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Local quirks paint a different picture

What do we mean by the phrase the UK mortgage market? While it is useful in giving us an aggregate picture of market conditions, it can bear little relation to local conditions.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders doesn’t have the resources to publish local detail, but we recently started publishing a quarterly lending breakdown for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

From this data it is clear there are considerable differences in the markets of the four nations.

According to our statistics, some 42% of purchases in the UK were made by first-time buyers in the first three months of 2012.

Most areas of the UK are reasonably consistent with this figure, but Northern Ireland saw a huge 60%.

So what makes it so different from the national average?

In Northern Ireland, house price dynamics have united a large pool of aspirational buyers with increasingly affordable property. Between 2008 and 2011 prices fell on average 37% according to the Office for National Statistics – the biggest drop in any area of the UK.

Northern Ireland has an abundance of cheap, mainly new, property for first-timers as well as a strong demographic for whom buying at a good price is attractive.

Delve deeper and you find any number of other quirks, driven by local factors. Regional data reminds us that the UK housing market is made up of different markets, each with their own influences.

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