Belfast Telegraph

Mortgage costs for first-time buyers increase as stamp duty break axed

By Graeme Evans

Mortgage costs for first-time buyers increased for the first time in nearly a year during February, figures showed.

With many lenders increasing their rates, the proportion of income spent on mortgage interest payments rose to 12.5% from 12.1% the previous month.

This is the first increase since April last year but in its monthly release the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said the percentage still compared favourably with the average of 19.6% faced in 2008. There were 14,100 loans worth £1.7bn taken out by first-time buyers in February, an increase of 8% and 6% respectively on a month earlier.

Demand is likely to have been driven by the end of a stamp duty concession for first-time buyers at the end of March.

The CML added that home movers took out 22,500 loans worth £3.7bn during February, an increase of 2% in number and 3% in value from January.

CML director general Paul Smee said: "It is encouraging to see the continuing year-on-year improvement in house purchase lending.

"However, it is not yet clear whether the end of the stamp duty concession will lead to a falling off in first-time buyer numbers and how much this may be offset by the Government's NewBuy scheme, available to all buying a new build property."

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