Home lending in 2016 saw its best opening quarter for nine years according to the figures from chartered surveying firm e.surv.
An average 71,710 house purchase loans were granted across the first three months of 2016, the highest opening quarter total since 2007.
It says the first few months of unusually high activity have been powered by a rush from buy-to-let landlords racing to beat April’s stamp duty changes.
However, March saw a monthly dip in lending as some landlords were too late to beat the stamp duty surcharges coming into effect on April 1. March saw a seasonally-adjusted total of 67,173 house purchase approvals, down some 9.1 per cent on February.
Despite this, March marked a return to normal activity with all borrowers, including first-time buyers, benefiting from a healthy range of mortgage products the firm says.
To date a total of 210,468 house purchase approvals have been granted this year, 13.5 per cent higher than the first three months of 2015. House purchase lending has also risen annually – up 8.2 per cent from 62,095 loans granted in March 2015.
“Neither fears of the Mortgage Credit Directive nor the stamp duty surcharge have been able to slow the momentum of current lending levels. March may not be the most impressive month numerically but it has set a sustainable standard for the rest of the year” says Richard Sexton, director of e.surv.