The economic woes in Greece and Spain are causing a drop in lending that is affecting UK property buyers with first timer buyers hardest hit, according to surveyors.
Loans for new buyers dropped to their lowest level for 10 months in May as the eurozone financial crisis caused tightening credit conditions and prompted banks to reduce lending, the latest Mortgage Monitor from e.surv chartered surveyors suggests.
Overall loans for house purchase fell 2.5% to 50,525 in May because increased funding costs and balance sheet pressures forced banks to reduce high LTV lending. The report also shows that lending to borrowers with small deposits dropped for the fourth consecutive month.
Only 1,213 of those loans were to borrowers with a deposit of less than 10% (accounting were less than 3% of total new loans), compared to 1,434 in April, illustrating it is becoming more difficult for borrowers to access high LTV loans.
The market has begun to steadily regress following a marked recovery over last autumn and early winter. After hitting record lows last autumn, rates have crept upwards over the last few months, and banks have decreased the number of loans to borrowers with small deposits. In the fourth quarter of 2011, there was an average of 6,670 loans per month to borrowers with a deposit of less than 15%. Over the quarter up to May, the average has fallen sharply to 5,421 per month.
This reflects the Bank of England’s survey of credit conditions for the second quarter of the year, which said although demand for low deposit mortgages has increased, banks will be forced to reduce the number of loans for first time and lower income borrowers.
To show just how far off high loan to value lending is from recovering to its pre-2008 levels, there were 39,051 loans to borrowers with a deposit of under 15% in May 2007, almost four times as many as in May this year.
House purchase loans were up 8.7% year on year, however May last year was a weak month by historic standards as loans for house purchase were 7.2% lower than in May 2010.
‘The market has shown real fighting spirit and, for the time being, has stood up well to the eurozone crisis. The effects have been widely felt in the form of higher rates and fewer loans, but by no means has lending fallen off a cliff,’ said Richard Sexton, business development director of e.surv.
‘The panic in the wholesale markets has pushed up funding costs steadily since the late autumn. For a while, banks were able to absorb the costs without borrowers feeling the effects, but we’ve now reached a watershed point where their balance sheets can no longer shoulder the burden. Banks have responded in a measured fashion by passing these costs onto the consumer: rates are creeping upwards, particularly on new mortgages, and high loan to value lending has fallen. The upshot is it has become more difficult for first time and low income buyers to...
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