First-time buyer numbers up across UK

All regions of the UK saw an increase in first-time buyer activity in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to UK Finance’s latest regional trends data.

Despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty, FTB numbers were up in London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Northern Ireland saw the strongest growth in FTB activity, with 2,440 FTB mortgages completed in the first three months of the year, 11.4 per cent more than in the same quarter last year. Within Northern Ireland the value of remortgages from the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019 rose from £238m to £312m, a 31 per cent rise.

In London, growth was more subdued, with 9,410 new FTB mortgages completed in the first quarter of 2019, up 1.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. The value of new lending for FTBs increased by 1 per cent between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019, from £2.6bn to £2.7bn.

Meanwhile, home-moving activity has slowed in London, with 5,980 new homemover mortgages completed in the capital in the first quarter of 2019, 3.7 per cent fewer than in the same quarter in 2018.

Northern Ireland also saw homemover mortgage numbers fall, with there were 1,490 homemover mortgages completed there in the first quarter of 2019, 0.7 per cent fewer than in the same period last year.

In Scotland, however, homemover mortgage numbers were up over the quarter, with 6,620 mortgages completed in the first quarter of 2019, 6.6 per cent more than in the same period last year. The value of new lending for homemovers between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019 increased by 9 per cent, from £986m to £1.1bn.

Wales saw a smaller increase, with 3,140 new homemover mortgages completed, 1 per cent more than in the same quarter in 2018.

In addition, in Wales the value of new lending for FTBs marginally rose from £409m to £415m between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019, representing a 1.4 per cent rise.

Remortgages in London and Wales were down 1.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively compared to the same period last year, whilst Northern Ireland and Scotland recorded increases of 24.8 per cent and 18.8 per cent.

Furthermore, there were 2,820 remortgages completed in Northern Ireland in the first quarter of the year.

Keith Haggart, managing director of lifetime mortgage provider Responsible Life comments: “It is still business as usual for the capital’s FTBs, as they continue to build a name for themselves as one of the most resolute and economically resilient groups of buyers in the market over the past couple of years.

“The increased activity we are seeing from them in London may look modest, but set against the pretty dramatic decline in home mover mortgages, their determination to transact looks positively sprightly.”

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