Mortgage approvals have hit record highs in UK regions despite property market lull, according to figures from UK Finance
Banking trade body UK Finance has unveiled lending data showing how well first-time buyers, home movers and those remortgaging fared during 2018 in the UK regions of London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Despite concerns about the property market stalling, the data shows some regions had record levels of approvals for first-time buyers and home movers.
Approvals for first-time buyers in Northern Ireland hit a 14-year high last year at 10,600, up 9.4% annually.
Similarly, approvals to first-time buyers in Wales hit their highest level for 12 years at 16,900, up 4.3%.
There were 42,800 new first-time buyer mortgages in London during 2018, 0.5% more than in 2017, but Scotland recorded a 3.1% annual drop to 34,100.
In the home mover market, Northern Ireland recorded the highest number of approvals since 2007 at 6,600, up 6.5% annually.
The number of home mover mortgages approved in Wales was at its highest level for 11 years at 15,800, a 0.6% annual increase.
However, home mover mortgage approvals fell by 5% annually in the capital to 28,800 and declined 0.9% in Scotland to 34,300 during 2018.
There were 60,400 remortgages in the capital, a 6.2% annual increase, while Wales recorded 20,100, 12.3% more than in 2017.
There were 9,500 remortgages in Northern Ireland, up 11.8% year-on-year and remortgage approvals in Scotland hit a seven-year high at 35,400, up 11% on 2017.
Commenting on the figures, Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said first-time buyer numbers across the country have risen on the back of cheap mortgage rates and Stamp Duty exemptions. The much-maligned Help to Buy scheme is also playing a large part in helping first-time buyers on to the housing ladder, while more lenders are offering high loan-to-value deals.
In London, despite recent price falls, affordability remains an issue with the deposit the biggest barrier to home ownership.
The Bank of Mum and Dad is being called upon more than ever before, but those who don’t have this resource are finding it very difficult.