Mortgage lenders are insistent that the housing market recovery is under way.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders says it “may be easy to overlook the recovery that has already quietly been under way”, with consumer sentiment having not yet caught up.
The CML gives ten reasons for its positive outlook, starting with a claim that last year there was the highest number of property transactions since the onset of the credit crunch.
Although the Land Registry data on transactions for 2012 will not be available for several weeks, the CML believes there were some 930,000 transactions. It has reached its figures using HMRC data and estimating December’s sales. However, according to the Land Registry's most up-todate data, there were just 588,835 property sales in England and Wales up until the end of November.
The CML also believes that the number of first-time buyers is at a post-crunch high, although accepting that the current market is not easy for first-timers. However, it says that the pre-crunch market was not easy for first-time buyers either, and that the UK has a decades-long backlog of not producing enough new homes.
The eight other reasons the CML gives for believing that the housing and mortgage markets are in recovery are:
1. The availability of 90%-plus LTV mortgages has more than doubled in the past two years
2. There is ‘much more’ lending at higher LTV levels
3. More first-time buyers are entering the market without assistance
4. Lenders expect to offer more high LTV mortgages this year
5. NewBuy – the controversial taxpayer-backed scheme whereby purchasers of new-build properties only are able to get 95% mortgages – is being extended
6. Lenders are innovating responsibly – the CML cites Lloyds lend-a-hand mortgage, Nationwide’s save-to-buy scheme and Barclays’ new Family Springboard mortgage
7. There is ‘constructive’ forward planning going on within the mortgage industry
8. The outside world is beginning to notice the improvement in lending conditions. The CML says that people are beginning to notice that lenders are open for business.