It is a pretty strange time at the moment and rarely has the gulf between the Westminster bubble and the rest of the country looked so large.
As MPs tie themselves in knots, the mortgage market has been quietly getting on with business as usual.
A recent report from UK Finance showed that the start of the year kicked off well, and although there was a dip in February, March is trundling back again. Two things are clear from January’s strong mortgage lending data – the dream of owning a home continues to burn brightly for thousands of would-be buyers, and lenders have responded in kind.
The combination of solid demand and a range of highly competitive deals propelled the number of first-time buyer loans completed in January to a level 4.6% higher than that achieved at the same time last year.
Strong competition among lenders – many of whom are seeking to win first-time borrowers as demand for buy-to-let loans falls – is being underpinned by an economy which remains robust and signals from the Bank of England that base rates are unlikely to rise any time soon.
The Help to Buy scheme has further fuelled demand, but ultimately demand is being driven by Britain’s surprisingly robust economic fundamentals. The economy is still growing, a record number of Britons are in work and average wages are rising at a decent clip.
Political chaos is fast becoming a British tradition. But another, much older tradition – the desire to own a home – has helped get the mortgage market off to a strong start in 2019.
Mortgage rate wise things are still pretty much the same. For standard residential mortgages, borrowers can obtain 2-year fixes at 1.40%, (3.78% APRC) and 5-year fixes from 1.80%, (3.36% APRC) whilst variable tracker rates are around from 1.34%, (3.82% APRC).
Those looking at Buy-To-Let can still obtain products from just 1.46%, (5.30% APRC) for a 2-year tracker or 5-year fixes are available from 2.04% (4.40% APRC).