According to the latest data from residential chartered surveyors e.surv, there was a sharp increase in the number of mortgage approvals during April.
During the month there were 65,781 mortgages approved, a figure which increased 2.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2018 as homeowners took advantage of the low mortgage rates across much of the market.
The figures suggest 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 led to a fall in interest rates so far this year.
The levels of activity also reflected this, with new approvals up 5.5 per cent compared to March, and the proportion of loans given to those with small deposits, usually first time buyers, reached 28.5 per cent, compared to the 26 per cent recorded in March.
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.”
The data also reveals that the proportion of mortgage approvals to large deposit borrowers fell in April, continuing the recent trend away from this part of the market.
Just under a quarter (24.3 per cent), were to these borrowers in April, lower than the 26.2 per cent recorded in March 2019 and some way off the 2019 high of 28.1 per cent which was recorded in January.
There was also a fall in mid-market activity down from 47.8 per cent to 47.2 per cent month on month while the number of small deposit borrowers increased from 17,205 to 18,748.
Richard Sexton added; “Large deposit borrowers once held a tight grip on the mortgage market but that has loosened in recent times. Yet the low rates available mean that there are still many current homeowners coming to the market for new loans.”