Housing market ‘robust’

The number of mortgages handed out to first-time buyers, home movers and buy-to-let landlords grew in November compared with a year earlier in a sign that the housing market remains “robust”.

A total of £4.2 billion-worth of home loans were advanced to first-time buyers in November 2015, marking a 14% increase compared with November 2014, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said.

Meanwhile, loans with a collective value of £6.5bn were advanced to home movers, a figure which was up 20% year-on-year.

And £3.5bn-worth of mortgages were handed out for buy-to-let purposes, showing a 45% rise. The bulk of these were for investors wanting to re-mortgage, although within this total, £1.3 bn buy-to-let loans were handed out for house purchase, marking a 30% jump compared with November 2014.

In late November last year, Chancellor George Osborne unveiled plans for a stamp duty hike for buy-to-let investors, prompting suggestions that there could be a rush of investors snapping up properties to beat the tax increase.

From April 1 2016, people buying additional properties, such as buy-to-let or second homes, will pay an extra three percentage points above current stamp duty rates.