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House purchases highest since Dec 2007

The number of loans for house purchase in the UK reached 55,300 in October which is the highest level since December 2007, according to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The lowest point was reached in January 2009 when only 23,000 loans were advanced.

But loans for remortgaging have stayed static for two months at 33,000. The CML says that apart from the 30,000 remortgages in August this year, remortgaging is at its lowest level since it starting tracking this data in 2002.

Fixed mortgages are continuing their downward trend from a high in July, when 80 per cent of all new loans taken out were fixed. In October, this had decreased by 14 per cent to 66 per cent. Tracker mortgages, however, are on the rise with 21 per cent of all new loans being trackers, compared to July’s low of 12 per cent.

The CML says that borrowers are turning to trackers because they now have greater expectation that interest rates will stay at, or near, their current low for a while to come.

CML director general Michael Coogan says: “We are still in a two-speed mortgage market. It appears that low interest rates for those with substantial deposits, coupled with this year’s sustained increases in house prices, are encouraging more people to buy or move home.

“But the same low interest rates that are driving house purchase activity provide little incentive for borrowers to refinance their loans. This, coupled with ongoing tightness in lending criteria, continues to hold back the remortgage market.”

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