View more on these topics

Mortgage Figures Show Improvement

The latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, showing a modest improvement in the number of loans month-on-month is a welcome sight.

What is more striking is the fact that loans for house purchases have increased by 49% year-on-year, albeit from a low base.

Given the amount of activity we have seen in the last few weeks, I would expect to see this figure increase further in the coming months as the traditional Spring uplift filters through.

Taken together with the latest report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, that says that the number of sellers has hit the highest level since May 2007 it would seem that a healthy property market is returning.

However,  the fact that many people seem a little non-plussed about the forthcoming general election has caused a fair amount of uncertainty in the property market, which means we may see figures tail off slightly in the immediate run-up and aftermath of the election.

The good news, however, is that competition is returning to the market and there are now some very competitive rate offerings especially where fixed rates are concerned which are starting to attract remortgage customers back into the market.

With two-year fixed rates now available from as low as 2.98% and with the lowest Bank Variable Rate at 2.5% it is more than realistic to expect that rates will have to rise by more than 0.5% over the next two years.

Once the election, and the World Cup, is out of the way, whilst I do not expect activity to jump significantly, I do expect moderate growth in activity for the remainder of the year as long as mortgage funding remains no less available than it is at present.

No doubt the recent changes in stamp duty for First-Time Buyers will assist and it is this key demographic that needs to be nourished in order for the housing market as a whole to flourish.

Recommended

Northern Rock revamps website

Northern Rock has launched a new direct website which it says is designed to make it easier for customers to find a Northern Rock mortgage and learn more about the purchase process.

Home owners believe prices will keep rising

Four out of five home owners think that property prices will continue to climb in the next six months, according to the Housing Market Sentiment Survey from Zoopla.co.uk.

IAIN MALLON, DIRECTOR OF PROTECTION MARKETING, AXA

Help FTBs on the road to protection

In his Budget chancellor Alistair Darling announced an increase in the threshold at which Stamp Duty applies to house purchases. First-time buyers buying a house for £250,000 or less will not have to pay the tax. This is expected to stimulate the housing market at the lower end as part of the climb out of […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up