UK remortgage figures up in May, but uncertainty could now creep in

Taylor Scott International News

Last month was the best May for remortgaging since 2008 but uncertainty and volatility are now expected following the decision by the UK to leave the European Union. Remortgaging reached £5 billion in May and the number of loans reached 32,334, higher than every May since 2008, when 77,100 loans were approved while the average amount of equity withdrawn reached £33,600, the highest amount this year and 43% up from the previous month. However, despite record low interest rates, borrowers felt the pinch due to falling incomes, according to the research from LMS. Remortgage lending was up by 26% compared to May of last year but was down by 16% from April, which was an exceptional month for remortgaging. The number of remortgage loans also decreased month on month by 7% from 34,800 in April to 32,334 in May but this is 31% more than May 2015 when 24,700 borrowers remortgaged. The average amount of equity withdrawn per customer from remortgaging activity has risen by 43% month on month, from £23,479 in April to £33,691 in May. The average amount of equity withdrawn is also up by a quarter in comparison to May last year when equity withdrawn stood at £26,863. The total amount of equity withdrawn rose by 33% over April from £817 million to £1089 million in May, some 64% more year on year from the £664 million recorded in May 2015. This is also the highest amount of total equity withdrawn since May 2008, back when remortgagors withdrew almost £1.21 billion. Despite being the lowest interest rate on record, however, average household income fell from £50,000 in March to £44,898 in April. A drop of 10%. The household income recorded in April 2016 is also 1% lower than in April 2015, when income was recorded at £45,365. ‘Remortgaging witnessed its best month of May since 2008, although the numbers are slightly down following a rush to remortgage in April. The favourable mortgage market, with eagerly competitive lenders, record low rates and rising house prices provided the ideal background remortgaging to continue its year on year surge,’ said Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS. ‘We will have to wait and see what the impact of June’s Brexit decision on the housing and mortgage markets will be in the short and medium term. There will be some uncertainty and volatility to cope with as everyone absorbs the news and this is likely to put a dampener on the housing market at least until the autumn,’ he pointed out. ‘However, interest rates remain at historically low levels and for those with a mortgage now is a great time to take out a fixed rate and stabilise their financial outgoings. Lenders may well come under pressure and their appetites for new business may shrink in the short term. If they do, the range of excellent rates available today might not be around… Taylor Scott International

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