UK Housing Market Hits a Plateau

It was perhaps to be expected given the statistics we have seen over the last few months. Today however it became clear that the housing market across the UK has hit a plateau. The total amount of lending on mortgages during September totalled £17.8 billion. This represented a 1% drop over the figures for August. With that said though, the figure was still much healthier than it had been at the same time last year. At that point it was 10% lower (at £16.2 billion) than the £17.8 billion mentioned here. Quarterly figures are however more promising Septembers figure enabled us to look at a third complete quarter for the year too, which gives us more insight into how the UK mortgage market is doing this year. A total of £55.5 billion was estimated to have been lent throughout the third quarter of 2014. This was up by 8% compared to the second quarter, and it was also better by 13% when compared to the same period last year. The third quarter in 2013 saw a comparable figure of £49.2 billion, so we have increased borrowing by £6.3 billion since that time. This increase in lending looks promising on the surface, especially since the Mortgage Market Review rules have come into effect in the intervening year. However with that said we still have to consider the levelling-off of the figures between August and September, and what this means for the mortgage market as a whole. Should this be worrying or is it merely a natural settling of the market? According to experts it looks likely to be the latter. The housing market naturally rises and falls from month to month; it is more important to look at the overall picture than figures from one month to the next. The beginning of 2014 saw some very strong figures with regard to UK mortgages and the housing market in general. Part of the reason for this was no doubt the presence of people wanting to get a mortgage as quickly and easily as possible before the MMR rules came into effect in April. The new rules led to a slowing-down in the market as banks and building societies got to grips with the new system. Since then we have seen some improvements in the figures but as we have seen this month, we may now be seeing a balancing of the books, so to speak. It remains to be seen how the final quarter of 2014 will pan out. However if experts opinions are to be believed, this quarter may also see some lukewarm figures relating to the amount of UK mortgage debt people take on. The UK mortgage market is by no means in a slump; it may just have had a little of the heat taken out of it for a while. In terms of redressing the balance from the urgent start to the year, this may be no bad thing in the long run.

Published on 28 February 2020

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