CML expects drop in lending after Stamp Duty holiday surge in March

The Council of Mortgage Lenders is expecting a drop of in lending after a surge at the end of the Stamp Duty holiday in March.

CML data shows lending to first-time buyers rocketed 74% in March compared to February as first-timers took out 24,000 loans, 57% higher than the same month in 2011.

By value first-time buyers took out loans worth £3bn, up 76% from the previous month and 67% from March last year.

First-time buyers accounted for 42% of total house purchase loans, the highest proportion since 2001, with 98% taking out repayment mortgages.

More than six in 10 first time buyers took advantage of the holiday on homes valued between £125,000 and £250,000 compared to an average of around 50% since 2006.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, says: “We expected this significant increase in borrowing for March because of the Stamp Duty holiday.

“However, if lending follows the same pattern as after previous Stamp Duty concessions, we will likely see a drop in activity in the next few months.

“It will take some time before we can judge whether other initiatives such as the NewBuy scheme and the reinvigorated right to buy will compensate for this effect.”

Although Stamp Duty only applied to first-time buyers the CML says there was a knock on effect to other house purchasers.

There were 27,200 loans, worth £4.3bn, taken out by home movers in March, up by 25% and 19% by value compared to February and 15% and 10% by value, compared to March 2011.

Combined, the total increase in the number of house purchase loans in March was 44%  and 40% by value from February and 31%  and 30% by value compared to last March.

Remortgage activity, on the other hand, was essentially flat with £3.6bn advanced in the month, unchanged from February, and 14% lower than March last year.

On a quarterly basis, there were 5% fewer first-time buyers in the first quarter compared to the final quarter of last year, but 33% more than the first quarter of 2011.

Home movers took out 18% fewer loans in the three months to March than in the previous three months, but 14% more than the first three months of 2011.

The total value of loans for remortgage also fell in Q1 to £11bn, 7% lower than Q4 2011 and a 4% drop on Q1 2011.