December sees mortgage sales dip by 38%

The latest data has found that mortgage sales were down by 38% in December.

According to Equifax Touchstone, mortgage sales saw a monthly fall of 38% in the final month of 2017 or £5.8 billion in monetary terms.

Whilst sales are expected to see a seasonal decline in December, the annual figures also indicated that sales had fallen year-on-year, dropping by 12.8%.

Monthly residential sales fell by 39.6% since November, whilst buy-to-let sales also saw a decline of 32.1%.

Throughout December, all UK regions saw a significant dip in mortgage sales, with the South Coast seeing the steepest fall of 42.1%. The Midlands and Wales were close behind this at 40.6% and 40.3% respectively.

Whilst the North West observed the most modest decline in mortgage sales at a drop of 34.4.%, this figure could still be seen as significant.

Commenting on the figures was John Driscoll, Director of Equifax Touchstone. He said: “After three months of consecutive growth, mortgage sales in the UK have decreased sharply across both residential and buy-to-let sectors. Traditionally, December is a slow month for sales due to the festive period and other seasonal effects. However, the level of decrease is somewhat concerning for the industry, especially when considering that mortgage sales are down £1.4 billion year-on-year.

“While we expect to see the usual New Year pick-up in the market following a festive dip, there are a number of factors at play which could alter the direction of mortgage sales in coming months. An uncertain economic and political outlook, the onset of Open Banking and whether this will facilitate faster mortgage applications, the end of the Term Funding Scheme and implications for higher mortgage rates, and the subdued forecast for house prices, to name a few, have set the scene for a volatile and uncertain market in 2018.”

Today's Conveyancer