First-time buyers are ditching their plans to get on the housing ladder when one of the Help to Buy schemes ends, while there is concern that lenders are becoming more reluctant to lend to those with a small deposit.
Mortgage approvals grew 1.3% in November compared with the previous month, national valuations firm e.surv is forecasting ahead of official data – but the majority of loans are going to those with large deposits.
In total, the LSL firm says that 64,407 house purchase mortgages were approved in the month of November. This is above the 62,522 recorded for October but remains below the 70,511 approvals in November 2015.
The figure also remains below the 2016 peak of 72,512. This figure was recorded in February and may have been artificially boosted by buyers making house purchases before April’s Stamp Duty changes.
E.surv says that while the number of approvals has increased, these loans appear to have gone to borrowers with larger deposits to put down.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “While activity is still down on previous years, the market is in a stable place, with record low mortgage rates continuing to lure buyers into the market.
“However, a shrinking first-time buyer market is a cause for concern.”
Separately, new research shows that more than half (52%) of people who had been planning to become first-time buyers are having to change tack because of the closure of the Government’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.
The scheme, which ends on December 31 after three years, has allowed purchasers to buy either a secondhand or new home with a 5% deposit.
According to research by YouGov for Aldermore bank, raising a deposit continues to be the biggest obstacle for potential first- time buyers, with 39% of respondents stating that raising a deposit is a bigger hurdle than property prices (34%).