the average price of a ‘smaller property’ on the rise by approximately 8.2 per cent (or £15,000) each year.
Rightmove said that this was representative of approximately double the average percentage growth rate in other market sectors.
Overall, the price of property coming to market recorded a resilient seasonal fall of 1.1 per cent at the beginning of this month, Rightmove added.
Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Righmove, said: “Price resilience is not good news for cash-strapped aspiring first-time buyers, and in spite of the more subdued time of year, the smaller properties that they typically target have increased in price this month – the only market sector to show an increase.
“Compared to 12 months ago, the price of newly-marketed properties with two bedrooms or fewer is up by over eight per cent, twice the rate of the sectors containing properties with three bedrooms or more.
“In the sprint to get onto the housing ladder, wage inflation to help meet lender affordability ratios and to save for the larger deposits required is being comprehensively outrun by price increases.
“Short-term options that might be top of a first-time buyer’s list would be a Stamp Duty holiday exclusive to them. However, there are dangers to increasing demand unless this is matched by policies to improve supply, and more radical steps need to be taken to remove some of the barriers preventing more affordable homes to buy and rent from being built in the right locations.”