Loans to UK homebuyers rise 23%


The housing market showed further signs of stabilising during June with a 23 per cent jump in the number of mortgages taken out by people buying a home, figures revealed today.

Around 45,000 mortgages were advanced for house purchase during the month, the fifth consecutive monthly increase and the highest level for a year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said.

There was also a steep rise in the number of first-time buyers getting on to the property ladder, with 17,200 mortgages taken out by people buying their first home, 26 per cent more than during May.

The RICS survey showed a continuing rise in interest from potential buyers, with new inquiries increasing for the ninth month in a row during July.

There were also further signs that these inquiries are translating into sales, with the average chartered surveyor estate agent selling 15 properties during the three months to the end of July, the fourth consecutive increase and up from 13 during the three months to the end of June.

This increase in property transactions was reflected in figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, also released today, which showed a 23 per cent jump in the number of mortgages taken out by people buying a home during June to 45,000 - the highest level for a year.

But rising interest from buyers has not been matched by a significant increase in homes coming on to the market, despite surveyors reporting their first rise in instructions for more than a year.

RICS said only 2 per cent more surveyors saw a rise rather than a fall in the number of properties on their books in July, as people remained reluctant to put their homes on the market.

The average surveyor estate agent now has 60 unsold properties on the books, a slight increase from 57 in June, but still 30 per cent less than a year ago.

RICS spokesman Jeremy Leaf said: “Although demand for property is continuing to rebound, it still remains low from a historical perspective. Crucially, it is the lack of supply that is helping to underpin prices at the present time.”

But he warned that prices may slip back again if more properties come on to the market and mortgage availability was insufficient to meet the increase in buyer demand.

RICS also said a north/south divide was developing in the country, with a net balance of surveyors in London, the South East and South West reporting seeing price rises, while a balance of 23 per cent of surveyors in the North said they had seen price falls, with drops also reported in Wales, Yorkshire and Humberside and Northern Ireland.