UK Finance has reported that gross mortgage lending across the residential market in May 2019 was £21.9 billion, some 0.4% lower than the same month in 2018.
The number of mortgages for home purchase approved by the main high street banks in May 2019 was 9.1% higher than in the same month in 2018, and reached its highest level since June 2016.
Remortgage approvals were 3.7% lower and approvals for other secured borrowing were 5.9% higher than the same month a year earlier.
John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, said: “These latest figures from UK Finance continue the shift we saw from the regional lending trends at the end of last month – an increase in home purchase mortgage lending and a fall in remortgage approvals.
“We knew there had to be a change at some point, as all those people who had been delaying buying because if Brexit would eventually decide to make a move, and now we can see that change has happened, with home purchase approvals at their highest level since June 2016, which is just after the referendum.
“And I hate to say it, but I think this is about Brexit. The deadline for leaving Europe has already been delayed until October 31, and in all likelihood – thanks to a change in Prime Minister between now and then – will be delayed again. House prices are relatively steady, rates are still low and incentives like Help to Buy are still in place, so now is a good time to buy.
Plus, of course, home purchase always spikes over the summer so I think we will see levels rise further going into the next few months.
“We can see that remortgage levels are down, but I don’t think that is particularly significant. There had been such a huge flurry of remortgage business over the past 18 months that it couldn’t stay at those levels forever so it was almost inevitable that it would start to slow down.”