Stamp duty changes continue to push gross mortgage lending figures up; hitting an estimated £18.5 billion in April. Although lower than March, this still represents a 16 percent increase year-on-year according to the Council of Mortgage Lender’s (CML’s) latest data.
CML’s economist Mohammad Jamei said:
“As we move past the stamp duty change that came into effect at the start of April, we expect to see a quieter second quarter, as some transactions that were due to take place were brought forward to the first quarter of this year. This is likely to mean that over the next few months buy-to-let takes a back seat as lending is driven by first-time buyers, movers and remortgage customers.
“The underlying picture still shows signs of growth, as the market remains underpinned by strong fundamentals such as increasing wages and rising employment. But it is possible that the uncertainty around the upcoming EU referendum in June will weigh on activity in the upcoming months.”
Key points raised in the CML summary
- Rate rises unlikely due to global uncertainties – still at 0.5 percent.
- Economic growth in Q1 2016 was 0.4 percent – down from 0.6 percent according to Office for National Statistic’s preliminary estimate.
- Revised UK economic growth estimates to 2 percent.
- Businesses appear to be postponing investment until after the referendum according to the Bank’s May Inflation Report.
- Highest employment rate since records began 45 years ago, currently at 5.1 percent.
- Earnings growth at 2 percent in March and low inflation at (3% in April).
Springtide Capital’s view
Stamp duty changes have, and will, continue to impact lending figures over the coming months. There has also been some talk of uncertainty due to the referendum, which realistically, is more on the business side, as we don’t anticipate this will impact the lower end of the domestic market.
Ultimately, the UK is still showing signs of growth year-on-year with employment rising, and mortgage rates and incentives schemes providing a great opportunity for those looking to purchase a property.
The distorted figures and the EU referendum are making it tricky for any forecaster to predict what the market holds. Supply and demand are still the fundamental issues in the housing market.