Mortgage market to remain flat in 2019: Imla

By Jake Carter

Go to the profile of Mortgage Strategy
Mar 14, 2019

The intermediary mortgage lenders association has predicted that total gross mortgage lending, loans for house purchase and remortgaging activity will remain flat in 2019.

Imla estimates the markets to be at £269bn, £156bn, and £102bn, respectively.

The body adds that, according to its latest report, nearly five million borrowers would have been expected to buy their first property since 2008, but only 2.5 million did so.

Analysis shows that 449,000 35-54-year-olds become owner occupiers between 1996 and 2006 in net terms, and that this number declined 57 per cent to 191,000 between 2006-2016.

In addition, within the same timeframe, the number of 16-34-year olds purchasing property declined 37 per cent, from 2.9m to 1.8m.

In contrast, the number of those over 55 entering owner occupation increased 15 per cent, from 1.7m from 1996 – 2006 to 1.9m in the subsequent decade.

Imla accredits the difficulty for borrowers moving onto and up the housing ladder to high house prices and regulatory constraints on lending post-2008 crisis.

In order to assist those wanting to get onto the housing ladder, a significant jump in lending would be required, says Imla.

Lenders continue to aim for higher LTVs as arrears remain at historic lows and low mortgage rates support affordability, it adds.

The report suggests that a broad downward trend in mortgage lenders’ spreads has led to lenders looking to the higher LTVs to maintain profitability.

However, it says that while lending up to 90 per cent LTVs has increased, lending at LTVs above this level have remained subdued.

The report also predicts that gross buy-to-let lending will decline 6 per cent to £36bn this year and drop further to £35bn in 2020.

The data suggests that lending via intermediaries will increase, highlighting the fact that mortgage brokers undertook 74 per cent of mortgage lending by volume in 2018, the highest share on record.

The report concludes by saying that intermediary lending will rise to £169bn in 2019, and £171bn in 2020, as the share of lending introduced by intermediaries rises to 75 per cent in 2019 and 76 per cent by 2020.

Imla executive director Kate Davies comments: “We have had a robust recovery in lending volumes since the low of 2010, and the continuing combination of steady inflation and low unemployment should underpin the housing and mortgage markets in 2019 and 2020.

“Intermediary-driven lending continues to go from strength-to-strength as more people than ever turn to a broker to find the most suitable mortgage.

“But the mortgage market isn’t fully functioning as one would expect. Record low rates and historically low LTV ratios, coupled with cash and household equity being injected into the housing stock, are more usually associated with a continuing period of recession.

“These are symptoms of a market that has failed to support first-time buyers and those moving up the housing ladder in the way it did for previous generations.

“Although low mortgage rates are supporting borrower affordability, high house prices and regulatory constraints on lending make it harder for borrowers to move onto the housing ladder.

“With the mortgage market now following a gentle trajectory, it is a good time for policy-makers and regulators to reassess the costs and benefits of the present regulatory structure, recognising that the impact on those locked out of homeownership can be considerable and lasting.”

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Mortgage Strategy is the leading source of news, analysis and insight for mortgage brokers and intermediaries within the UK. In print and online Mortgage Strategy delivers the complete picture on key issues affecting mortgage specialists, from identifying key lenders in the adverse credit sector to analysing the impact of a potential recession on the housing market, through detailed interviews with lenders, independent commentators and other mortgage specialists. Independent studies show that Mortgage Strategy is by far the leading and most valued brand in the market, with 75% of brokers naming Mortgage Strategy as their preferred magazine to keep them up to date on developments within the industry.

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