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Remortgaging down a fifth year-on-year in October

Remortgage volumes fell by 20.8% year-on-year to October 2019, UK Finance data shows.

First-time buyer activity was more promising, with volumes rising by 2.8% year-on-year.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “After a very strong year, remortgaging numbers dipped in October, suggesting that many of those who needed to refinance have done so, and taken advantage of the cheap rates available.

“First-time buyers continue to prop up the housing market with their numbers continuing to grow. “

Homemover numbers also rise by 4.2% year-on-year, while there were 1.5% more buy-to-let mortgages.

Adrian Moloney, sales director of OneSavings Bank, said: “This continued suppression in buy to let mortgage transactions is a hangover from the uncertainty of the past two years, however, the hope is that stability will return to the market following last week’s election result.

“The lack of direction in recent years has taken a toll on the market which cannot be solved overnight. The new government, and the new housing minister when appointed, must define their commitment to improving levels of housing stock across all tenures and clear current deficits.”

Shaun Church, director at Private Finance, was upbeat.

He said: “The homemover market is slowly getting back up and running.

“Thursday’s election result has delivered some clarity, in that some form of Brexit now seems inevitable. This greater certainty is likely to release pent-up demand, as the many sellers and buyers that have sat on their hands for the past couple of years will now be galvanised to pursue their home-moving ambitions.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “These numbers show that first-time buyers and indeed home movers, were still very active even at a time of maximum uncertainty for the housing market in the wake of Brexit turmoil.

“It demonstrates, once again, the underlying resilience and expectation of better times to come in 2020 now that the election is behind us.”