The latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, (CML), showing a modest improvement in the number of loans month-on-month is a welcome sight. What is more striking is the fact that loans for house purchases have increased by 49% year-on-year, albeit from a low base.
Given the amount of activity we have seen in the last few weeks, I would expect to see this figure increase further in the coming months as the traditional Spring uplift filters through.
Taken together with the latest report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, (RICS), that says that the number of sellers has hit the highest level since May 2007 it would seem that a healthy property market is returning.
However, the fact that many people seem a little non-plussed about the forthcoming General Election has caused a fair amount of uncertainty in the property market, which means we may see figures tail off slightly in the immediate run-up and aftermath of the election.
The good news, however, is that competition is returning to the market and there are now some very competitive rate offerings especially where fixed rates are concerned which are starting to attract remortgage customers back into the market. With 2 year fixed rates now available from as low as 2.98% and with the lowest Bank Variable Rate at 2.5% it is more than realistic to expect that rates will have to rise by more than 0.5% over the next 2 years.
Once the election, and the World Cup, is out of the way, whilst I do not expect activity to jump significantly, I do expect moderate growth in activity for the remainder of the year as long as mortgage funding remains no less available than it is at present.
No doubt the recent changes in stamp duty for First-Time Buyers will assist and it is this key demographic that needs to be nourished in order for the housing market as a whole to flourish.