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UK mortgage activity may have entered secular decline

Staff Writer |
Mortgage activity in the UK appeared to have entered into secular decline according to the results of a survey from a leading business group.

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According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, home buyers borrowed £8.4bn in January, which was unchanged from year ago levels but 28% less than in December.

In terms of volumes, mortgages were 1% ahead on the year ago mark at 45,700 loans but off by 28% versus the prior month.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, commented: "January gives the impression of a flattish market overall, albeit one with a resurgent remortgage sector.

"We expect a seasonal dip in activity in the winter months and this appears to be the case in January. However, the lull in moving activity appears stubbornly persistent, and we have commissioned research on the reasons why the number of transactions seems in secular decline."

First-time home buyers took out £3.6bn-worth of loans, up 9% on January 2016 but that was still 29% less than in December.

At £4.9bn, home movers on the other hand took out 4% less on loans when compared with the year-ago figure.

Gross buy-to-let saw month-on-month growth of 11% by value and 12% by volume. Compared to January 2016, both the number of loans and the amount borrowed fell 16%.

On a more positive note, remortgage activity by home-owners increased 54% by value and 46% by volume on December. Versus January 2016, remortgage lending was up 22% by value and 21% by volume, CML said.

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