Mortgage approvals for purchase up nearly 20% on 2015 in January – BoE

49,015 mortgages for house purchase were approved in January according to Bank of England Stats published today up nearly 20% on January 2015.

The number of remortgages approved also rose compared to twelve months ago, with 33,546 compared to 26,456 in 2015, an increase of 26.8%

Seasonally adjusted figures point to a relatively busy January with the seasonally adjusted number of loans for house purchase for January the highest in 24 months at 74,581. The same is true for remortgages, with 42,228 stated as a seasonally adjusted figure.

In total there were 92,517 approvals for loans secured on dwellings down from 100,092 in December, a drop of 7.77%. This is a near identical percentage drop as December 2014 to January 2015 when the change was 7.76%.

Some commentators are putting the relatively busy January down to an increase in Buy-to-Let property sales.

Richard Sexton, director of chartered surveyor e.surv said: “Short and sharp, a buy-to-let blitz is lifting house purchase approvals to a two year high. Landlords only have a few months left before the tax changes in April, when more punitive stamp duty charges on new purchases will come into play. We are seeing a last-minute lift in lending as landlords push through their purchases before this deadline.

“Other economic elements are also underpinning a strong core of mortgage lending. Wage growth continues to track above inflation, meaning buyers have more to spend. A wide array of mortgages offering record low rates means there are plenty of options for those seeking finance – importantly including buyers with only small deposits. And the threat of a rate rise is once again fading into the distance.

“The wider global context will also make its mark. As talk of Brexit heightens, and sterling starts to slip against the euro and dollar, overseas investors may be re-encouraged to buy into Britain’s ‘safe-haven’ property market – which could add a further element of competition to an already crowded market.”

Many existing landlords have warned other changes to the tax regime around Buy-to-Let will result in a number exiting the market in the coming months, with both ideas appearing incompatible.

As far as recruitment for temporary conveyancers are concerned the so-called buy-to-let surge appears to fit into the wider trend.

Jonathan Fagan, Director at Locum legal staff recruiter Ten Percent hasn’t seen any significant increase in firms seeking temporary staff to deal with any temporary increase,

Jonathan Fagan said: “The quick answer is no, we haven’t seen an increase yet. I’m very surprised because we were expecting to get a mad rush but this just hasn’t materialised.”

Today's Conveyancer