Mortgages enjoy their best first quarter since 2008

The mortgage market has seen its strongest first quarter start since 2008, this is according to latest Housing Marketing Activity Report from Connells Survey and Valuation. The total number of valuations carried out on residential properties during this first quarter was 10% higher than the last quarter of 2011, and has risen by 34% for the same period of last year.

Despite the number of valuations commissioned by first time buyers being 34% higher than Q1 2011, the end of the Stamp Duty break at the end of March took its toll on the demand for mortgages from this sector at the end of quarter. First time buyer did, in fact, show the smallest annual growth during March, and compared with other house buyers, represented only 29% of all the valuations carried out during that month, down 6% from February.

The activity in valuations from owner occupiers seeking to move house in the first quarter of 2012 rose by 25% compared to Q1 of 2011, and this sectors activity in March was up 26% from a year ago.

John Bagshaw is the corporate services director for Connells Survey and Valuation and he says that there has been a rush to complete before the Stamp Duty holiday came to an end and this had given the valuations market a boost in the first quarter. He added that first time buyers had not been the only group to benefit, as they had freed up many property chains, allowing existing homeowners to move up the property ladder.

Mr Bagshaw went on to say that there has also been strong demand from buyers who were looking to move quickly ahead of this summer’s disruptions of the Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics, and this also supported March’s activity. There are financial clouds looming however, as the increased costs of wholesale funding for lenders is likely to affect the recently improved credit conditions.