Belfast Telegraph

Mortgages for first-time buyers at highest rate since 2007

BY CLAIRE MCNEILLY

The number of loans advanced to first-time buyers in Northern Ireland has grown to its highest level since mid-2007, new data has revealed.

The figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show a hike in lending to first-time buyers, home movers and remortgagors that has continued its upward trend in Northern Ireland over the last three quarterly periods.

First-time buyer lending across the province is up 29% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2013, with 1,800 loans being issued.

Brian McCormick, chair of the CML in Northern Ireland, said it was encouraging to see increases in all types of lending as economic conditions improve.

"The market was driven by first-time buyers in the earlier quarters of 2013 so it is welcome to see remortgage and home mover lending levels grow, which allows for a degree of optimism in 2014," said Mr McCormick.

Loans to first-time buyers in Northern Ireland had a total value of £140m up 17% compared to quarter three and up 27% compared to quarter four in 2012.

First-time buyers borrowed, on average, £70,200 in the fourth quarter of 2013, a slight increase from £70,000 compared to the third quarter.

On average, first-time buyers borrowed 2.85 times their income – lower than the UK average of 3.36.

Overall in 2013, the total number of loans for houses in Northern Ireland was 9,900, up 11% on 2012 – worth £880m. Movers were awarded 1,100 loans amounting to £130m in the fourth quarter last year, while remortgage lending saw £120m advanced.

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