Remortgage market strengthens in every UK region

The CML data, which is broken down by region, revealed that from Q4 2014 remortgage volumes increased by 10% in Greater London and 4% in Scotland but remained unchanged in Northern Ireland and Wales.

There were 10,800 loans in London (£2.9bn), 5,900 in Scotland (£660m), 1,200 in Northern Ireland (£120m) and 3,200 in Wales (£340m).

However activity fell in other sectors of the housing market.

First-time buyer volumes were 16% lower in London, 23% in Scotland, 25% in Wales and 30% in Northern Ireland. Homemover volumes fell by 18% in London, 27% in Wales, 38% in Northern Ireland and 17% in Scotland.

Compared to Q1 2014 mortgage volumes typically dampened down across the UK – likely due to the uncertainty surrounding the UK general election 2015.

First-time buyer and homemover lending volumes fell everywhere except Scotland, where homemover volumes increased by 5%.

The remortgage market was again the strongest performer, as volumes increased by 2% in London and 9% in Northern Ireland but fell by 3% in Scotland and 6% in Wales.

Three of the CML’s regional chairs were optimistic about the housing market in the summer months and beyond.

Linda Docherty, chair of CML Scotland, said: "It is likely that we will see an upward trend in lending moving forward as we approach the summer months. The introduction in Scotland of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax will mean the majority of new borrowers paying less tax, which should also provide a boost to the market."

Derek Wilson, chair of CML Northern Ireland, said: "We will likely see activity pick up as we head towards the summer months and with competitive rates on offer there are options out there for those looking to buy a home or seek a new mortgage deal."

Lastly Julie-Ann Haines, chair of CML Cymru, said: "We predict activity will pick up heading into the summer months, and with affordability in Wales remaining better than the UK overall, with a much smaller average deposits and a lower proportion of monthly income spent on repayments, the conditions are good for those seeking to own a home."

Legal Marketing Services

Legal Marketing Services data, also released today, indicated that the remortgage market went from strength to strength in the early months of 2015, as lending reached a six year high of £4.8bn in April on a monthly basis.

By comparing its own figures to the CML’s LMS found that remortgage volumes reached 32,230 in April, a 15% increase from the March total of 26,600.

Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS, said: "The growth in remortgaging in April is a much-needed boost to a sector which has experienced huge fluctuations over the past 12 months.

"It also suggests we may be slowly returning to pre-crisis levels of activity with the total amount of equity withdrawn through remortgaging reaching figures we haven't seen since 2008.

"While we have a positive outlook for the year ahead, we do not anticipate a surge of activity but instead a steady stream of customers to keep lenders busy."

The total amount of equity withdrawn from remortgaging in April stood at £792m – the highest figure recorded since July 2008.

Knee added: "The certainty that a clear election result brought saw the housing market breath a huge sigh of relief.

"But to maintain momentum we should not become complacent and should continue encouraging brokers and customers to discuss the potential benefits of remortgaging – especially at a time when there are so many competitive offers around.

"The current deflationary economic climate and rising incomes mean household finances are under slightly less pressure than previously.

"Nonetheless potential customers will appreciate that – thanks to house price rises – they are often able to withdraw equity from their homes without increasing the size of their mortgage, something many customers are concerned about."