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FTB Borrowing Recovering After ‘See-Saw’ Year

by Sarah Halloran

Figures relating to mortgage lending and the property market as a whole have been affected by a number of unusual factors this year. Firstly, there was a late rush to beat the stamp duty ‘holiday’ on properties priced up to £250,000 and the subsequent summer lull was exaggerated by major public events – namely the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics.

However, figures released today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) suggest that lending in June 2012 was boosted by the return of many first time buyers to the market but does this mean we can expect a settled period for the remainder of 2012?

The CML confirmed that lending to First Time Buyers (FTB’s) stood at its highest point since July 2010 – excluding the solitary month of March 2010 when the property market saw a late rush to beat the stamp duty reintroduction.

Paul Smee, Director General of the CML welcomed the news but said that he expected further fluctuations in the market. Concern over the Eurozone crisis continues and the statistics have yet to see any impact from this year’s Olympics.

“Lending figures have see-sawed in the first half of the year and we may see more fluctuations in the coming months,” Mr Smee said.

Many property professionals are pleased to see FTB’s return to the market in such numbers but insist that more has to be done to make first time property purchases more accessible.

“It’s good news that ending the stamp duty concession appears not to have held first-time buyers back permanently, but they still need as much support as possible,” said Charles Haresnape, managing director at Aldermore Residential Mortgages.

“It will be good to see more lenders participating in NewBuy and offering schemes to help borrowers who are struggling to find a deposit.”

The Mortgage Advice Bureau confirmed that their own figures were largely in line with those released by the CML but they also predicted an uncertain period ahead.

“MAB’s own figures for May reflect those released by the CML,” said Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau.

“However, we expect external factors to play a major part in activity levels in the next few months, with activity levels to continue to fluctuate.”

Overall, it’s impossible to identify any pattern in the figures released by the CML but it has to be a positive aspect to see FTB’s returning to this level. The future may be uncertain in the short term but longer term benefits should be attained by making it easier to make that first step onto the property ladder.

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The question on everyone’s lips – is now a good time to buy?

by admin

Following the emergency budget last week, many homeowners and landlords are picking through the new factors that have been thrown in to the to-buy-or-not-to-buy conundrum.

A few reassuring points remain:

  • The new Government have some measures in place to tackle the wider fiscal issues over time.
  • The public sector has scope to cut costs without dramatically pushing up unemployment which should keep demand healthy.
  • Prices will be stable or only grow slowly for a fair while yet, allowing incomes and house prices to get that bit more comfortable in their relationship and give people time to clear other debt.
  • We are still a nation of aspirant homeowners and property should remain a viable investment; and certainly the only one you can live in!

What about first time buyers?

Many people believe that house prices are unlikely to reduce further, so now could be a good time to take that step on to the first rung of home ownership. The biggest barrier facing first time buyers is getting an affordable mortgage and a big enough deposit.

For us, that’s where the regional building society can help. Knowledge of the local area and manually underwritten mortgages makes Saffron able to help first time buyers in our community. And that extra guidance and support from your mortgage lender makes a real difference when taking out your first mortgage.

What will happen to interest rates?

This is a question which we ask ourselves regularly. It’s a difficult one to call – and though there have been some murmurs that, considering the rise in inflation, the Bank of England ought to lift base rate off the floor, they’ve not moved yet, and when it does, it’s unlikely to be dramatic.

Saffron is prepared for base rate to remain at 0.5% throughout 2010 and we don’t anticipate it rising by more than a percent or so in 2011. It’s quite a conservative projection, but we have to play it safe and reforecast regularly as the climate changes.

Ultimately, though, this is all based on conjecture and opinion. To help you make up your own minds, here are a few facts:

  • For the first time since the Thatcher days the percentage of people owning a home in the UK has declined.
  • This recession was worse than the previous 2 – GDP fell for 6 consecutive quarters by 6% peak to trough, where as in 1980/81 and 1991/92 it fell 3.8% and 2.5% respectively.
  • Industry faired better this time around, keeping more people in work – with unemployment peaking at 5% versus 1980/81 at 10.3% and 1991/92 at 9.9%.
  • House price falls were bigger and quicker this time around with a range of 7 – 33%, against ranges of 0 – 12% in1980/81 and 0 – 15% in 1991/92.
  • Low interest rates are helping keep repossessions low being at a peak of 6% pre this recession against 15% in both the 80’s and 90’s.

This article was written for by Michelle Monck DipM ACIM, Head of Marketing at Saffron Building Society.

Saffron Building society is a regional building society that has been providing savings accounts and mortgages to communities in the East of England for over 160 years. They offer a range of fixed rate mortgages and tracker mortgages. They have over 120,000 members and are the ‘most followed’ Building Society on Twitter! Visit their website at or follow them @SaffronBS

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