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Brexit woes begin to dampen mortgage lending

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Economic and political uncertainty is beginning to impact mortgage lending, as borrowers hold off committing to purchases
Brexit woes begin to dampen mortgage lending

All sectors of the mortgage market softened in September, according to mortgage trade body, UK Finance.

There were 29,400 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in the month, 4.5% down on September 2017.

The number of home mover mortgages fell further, by 8.4%, to 29,400, and remortgages dipped slightly (0.6%) to 35,600.

Buy-to-let business slows

But the biggest fall came in the buy-to-let market, where purchase business is still significantly down. There were 5,200 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages completed in the month, 18.8% fewer than a year earlier. By value this totalled £0.7bn of lending in the month, 22.2% down year-on-year.

Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said: “Buy-to-let home purchases have eased again in September, suggesting lending in this market remains subdued as a result of recent tax, regulatory and legislative changes.

“Demand for house purchases for both first-time buyers and home movers has also lessened, as affordability constraints continue to bear down on consumer demand for new loans particularly in London and the South East.”

Ross Boyd, founder of mortgage platform,, added: “Affordability constraints are without doubt dampening the purchase market, especially in London and the South East, but so too is the sheer uncertainty of Brexit.

“As things stand, there’s a gargantuan question mark hanging over 2019 and households are sitting on their hands.”

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