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Building societies in the UK lent £12.7 billion of gross new mortgages in the first three months of the year, some 29% of all new lending across the market, the latest data shows. Societies also approved over 91,000 mortgages in the first quarter while net lending by all lenders totalled £3 billion, according to the figures from the Building Societies Association. Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the BSA, lending by building societies has been strong and without the contribution of this section of the market the stock of mortgage loans across the UK would have shrunk in the first three months of the year. ‘Societies hold a 20% share of mortgage balances, but have had a much greater share of the flow of new lending for some time. In the first quarter they delivered 29% of all new mortgages,’ he explained. ‘This is partly because of competitive products and partly due to the more personal approach they take to underwriting. The trend looks set to continue in the second quarter as around a third of mortgage approvals in the first quarter were from building societies,’ he added. Meanwhile, the latest research by specialist lender Paragon Mortgages shows the majority of intermediaries are seeing stable or growing levels of demand from landlord clients. The Financial Advisor Confidence Tracking survey for the first quarter, shows 91% of intermediaries view landlord demand as growing or stable and just 7% saying demand was weak. In terms of intermediaries’ views on levels of buy to let mortgage business, 53% said in the second quarter they expect the number of cases to remain stable. However, 45% are more optimistic saying they expect to write more buy to let business. Survey results for the first three months of the year also revealed that 23% of intermediaries’ business was buy to let, 18% was for first time buyers and 35% were remortgages. The quarterly survey has also, for the past 20 years, kept an intermediary confidence index taking the average number of mortgage cases completed in the current quarter, measured against expected business levels in the next quarter. Confidence for the first quarter of 2015 has increased with a score of 105.2 from 102.9 the previous quarter. The index recovered throughout 2013 and 2014, after it fell from 2008 onwards and reached its lowest level in the third quarter of 2010 of 63. ‘There were no great movements in this quarter’s survey findings, what is evident though, is intermediaries are feeling optimistic about the buy to let market. Following the results of the general election, it will be interesting to see whether we see an increase in intermediaries’ case load as confidence increases in the wider housing market,’ said John Heron, director of Paragon Mortgages. Continue reading →
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