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Mortgage market flat; building societies positive

Figures from the Building Societies Association show that in the first six months of 2018, 31 per cent of UK mortgage approvals were from a building society, an increase of nearly 4 per cent year-on-year.

These numbers appear to back up the assertion from both Santander and Nationwide that the mortgage market is becoming increasingly competitive, as mentioned in their half-yearly reports last week.

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The BSA’s report also shows that against a backdrop of a similar number of approvals in the same time frame, the balance between house purchases and remortgages has tipped in favour of the latter: mortgages approved for house purchases fell 4 per cent and remortgages rose by 7 per cent.

BSA chief executive Robin Fieth says: “All indications suggest that the subdued picture in the mortgage market will persist for some time. Surveyors are consistently reporting fewer newly agreed sales and the average time for a home to sell is rising.

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It is unsurprising that re-mortgage activity is on the increase.  With 9 in 10 new mortgages and two-thirds of outstanding mortgage balances on fixed rate, the trend is likely to continue.

Gary Adams

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