11 Mar

Buy-to-let deadlines fuel February lending

Posted 11/03/2016 by: Reeds Rains

  • February sees 72,799 house purchase approvals – the second highest monthly total since January 2014, as buy-to-let investors race to meet April deadline
  • On an annual basis, house purchase approvals rise 17.4% in February, from 62,007 in February 2015 
  • First-time buyers also enjoy upbeat February – as proportion of small-deposit lending climbs to 15.7%, totalling 11,429 loan approvals granted

February has seen a further buy-to-let burst, powered by the upcoming EU Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) and looming stamp duty surcharge, according to the latest Mortgage Monitor from e.surv, the UK’s largest chartered surveyor.

Overall house purchase approvals (seasonally adjusted) in February totalled 72,799, forming the second highest total since January 2014, which saw 75,691 loan approvals.

February’s total also easily beat the average 71,173 approvals seen across the previous six months, in spite of a monthly 2.4% drop from 74,581 granted in January 2016. 
Fuelling this strong borrowing trend is not only April’s stamp duty hike but also the EU mortgage credit directive which will come into force by the end of March – set to bring new parameters for buy-to-let borrowing. Among these will be tougher mortgage application rules, a more arduous application process and harsher means testing for consumer landlords.

House purchase lending has risen 17.4% annually from 62,007 loans granted in February 2015, following the consistently high annual increases seen across the previous six month period. Behind these increases, first-time buyer momentum is also having an impact, with strong small-deposit lending throughout the opening months of 2016.