The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has reported that in February, home buyers borrowed £8.9bn, up 6% on January and 2% on February 2016.
This came to 48,600 loans, up 7% on January and 2% on February 2016.
First-time buyers borrowed £3.8bn for home-owner house purchase, up 6% on January and 12% on February 2016. They took out 24,200 loans, up 7% month-on-month and 11% year-on-year.
Meanwhile, Home movers borrowed £5.1bn, up 6% on January but down 4% year-on-year. This equated to 24,400 loans, up 6% month-on-month but down 6% compared to February 2016.
In addition, home-owner remortgage activity was down 26% by value and 23% by volume on January. Compared to February 2016, remortgage lending was up 8% by value and 9% by volume.
Gross buy-to-let saw month-on-month decreases, down 13% by value and 12% by volume. Compared to February 2016, the number of loans decreased 26% and the amount borrowed decreased by 13%.
Looking on a seasonally adjusted basis, first-time buyer and home mover activity increased by value month-on-month and year-on-year. Buy-to-let house purchase and remortgage activity remained unchanged by volume and by value month-on-month, but decreased compared to February last year 44% by value and 42% by volume. Full seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted data is attached.
Paul Smee (pictured), director general of the CML, said: “Seasonal factors traditionally keep the market quieter in winter months, but 2017 began relatively strong on the house purchase side. Borrowers took out more loans to purchase a home in the first two months of 2017 than any year since 2007. This is down to strong first-time buyer activity which has consistently matched home mover borrowing over the past six months, a trend not seen in the UK for 20 years.
“House purchase activity on the buy-to-let lending side remains weak. This trend is expected to continue because of the tax changes from April and because lenders are tightening affordability criteria in response to PRA-mandated stress tests.”