Opinion Former Article

Mixed picture in December but first time buyer lending healthy says CML

Lending in December:

Home-owner house purchase lending totalled £11.6bn in December, up 5% on November and 3% on December 2015. This came to 63,600 loans, up 5% on November and 0.2% on December 2015.
First-time buyers borrowed £5.1bn for home-owner house purchase, up 9% on November and 13% on December 2015. This totalled 32,000 loans, up 7% month-on-month and 8% year-on-year.
Home movers borrowed £6.5bn, up 3% on November but down 3% year-on-year. This totalled 31,600 loans, up 3% month-on-month but down 7% compared to December 2015. 
Home-owner remortgage activity was down 21% by volume and by value compared to November. Compared to December 2015, remortgage lending was up 7% by volume and by value.
Gross buy-to-let saw month-on-month decreases, down 15% by volume and 7% by value. Compared to December 2015, the number of loans decreased 21% and the value of these loans decreased 18%.   
Lending in the fourth quarter of 2016:

Home-owner house purchase lending fell in the fourth quarter to £33.1bn, down 3% on the third quarter and 2% on the same quarter 2015. This totalled 182,000 loans, down 2% on the previous quarter and 4% on the final period of 2015.
First-time buyers took out 90,800 loans totalling £14.3bn to purchase homes. This was down 1% by volume and value on the third quarter, but up 4% by volume and 7% by value year-on-year.
Home movers took out 91,300 loans, down 4% quarter-on-quarter and 11% compared to the fourth quarter 2015. This came to £18.7bn, down 6% on quarter three and 9% year-on-year.

Home-owner remortgage activity came to £16.6bn, down 5% on the previous quarter but up 10% on the fourth quarter 2015. The number of remortgage loans came to 97,500, down 3% on the third quarter but up 9% on the same quarter in 2015.
Gross buy-to-let lending decreased to £6bn, down 2% on the previous quarter and 3% on the same quarter in 2015. This totalled 57,400 loans, up 2% quarter-on-quarter but down 20% year-on-year.  
Lending in 2016:

Home buyers borrowed £127.7bn in 2016, up 7% on 2015. This came to 698,900 loans, up 3% on 2015.
First-time buyers borrowed £53.2bn for home-owner house purchase in 2016, up 13% on 2015. This totalled 338,900 loans, up 8% from the previous year. First-time buyer borrowed more in 2016 than any other year since our records began in 1974.
Home movers took out 360,300 loans, down 2% on 2015, but the amount borrowed totalled £74.3bn which was up 3% on 2015.
Home-owner remortgage activity was up 14% by volume and 20% by value compared to 2015. The number of remortgage loans was at its highest since 2009.
Gross buy-to-let also saw year-on-year increases, up 3% by volume and 7% by value, with remortgage business accounting for nearly two thirds of the total.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, commented:

“2016 could have been a potentially destabilising year of regulatory and political change, but the mortgage market has been resilient and adaptable. Home-owner house purchase lending increased, though the buy-to-let sector's positive lending performance has been driven primarily by remortgaging. We do not expect the market volumes to show a year-on-year increase in 2017, instead it will remain similar to that achieved in 2016.”

Home-owner house purchase lending in December

The proportion of household income used to service capital and interest rates reached another historic low this month for both first-time buyers and home movers at 17.4% and 17.5% respectively.

Affordability metrics for first-time buyers saw the typical loan size increase from £134,100 in November to £136,000 in December. The average household income increased to £40,400 from £40,100. This meant the income multiple went from 3.54 to 3.57.

The average amount borrowed by home movers in the UK increased to £175,000 in December from £170,900 in November, while the average home mover household income increased slightly to £55,000 from £54,800. The income multiple for the average home mover went from 3.27 to 3.32.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, remortgage and buy-to-let activity differed markedly from the unadjusted figures. While remortgage lending decreased 21% on November on an unadjusted basis, on a seasonally adjusted basis it was a decline of only 2%. Buy-to-let lending was unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis in December compared to the previous month and December 2015, despite the non-seasonally adjusted levels showing a decline.

Buy-to-let lending

Gross buy-to-let lending decreased in December from November. However, of the three quarters after the stamp duty changes in April, gross quarterly lending was its highest by volume and by value in the final quarter of 2016. Nearly two thirds of buy-to-let loans were remortgages rather than house purchase.


1. The Council of Mortgage Lenders' members are banks, building societies and other lenders who together undertake around 97% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.1 million mortgages in the UK, with loans worth over £1.3 trillion.

2. Source: CML Regulated Mortgage Survey for all home-owner mortgage data.

3. The Council of Mortgage Lenders does not publish statistics for mortgage approvals. The data in our monthly Regulated Mortgage Survey and gross lending press releases relate to mortgage advances only. A mortgage approval is the firm offer to a customer of a specific amount of credit secured against a particular property. A mortgage advance is the total amount of loan actually provided to the buyer, by the lender. Please see the mortgage statistics timeline on our website for further information.

4. The January 2017 data will be released on Tuesday 14 March 2017.


Michelle Vosper
Public affairs manager
Council of Mortgage Lenders
020 7438 8926

Tamsin Askew
Junior press officer
Council of Mortgage Lenders
020 7438 8981
Join us on Linkedin

More Articles by Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) ...

Disclaimer: Press releases published on this page are from key opinion formers who promote their organisation's activities by subscribing to a campaign site within politics.co.uk. politics.co.uk does not endorse, edit, or attempt to balance the opinions expressed on this page. The content of press releases are wholly the responsibility of the originating company or organisation.


Load in comments