According to the latest Council of Mortgage Lenders’ (CML) report, gross mortgage lending for January is estimated at £18.9 billion, up 2% compared to a year ago.
Other highlights included:
- First-time buyer numbers continue to recover in 2016, but home mover numbers remain weak
- The Housing White Paper was recently published but is unlikely to have an impact on the housing market this year
Driven predominantly by consumer spending, the economy grew 1.8% in 2016, prompting the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to revise up growth for 2017 to just above that of 2016, at 2.0%, within the February Inflation Report.
CML stated that: “…inflation poses a risk to consumer spending as it continues to rise this year and is expected to peak at 2.8% by around this time next year. The latest figures show inflation reached 1.8% in January and there are already signs that it is putting pressure on consumer spending, as retail sales in January contracted for the first time in over three years.”
The economy is still creating jobs, with the employment rate of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work at 74.6%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.
House purchase approvals seem to be increasing, having reached 68,000 in December 2016, a marked increase on December 2015, which saw a low of 61,000. Due to these promising figures, the MPC has revised up its forecast to 71,000 per month.
CML added that: “We don’t have a breakdown of lending yet for January, but given recent trends, it looks likely to show that first-time buyers and remortgage activity continue to be the drivers of lending.”
“CML regional data shows in some areas, such as greater London, the number of home movers fell to their lowest levels for 25 years, highlighting the acuteness of this issue. The imbalance is likely to continue underpinning house price values.”
The Housing White Paper was published earlier this month and announced that a lot of small adjustments were needed to fix the chronic housing shortage. The impact of which, is not expected to be seen until 2018 and beyond.
Landlords will be subject to new tax relief changes for buy-to-let properties in two months, as part of a four-year transition.
Henry Knight, Managing Director, Springtide Capital commented: “We do not expect a surge of activity prior to this change, however, many landlords are already planning ahead in order to reduce the impact. I would encourage anyone who requires a mortgage to invest in a buy-to-let property to contact a member of the Springtide Capital team on 020 3040 4400.”