Gross mortgage lending for March 2019 stands at £20bn

According to the latest Household Finance Update from UK Finance, Gross mortgage lending across the residential market in March 2019 was £20 billion, 0.5 per cent lower than the same month in 2018.

  • In March 2019, approvals for home purchase were 9.3 per cent higher, remortgage approvals were 11.1 per cent higher and approvals for other secured borrowing were 1.7 per cent higher year-on-year.
  • The number of mortgages approved by the main high street banks in March 2019 was 9.1 per cent higher than March 2018, which was a particularly subdued month for total mortgage approvals.

THE ECONOMY

  • The Office of National Statistics reported that Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 1.8% in March 2019, unchanged from February 2019.
  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 1.9% in March 2019, unchanged from February 2019.

HOUSING

Halifax House Price Index

House prices in the three months to March were 2.6% higher than in the same three months a year earlier. In the latest quarter (January to March) house prices were 1.6% higher than in the preceding three months (October to December)

  • On a monthly basis, house prices fell by 1.6%
  • The average house price is now £233,181

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said:  

“The average UK house price is now £233,181 following a 1.6% monthly fall in March. This reduction partly corrects the significant growth seen last month and again demonstrates the risk in focusing too heavily on short-term, volatile measures. Industry-wide figures show that the number of mortgages being approved remains around 40% below pre-financial crisis levels, and we know that lower levels of activity can lead to bigger price movements”.

Housing Minister warns housebuilders on Help To Buy

Help to Buy boosted the supply of new homes to 222,000 last year and the scheme has been extended a further two years until 2023.  However, allegations of poor standards and high hidden charges have been raised in recent years as numbers of new-build homes have increased.  In his speech at the Home Builders Federation annual conference, James Brokenshire, warned the UK’s biggest housebuilders that he would be “considering carefully how the developers who work with us meet the standards and quality that customers expect and deserve” before the launch of the updated Help to Buy scheme in England in 2021.

Bank of England Statistics for March 2019

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its meeting ending on 20 March 2019, voted unanimously to maintain Bank Rate at 0.75%.

Henry Knight, Managing Director of Springtide Capital commented:

“The impact on Mortgages is minimal, mortgage rates have not yet begun to climb and this represents great opportunities for buyers in the current market”

Sources:

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/data-and-research/data/household-finance/household-lending-and-deposits

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/consumerpriceinflation/march2019

https://static.halifax.co.uk/assets/pdf/mortgages/pdf/March-2019-House-Price-Index.pdf

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/news-and-insight/news-in-brief/news-brief-27-march-2019

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy-summary-and-minutes/2019/march-2019