The switchback of house price indices and other data on the state of the market has taken a turn for the better with news that there was a seven per cent surge in the number of first time buyers completing in January.
The data, just released by UK Finance, shows there were 24,500 new first time buyer mortgages completed in January 2018, seven per cent ahead of the same month last year.
The average first time buyer is 30 and has a gross household income of £41,000.
In addition there were 25,000 new home mover mortgages – for existing owners – completed in January 2018, some 6.4 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier.
The average home mover is 39 and has a gross household income of £55,000.
Overall, the £5.4 billion of new lending in the month was 10.2 per cent more year on year.
There were also 5,600 new buy to let house purchase mortgages completed in January – but this was some 5.1 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier.
The major activity, however, was in the remortgage sector.
There were 49,800 new homeowner remortgages completed in January, some 19.1 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier. This is the highest monthly number of remortgages since November 2008, when the figure stood at 51,300.
Paul Smith, chief executive of Haart agency group, greeted the news with relief.
“Today’s data is truly indicative of a property market that is bouncing back to its former buoyant self. On the ground our branches are reporting a 15 per cent increase in first time buyer registrations on the month, and 20 per cent on the year. Clearly government initiatives from the past couple of months are finally making a mark and home ownership is being unlocked for thousands” he says.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “The increase in new first-time buyer mortgages in January is a particularly good sign for the market at a time when it tends to be finding its feet at the beginning of the year and a response to the abolition of stamp duty in November, which was touched upon by the Chancellor in the Spring Statement.”