The number of loans for house purchase in February is lower than expected although given the growing sense of foreboding surrounding the big, post-Election tax rises around the corner it is understandable that people are putting the big decisions in their lives on hold.
With the General Election looming these figures suggest that property purchases will continue to tail off until a new government is firmly in place and people know who, and what, they are dealing with.
While we may see a slight uplift due to stamp duty changes for first time buyers and people buying property above £1m wanting to move before the year is out, this is unlikely to occur until after the next Budget.
It’s encouraging to see that remortgages are up. More and more homeowners, who have been sitting on an SVR for some time, are starting to remortgage while rates are still as low as they are. In many cases, increased lender competition has pushed rates down to levels that are below many SVRs, so it makes sense to remortgage.
Borrowers are aware that the current low interest rate environment will not go on forever and that it may be good to remortgage now while they are still ahead.