The number of landlords purchasing properties using mortgages continued to drop in March 2019, according to the latest Mortgages Trend report from UK Finance.
In March, 5,000 new buy-to-let property purchase mortgages completed, which is down by 9.1% on the same month of last year.
However, 14,400 remortgages in the buy-to-let sector were recorded in the same month – 3.9% more than in March 2018. While buy-to-let property purchase activity continues to contract, due to tax and regulatory changes, remortgaging has increased year-on-year in the sector for the second consecutive month.
Meanwhile, 28,800 new first time buyer mortgages completed in March – down by 2.4% on the same month of 2018. This is the first annual decline in first time buyers since September last year.
25,280 home mover mortgages completed in March, which is down by 6% year-on-year.
There were 16,810 new remortgages with additional borrowing in March 2019 – up by 9.1% on the same month of last year. For these remortgages, the average amount taken out was £55,700. Additionally, 15,030 were simple pound-for-pound remortgages (with no additional borrowing), which was down by 1.1% year-on-year.
In total, 4.1% more residential remortgages were recorded in March than in the same month of 2018. This is the 12th consecutive month of annual growth in remortgaging, as a number of fixed rate deals come to an end and borrowers continue to lock into attractive rates.
Keith Haggart, the Managing Director of lifetime mortgage provider Responsible Lending, comments on the data: “March was meant to be the month when the Brexit trigger was pulled, and it may have been a significant deterrent for first time buyers, who tiptoed away from the housing market for the first time in six months, despite low interest rates and other incentives.
“The jump in remortgaging chimes with a market that is languishing on low supply of homes for sale. Transactions levels are also near historic lows and sellers appear to have been holding their breath for a while, wondering what the Brexit gods will deliver.”
He adds: “If these are early signs that even first time buyers, with bumper Government incentives, are starting to look the other way, then prices may cool more rapidly nationally, even without an EU exit.”