UK Finance has reported that gross mortgage lending in December 2017 is estimated to have been £20.2 billion, 1.2% more than a year earlier.
Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “December is traditionally a quieter month for mortgages, although the underlying trend of increased numbers of first time buyers, supported by government initiatives such as Help to Buy, continues. Mortgage rates remain low, driven by a competitive market, so customers should shop around for the best deals.
“Business lending is up year-on-year, even though December saw the usual seasonal net repayment across all industries and sizes of borrower. However, healthy export levels and an uptick in overall business confidence suggest that in this New Year, there may be an appetite to capitalise on opportunities for growth supported by continued favourable borrowing conditions.”
John Goodall, CEO and co-founder of buy-to-let specialist Landbay, added: “Mortgage lending volumes rode a steadily rising tide of first-time buyer and remortgage demand in 2017, and borrowing levels have continued to ride that wave in December. People are clearly still eager to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates, and good loan-to-value deals, locking into the security of fixed rate products in the face of a gradually rising base rate.
“The stamp duty cut for first time buyers has brought new buyers into the market, and as far as buy to let mortgages go, we’ve already seen significantly more demand than at this point last year. There’s also a raft of two-year fixed deals about to reach maturity following the refinancing rush ahead of stamp duty changes in 2016, so there could still be more growth on the horizon.”