It’s an oft-lamented fact that home ownership has been in a steady state of decline and that it has become harder and harder for first time buyers to get a foot on the ladder. But the latest statistics seem to challenge this assumed truth. Even in a climate of political and economic uncertainty first time buyers seem to be reaching new heights of enthusiasm with numbers reaching a 12-year high in 2018.
The trade body’s Mortgage Trends Update reported that an impressive 370,000 new first-time buyer mortgages were completed last year. That’s an increase of 1.9% compared to 2017, the highest since 2006. Over the course of the year there was £62 billion of new lending representing an increase of 4.9% compared to 2017.
Help to Buy
Help to Buy has been a driving force in helping many, especially younger people onto the property ladder. Of course, parental contributions remain a factor, with many young buyers receiving deposit contributions from the Bank of Mum and Dad. Mortgage products have also enabled parents to help out in a different way with mortgages that enable first time buyers to purchase a property without a deposit, provided that their parents store a percentage of the property price in a savings account.
Buy-to-let and home mover numbers in decline
While first time buyer number mortgages were on the rise, home mover and buy-to-let mortgages showed a slight decline. This may be due to recent tax and regulatory changes, such as 3% stamp duty surcharge on second homes and reduced mortgage interest rate relief.
That said, both homeowner and buy-to-let remortgage numbers increased last year as property owners raced to take advantage of competitive fixed rate deals which may help to insulate them from the economic ravages of future economic uncertainties like Brexit.