Business

North's first-time buyer numbers reach 13-year high

The local mortgage market has been boosted by a sharp spike in the number of first-time buyers
Gareth McKeown

THE north has recorded the highest growth in house purchase activity in the entire UK, according to new figures.

The latest data from UK Finance covering the second quarter of the year shows the local market is growing, boosted by a sharp spike in first-time buyer numbers, now at a 13-year high.

The figures show there were 2,700 new first-time buyers mortgages completed in the north between April and June, a 12.5 per cent increase on the same quarter of 2017 and the highest since 2005. The £0.28bn of new lending was 16.7 per cent higher year-on-year, with the average first-time buyer 30-years-old with a gross household income of £33,000.

A total of 1,600 new homemover mortgages were completed in the north in the second quarter of the year - a rise of 6.7 per cent on the same period of 2017, with the £0.21bn of new lending a 10.5 per cent increase over the year. The figures state that the average homemover in the north is 39 and has a gross household income of £46,000.

According to the data homeowner remortgages in the north between April and June increased by 9.5 per cent from 2017 to 2,300, with lending of £0.25bn 13.6 per cent more over the year.

Chair of UK Finance's Northern Ireland mortgage committee, Derek Wilson said the latest figures paint a positive picture of the local market.

“The Northern Ireland mortgage market continues to perform strongly and has returned to the levels of consistent growth last seen in the early 2000s," he said.

“Lending to first-time buyers has overtaken remortgaging as the largest sector by value, reversing the position in the last quarter, as borrowers take advantage of what remains the UK’s most affordable region.

“With the number of first-time buyers reaching a 13-year high, it will be important to increase the supply of new homes to match this growing demand.”

Head of mortgages at Danske Bank, Patrick Mullan said the survey shows there is still "real momentum" in the market

“Overall, this survey indicates the housing market in Northern Ireland is in good health. The market has enjoyed the strongest half year of any region of the UK and while house prices are rising steadily, Northern Ireland is still the UK’s most affordable region, so there is capacity for further sustainable growth in this year.”

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