Mortgage activity &’039defying expectations&’039

House prices are stabilising because of a rise in the number of mortgage applications so far this year, mortgage broker Mortgage Advice Bureau has claimed.

Using data from more than 300 brokers and 700 estate agents across the UK, the broker’s National Mortgage Index found that mortgage activity has defied expectations made at the beginning of the year.

Helped in part by the end of the Stamp Duty holiday for first-time buyers and also by concerns over increases to lenders’ SVRs, the number of mortgage applications in February was up 20.9% compared to January – where the number of applications was up 52.7% on December 2011).

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “Activity among mortgage borrowers has ratcheted up further in February following a positive start to the year. The end of the Stamp Duty concession for first-time buyers had an impact on this but so has the increased availability of 95% mortgage deals.