Reports from the mortgage industry suggest that, despite intentions to the contrary, mortgage lending has fallen considerably during the first month of 2013. Lenders are looking to boost their business with many different deals, but a 9% fall in January was not the intention. Lending on other loans has also fallen notably, with a reported fall of 3% over the same period last year. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) is the source of the latest information and, despite the fall in lending, insists that it expects a boost in the market in the next few months
Research has also uncovered a price war in the lending market, and the claim is that mortgage rates are at their lowest for almost quarter of a century. A typical rate now would be around 4.11%; compare this with a rate of almost 13% in 1989 and it is clear that there is much to be said for the rates as they stand right now. Lenders are making much of these best ever rates, and it could be a promising sign for the industry if they continue to fall.
The CML is also reporting an increase in the number of first time buyers entering the housing market, with a claim that figures for such are at their highest level for some five years taking last year’s numbers as a guide. Also, there are signs that smaller deposits are more readily accepted, with one in 40 borrowers taking a 95% mortgage, up from one in 100 at this point one year ago.
Despite the fall in numbers in January the outlook is optimistic, with one industry analyst – Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients – claiming:
“For a market that rests on confidence, optimism in the housing market continues, despite the blip in January figures. The mortgage market is still constrained when you compare it with what it was at the height of the housing boom but it is showing some signs of improvement.”
Analysts will keep a close eye on the state of the market in the months ahead.