Bumper month for mortgages as March sees eight-year lending high

Gross mortgage lending hit £1.7 billion in March this year, and was 64% higher than in March 2015, new figures have revealed.

The latest figures from the BBA (British Bankers Association) show that gross mortgage lending was at an eight year high last month, as it reached a total of £1.7 billion.

The rise in lending has been attributed to the 1 April stamp duty deadline, as many borrowers rushed to complete on purchases to avoid the new surcharge.

While the number of mortgage approvals fell slightly from 79,159 in February to 78,448 in March, last month’s figures were still up 20% year on year, with a 25% rise in remortgaging and a 14% rise in house purchases.

Rebecca Harding, chief economic advisor, BBA, said:

“The March figures are due to the number of buy to let and second home mortgage deals that were closed before the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge came into effect on April 1st.”

David Whittaker, managing director, Mortgages for Business said:

“While the buy to let market adapts to the new stamp duty status quo, mortgage lending activity will settle somewhat in the second quarter of the year.

“Landlords will need a bit of time and space to factor in the financial cost of the changes and, if necessary, devise new investment strategies.

Investors may also use this quieter period to work out how to manage the upcoming implementation of relief restrictions on the buy to let market, with some landlords opting to move to limited company mortgages to avoid many of the more costly changes.

The impetus we’re seeing in the remortgaging sector isn’t going to lose any steam either, as existing homeowners continue to latch onto a better deal while they can.”


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