First-time buyer lending continues to boom but it’s a hard slog for home movers

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Lenders are reporting “sluggish” home-mover mortgage borrowing, while first-time buyers continue to drive the market.

Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) for March show that home buyers borrowed £11.2bn, up 24% on February but down 19% on March 2016.

This came to 61,700 loans, up 27% on February but down 12% on March 2016.

From these numbers, first-time buyers borrowed £4.9bn for house purchase, up 29% on February and 9% on March 2016. They took out 31,500 loans, up 30% month-on-month and 12% year-on-year.

But home mover borrowing was down 33% year-on-year to £6.2bn, although up 19% on February.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “Comparing this March to last year is misleading because of the peak in activity before the stamp duty changes last spring. Overall, lending trends have remained reasonably consistent.

“The relatively sluggish activity among home-movers stands in contrast to the growth in first-time buyer and remortgage activity, but in aggregate the market is showing broadly the levels of activity we expected.

“As we head into the summer, we expect a continuation of these trends, with both first-time buyer and remortgage lending expected to maintain momentum in the light of the very attractive deals currently available.”

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