Mortgage approvals to UK first time buyers jumped this summer to reach 35,500 in August – the highest in more than a year. And new lending to this market hit £6.2 billion, a rise of 5.2 per cent on the same period in 2017.
“First-time buyers really are proving to be the lifeblood of the housing market, responsible for keeping the number of overall house purchase completions at a stable level,” said Jackie Bennett of UK Finance’s Mortgage Trends Update. “There are good opportunities for those trying to get on the ladder for the first time.”
The Buy to Let market remortgaging has also revived, according to Finance UK, with strong growth in August, showing that many existing landlords remain committed to the market. Overall Buy to Let conditions remain challenging, however, as tax changes have impacted demand.
This has fed through into lower prices for some smaller properties, which are suitable for first-time buyers. In London, Buy to Let landlords spent £3.5 billion on homes in the first half of 2018, a drop of 40 per cent on the same period in 2015. “That leaves a gap in the market for first-time buyers,” commented one expert. “The fall in prices gives an opportunity for those stamp duty-free first-time buyers to negotiate harder.”