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UK residential mortgage lending made a dramatic recovery in May 2012 after the sharp decline caused by the end of the stamp duty concession at the end of March.

The Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) claimed that the amount of residential mortgage loans advanced to property buyers increased by 33% from in April 2012 to 48,300 in May 2012 resulting in overall mortgage lending being 25% higher than at the same point in 2011

The CML put the rise in first-time buyer activity down to the market bouncing back from the temporary slump that came with the reintroduction of 1% stamp duty at the end of March 2012.

CML’s Director General, Paul Smee, said: “The slump following the end of the stamp duty concession seems to have been short-lived. Lending is similar to late 2011 levels and showing a healthy improvement on the same time last year.”

Despite some 18,100 first-time buyer mortgage loans worth £2.3 Billion (GBP) increasing by more than 20% compared with May 2011.

Mr Smee urged caution amid the ongoing Eurozone crisis stating “Economic uncertainty could affect both the supply of mortgage lending and consumer confidence and we still anticipate a challenging lending environment for the rest of the year.”

Gross mortgage lending declined to an estimated £10.2 Billion (GBP) in April 2012.

Mortgage lending fell by 19% from £12.6 Billion (GBP) in March 2012 but was 2% higher than the total of £10.0 Billion (GBP) in April 2011, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

CML chief economist Bob Pannell comments:“Mortgage lending activity has been relatively buoyant in recent months, with stronger lending for house purchase underpinning the more upbeat lending picture. The underlying picture is likely to be a bit stronger than the April figure suggests, because some first-time buyers are likely to have brought forward their transactions to March 2012 to take advantage of the stamp duty concession that was coming to an end in March 2012. Eurozone developments remain highly uncertain and have the potential to undermine UK economic prospects and conditions in our housing and mortgage markets. The underlying picture is likely to be one of easing momentum in the housing market, but with potential for a sharper downwards correction on bad Eurozone news.”

Institutional Investment is needed in UK Buy To Let Sector

Institutional Investment is needed in UK Buy To Let Sector

The Council of Mortgage Lenders, (CML), think the coalition Government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne should be doing more to encourage institutional investors to take a stake in Buy To Let property in the upcoming Budget.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders are the trade body for all the UK’s major bank and building society residential mortgage lenders.

The CML claim encouraging pension funds and corporate investors is a neglected policy that could provide the cash for more UK homes that can be made available to rent.

The suggestion is part of a wide-ranging Budget review aimed at influencing the Chancellor to ease the mortgage market. The submission also criticises current housing policies, including:

• Stamp duty holidays for first time buyers, which the CML claims creates a boom and bust market around deadline dates
• Paying housing benefits direct to claimants may damage landlord cash flows and lead to unnecessary mortgage arrears and repossessions
• Making better use of housing stock as, the CML states, most of the homes available over the next 20 years have already been built

The CML has told the Chancellor that given the vulnerabilities and uncertainties, it is important to make sure that all avenues, for strengthening and diversifying funding structures, have been explored.

The CML have also noted that the government continues to explore the obstacles to greater institutional investment in the supply of private rental property, but, strangely, the further scope for promoting domestic institutional investor interest in mortgage assets seems to be a neglected area of policy.

The Budget report also points out that UK banks and building societies rely heavily on raising funds from wholesale markets which are currently challenged by the Eurozone debt problems.

“Funding costs remain higher than a year ago, and the UK remains vulnerable to future eurozone developments. Given that current market conditions are somewhat fragile, it is very important that other government policies do not undermine housing market sentiment more generally. We believe that there are a few areas where policies are not as well aligned as they could be.” says the CML.

The CML’s calls echo the sentiment of many existing UK landlords who have had to search for a variety of additional landlord services such as insurance, tenant referencing and tenant eviction services from private sector specialist suppliers, in order to remain in a profitable situation.

With institutional investment into the UK private rented sector (PRS) specialist products and services for landlords will be enhanced for the corporate market and derivatives would be more affordable and even more readily available.

UK mortgage lender Nationwide have confirmed their participation in the UK Government’s newly announced New Build Indemnity Scheme.

The scheme is designed to boost the UK housing market, helping prospective buyers unable to raise the large deposits currently needed to secure a mortgage. It will allow first time buyers (FTB) to secure loans on newly built homes with only a 5% deposit, with security for the loan being provided by the Government and housebuilders.

Nationwide already offers a 95% mortgage with a rate of 6.14% through its Save to Buy scheme, and it has not yet been decided if the New Build Indemnity Scheme will make it possible for the building society to cut rates

Banks and building societies have made widespread changes to their UK mortgage rates in recent weeks, with a growing number of lenders raising rates on tracker loans as the escalating Eurozone debt crisis drives up the cost of funding these mortgages.

This week, Nationwide Building Society and Halifax – part of Lloyds Banking Group – became the latest high-street lenders to increase their tracker rates.

Halifax has upped the rates for tracker mortgages by as much as 0.30 percentage points, raising its two-year tracker from 3.04% to 3.34%.

It is available for loans up to 75% of a property’s value, with no fee.

Woolwich, Santander, Northern Rock, Accord & Barclays Wealth are among the other lenders to have raised their rates over the past month.

Not all mortgage rates are heading upwards.

At the same time as increasing several tracker rates, Nationwide Building Society cut the cost of some fixed-rate products – including its five-year fix, which was reduced from 3.69% to 3.59%.

Other mortgage lenders have eased their criteria and launched attractive products. On Wednesday, Barclays re-entered the 90% loan-to-value market, after it stopped offering these loans three years ago.

Coventry Building Society also launched a new range of fixed and capped rate products that come with no early redemption charges this week.

These are the current ‘best-buy’ mortgages deals available now.

Remortgages

While tracker rates have been going up, mortgage brokers say there are still a number of competitive deals available. Santander has a two-year tracker at 1.95% – Bank of England (BoE) base rate plus 1.45% – available up to 60% loan-to-value with a £1,995 fee. It comes with a free valuation and free legal work.

For those who want a longer-term tracker,

HSBC’s lifetime tracker at 2.49% – BoE base rate plus 1.99% – is a fabulous deal. It comes with no fees and no early repayment charges, which means borrowers can remortgage to a fixed-rate deal at any point during the mortgage term.

Fixed-rate deals remain cheap and have not seen any major rate movements. Leeds Building Society is still offering its 2year fix at 1.99%, available up to 75% loan-to-value (LTV), with a £1,999 fee.

Chelsea Building Society’s five-year fix at 3.29%, available up to 70% loan-to-value (LTV) with a £1,495 fee, is the market leading longer term fix.

First-time buyers: 90% deals

Barclays’ move to increase its maximum loan-to-value from 85 per cent to 90 per cent has provided first-time buyers with more options. According to Moneyfacts, the financial data provider, there are now 253 mortgages requiring only a 10% deposit, compared with 206 in October 2010 and just 101 in October 2009.

It is offering a three-year fix at 4.99% with no fee or a five-year deal at 5.49%, with a £499 fee. Its maximum loan size is £500,000.

Cambridge Building Society and Melton Mowbray Building Society are also offering five-year deals at 5.39%.

Large loans

Competition has increased in the large-loan market recently, with more high-street lenders offering these type of mortgages.

RBS Private Banking has a two-year tracker at 2.19% – BoE base rate plus 1.69% – available up to 50%loan-to-value, with a £999 fee.

NatWest has a two-year fixed-rate at 2.65%, available up to 60% loan-to-value, with a £999 fee.

Most wealthy borrowers will typically be better off opting for Barclays Wealth’s two-year tracker at 2.49%.”

Self-employed

Skipton Building Society has some of the most competitive deals for self-employed borrowers as it will consider retained profits in a limited company. It offers a two-year tracker at 1.98% – BoE base rate plus 1.48 percentage points – available up to 60% loan-to-value, with a £1,995 fee. It also has a two-year fix at 2.48%.

Read the Full FTSE article here

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