As many first-time buyers as home movers in February

The number of mortgages loaned to first-time buyers has reached parity with home movers, bucking a 20 year trend, according to new figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

There were 48,600 mortgage loans made to borrowers in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK in February, with 24,400 made to home movers and 22,200 to first-time buyers. The numbers represent an 11 per cent increase year-on-year in mortgage borrowing to first time purchasers, and a 5.8 per cent decline in property loans to home movers.

It is widely considered that first time buyers have had more opportunities in the property market since the higher rate of stamp duty was brought in for second home owners, which has caused a significant decrease in buy-to-let activity. The decline of buy-to-let investors is expected to continue with no reform of stamp duty on the horizon and further tax changes in the pipeline.

Northern Ireland property market activity remains stable, but there is evidence that lack of supply has had an in impact on transaction levels. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) UK house price index suggest that property sales declined by 18 per cent in Northern Ireland in the last quarter of 2016. The average house price has however increased, and currently stands at approximately £125,000.

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