Industry responds to UK Finance mortgage lending figures

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Industry experts have aired their views on this morning’s figures from UK Finance that home buying edged downwards in May.

Housing holding its own

Mortgage Advice Bureau head of lending Brian Murphy says: “For anyone who was waiting for a ‘market hits the rocks’ set of data in May, it’s clear from the data that, to the contrary, the UK housing market is holding its own and is resilient to the political and economic climate.

“Of course, the underlying factors of lack of stock and ongoing buyer demand outstripping supply in many areas does assist in terms of underpinning current values, but it’s against that very backdrop that, with volumes of purchases maintaining current momentum, we can see the market ticking along pretty positively.”

Steady as she goes for buy-to-let

OneSavings Bank sales director Adrian Moloney says: “It’s steady as she goes for total buy-to-let lending.

“Purchase demand has been affected by a raft of recent tax and regulatory changes, which came into play this year, discouraging some amateur landlords.

“However, remortgaging activity is buoyant and its popularity is unlikely to wane in the face of landlords’ growing tax burdens while many can still capitalise on record low interest rates to reduce their outgoings.

“As the industry looks ahead to PRA II, we may see somewhat of a surge in activity as investors look to complete deals before further changes come into play for portfolio landlords.”

Mortgage rates have to rise

LMS chief executive Andy Knee says: “May’s surge in remortgaging activity, according to the CML, is supported by LMS research which reveals remortgage transactions increased by 8 per cent between April and May.

 “Pre-General Election confidence in a decisive Conservative party victory and an assumed subsequent period of economic stability contributed to the remortgaging increase.

“The probable Bank rate hold will keep mortgage rates low for the time being, but this won’t last forever. Wise remortgagors are already provisioning for a rate rise further down the line by taking advantage of current low rates and fixing for longer.”

Market still there for buyers

London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman Jeremy Leaf says: “These figures are interesting but a little historic and not particularly reliable because they reflect the rather subdued conditions after the introduction of stamp duty surcharge this time last year.

“‘However, what they do show is that the market is still there for buyers and sellers who are prepared to negotiate hard although transactions are taking longer and there isn’t the volume of buying interest we were seeing several months ago.”