Scotland has cheapest mortgages

Home movers in Scotland needed to use less of their income to cover their mortgage interest than anywhere else in the UK in Q2 2010, data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders shows.

The proportion fell to 9.3%, the lowest share anywhere in the UK since 1996.

CML data shows that 12,700 loans for house purchase, worth £1.4bn, were advanced in Scotland in Q2, up from 9,800, worth £1.1bn, in Q1.

This was a larger increase than the rise seen in the UK as a whole but Q1 had been artificially weak across the whole country due to the end of the stamp duty holiday at the turn of the year.

House purchase loans were also up from 11,500, worth £1.2bn, on the same period last year.

First-time buyers took out 4,700 loans, worth £419m, in Scotland from April to May, up 18% in volume and 27% in value from January to March.

First-time buyer deposits shrunk in for the second quarter running – they needed on average 21% deposit compared to 23% in Q1.

In the UK as a whole there have been recent signs that the easing has slowed, so we do not necessarily expect this trend to continue next quarter.

Home movers in Scotland took out 8,000 loans, worth £1bn, in Q2 – up 36% in volume and 34% in value from the first quarter and 11% in volume and 15% in value on the second quarter in 2009.

Home movers saw a modest decrease in the size of deposits with the average being 29%, and a slight increase in income multiples to 2.67.

Reflecting a similar trend across the UK, remortgaging activity in Scotland remains extremely subdued.

The 8,000 loans for remortgage, worth £800m, were up 14% in both volume and value from January to March, but down 11% from a year ago.

CML Scotland policy consultant Kennedy Foster says: “There have been some positive signs for the housing and mortgage markets in Scotland in recent months with increased activity and reduced deposits and it’s encouraging to see that for home movers, mortgage interest payments as a share of income currently cost the least out of any region of the UK.

“But the hard times are not completely behind us yet. Regulatory and funding pressures will affect Scotland as much as the rest of the UK and the upward trend we have seen in the second quarter may not continue to the end of the year.”