E.surv has reported that there was a sharp increase in mortgage approvals in April, as homeowners continued to take advantage of low mortgage rates across much of the market.
The latest Mortgage Monitor from e.surv found there were 65,781 mortgages approved during April 2019 (seasonally adjusted).
The number of approvals is 2.7% higher than the equivalent month in 2018 and reflects the competitive nature of today’s mortgage market, the firm said.
The report found that while new activity in the wider housing market remains stagnant in many areas of the country, existing homeowners are capitalising on a battle between high street banks and other lenders which has seen interest rates fall so far this year.
This was also reflected in the rise in activity compared to March. The number of new approvals was up 5.5% on the previous month.
The proportion of all loans given to customers with a small deposit, including most first-time buyers, was 28.5% this month.
This is significantly higher than the 26% recorded in March and shows how lenders are turning their attention to first timers, given the slowdown in other parts of the market, most notably buy-to-let.
Richard Sexton, director at e.surv, said: “In many parts of London and the South East, the property market continues to move slowly. Yet this has not translated into the mortgage market with activity remaining strong.
“There has been a healthy increase in the proportion of loans going to first-time buyers, showing that lenders are welcoming these customers with open arms.
“Previously it may have been difficult for these borrowers to get their foot on the ladder, but lenders are now reaching out to these parts of the market.”