Data from UK Finance reveals that homeowner remortgaging activity in October grew 23.2 per cent on an annual basis, numbering 50,500 new transactions and hitting £9.2bn in value, up 22.7 per cent annually.
Analysis of the data shows that, with a total of 400,700 remortgages having been completed from the start of the year to October, 2018 has been the most active year since 2008, when 773,000 homeowner remortgages were completed with the same time frame.
The data also shows first-time buyer lending and new homemover mortgages both grew in number and value during the month, too.
A total of 32,900 FTBs completed mortgages, up 8.2 per cent on the year at a value of £5.5bn – growth of 12.2 per cent within the same time frame.
Regarding homemover mortgages, 33,400 transactions occurred in October – 4 per cent more than last October, and at £7.4bn, 8.8 per cent higher in value since late 2017.
In terms of buy-to-let, at 6,100 completed, 9 per cent fewer purchase mortgages were made than last October at a value of £0.8bn – another yearly fall, this time of 20 per cent.
However, there is better news in the BTL remortgaging sphere, with 15,700 completed, growth of 5.4 per cent in number, and at £2.5bn, an increase of 4.2 per cent year-on-year in terms of value.
UK Finance director of mortgages Jackie Bennett says: “Remortgaging has reached its highest level in almost a decade, as homeowners take advantage of a competitive market and lock into attractive deals.
“This also reflects the large number of fixed rate mortgages coming to an end, which is expected to continue into 2019.”
North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf comments: “Political shenanigans seem to be more of a preoccupation among buyers in the southeast than elsewhere. It remains to be seen how the turmoil of the past month or so plays out in the market but the signs are so far that early new year activity will continue in a relatively subdued manner, much as it has over the past few months.”
Meanwhile, Spicerhaart and Just Mortgages operations director John Phillips adds: “Last month’s estimate showed a downturn in remortgaging and I was quite surprised as it was not what we have been seeing at Just Mortgages. These figures are much more of a reflection of what we are seeing in the market.
“We can also see that home mover mortgages are up too, perhaps signalling that, now the initial reluctance to move amidst Brexit uncertainty is straight to waive slightly. There will probably be another dip in home mover activity as we go into 2019, but I think remortgaging will remain strong. There are lots of fixed-rate deals coming to an end, and people are keen to lock in good fixed rate deals now, before potential rate rises.
“Also in tougher times, when purchasing is down, lots of brokers start to focus more on their remortgaging business, which they should be doing anyway, and that has almost certainly impacted on the rise.”