Conflicting reports into the state of the housing market were published last week as Connells argued first time buyers activity was at a six-year high March while e.surv said borrower demand was in a sustained decline.
According to e.surv the number of loans approved for house purchase fell from 51,653 in February to 48,200 in March. The number of approvals on typical first-time buyers property – those valued under £125,000 – fell from 11,880 to 11,568 over the same period of time.
But Connells argues that March represents the seventh consecutive month of annual growth for first-time buyers. First time buyer activity in March was the strongest for six years, as 26 per cent monthly growth brought the number of first time buyers to the highest level since March 2007
E.surv chartered surveyors director Richard Sexton says: “The mortgage market is beginning to regress. It ended last year very strongly – with five consecutive months of increasing house purchase lending and more loans to first-time buyers – but lending has fallen during every month in 2013. One month could be a blip. Two months could be coincidence. But three consecutive months of falls in house purchase lending indicates the market has gone into reverse gear.”
Connells corporate services director John Bagshaw says: “Improvements are filtering through to more first timers too. Better competition at higher loan-to-value ratios is starting to make mortgages more affordable for first time buyers. The expectation that Bank rates will stay low for many years is also cementing low interest rates, but the biggest change is a calmer approach to the risk from smaller deposits.”
The most recent survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on the state of the housing market found the percentage of surveyors in England and Wales reporting price rises in the three months ending March was the highest on record since June 2010.
All Types of Mortgages managing director Dale Jannels says that individual surveyors are only going to have figures from whoever is instructing them.
And with the UK’s largest lender Lloyds Banking Group for example will only use its own inhouse surveyor Colleys, these types of figures will always be skewed..
He says: ”The numbers are obviously dependent on who you are dealing with so its a case of one firm only seeing one side and vice versa.”