Marginal drop in post-referendum house purchase activity

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ (CML) latest market summary, there has been a marginal decrease in house purchase activity following the EU referendum in June this year.

CML has estimated that gross mortgage lending was £21.4 billion in July, only a small decrease on June’s figures, but the first year-on-year drop for more than a year.

A year-on-year drop hasn’t gone unnoticed, as the Bank of England (BOE) has announced a “significant monetary stimulus, aimed at supporting the domestic economy during a protracted period of uncertainty and structural change.”

Economic snapshot

CML’s market summary reported that “the post-referendum economic landscape is not much clearer than a month ago. Some indicators are more backwards-looking or inherently volatile than others, and this makes it harder to gauge where things currently stand.”

On the other hand, the UK has a record proportion of working age people in work, the unemployment rate is down to 4.9% and retail sales rebounded strongly in July.

Henry Knight, Managing Director, Springtide Capital commented: “Although a decrease may sound negative, the UK economy actually seems to be fairing well following the referendum. We still have a long and unknown road ahead, however, we can take some reassurance in the fact that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has a package to support financial pressures.”

The MPC package

According to CML, “the MPC unveiled a significant package of monetary measures in early August. Reflecting the transmission delays before the monetary policy takes effect, the Bank’s timing is designed to provide meaningful stimulus to our domestic economy as growth sags going into next year.

“As well as the widely anticipated 25 basis point reduction in Bank Rate to 0.25%, the Bank of England also announced a fresh round of quantitative easing – with £60 billion of gilt purchases and up to £10 billion of UK corporate bond purchases – and a new £100 billion Term Funding Scheme (TFS).”

How will this help?

Firstly, the base rate will no doubt help borrowing rates to remain low, which helps affordability for households and firms.

Secondly, lenders will have access to £100 billion over the next year at beneficial rates for four years – supporting the financial pressures that they will face. As a bonus, new lending may also be eligible for a matched amount of additional funding under the new package, encouraging new business.