UK Mortgage Market Grows As House Prices Price Rises Slow - September 20, 2019

The UK mortgage sector has seen its best growth figures for 2 years (Source: UK finance) despite a slowdown in UK house price growth which has seen the slowest growth since September 2012 (Source: ONS). While mortgage market growth can be a factor that fuels property price increases, yet indications are that other factors may be having a dampening effect reducing any potential uplift in the rate of house price inflation. Uncertainty over Brexit is often blamed for anything that has a negative effect on markets, but in this case the increasing uptake of mortgages leads to the conclusion that people are not being put off buying homes and the answer to the slowdown in UK property prices lies elsewhere. The number of first-time buyer mortgages increased by 5.8% year on year in July this year while home mover mortgages increased by 1.4%. The number of buy to let mortgages saw a 5.5% increase year on year. With mortgage rates competitive, more people are encouraged to take out a mortgage while rates remain low and property prices are relatively static making it easier to negotiate on price. Now represents a good time to buy for both first time buyers and investors in buy to let if the latter can make the numbers add up following recent tax rule changes. The latter tax rule changes may well be partly responsible for the UK house price slowdown as many buy to let investors hit by the new tax rules will be reconsidering their investments in property when tax rules have become more hostile. The government’s squeeze on buy to let investors will continue with tax relief on mortgage interest set to come to an end in 2020. This is having huge implications for those with interest only mortgages and could push up rents as a result. The prospect of Brexit and whether or not the UK stays in or out is unlikely to affect sentiment with ordinary house buyers. There has been no obvious impact on employment or wage growth, even if that is a possibility in the future. When it comes to buying homes, people are unlikely to be influenced by politics and what may or may not happen in Brussels. The relatively slower growth of home mover mortgages is, according to industry analysts, happening as a consequence of a fall in the number of fixed rate mortgages reaching the end of their terms and more people opting for product transfers which are now increasing in popularity.

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