Net mortgage borrowing plummets in April, shows BoE data

The data shows that in April, net borrowing of mortgage debt dropped from £6.4bn in March to £4.1bn in April.

Gross lending rose slightly on the month, however, from £26.2bn in March to £26.5bn in April.

Meanwhile, mortgage approvals for house purchases dropped from 69,500 to 66,000 and from a value of £16.8bn to £16.1bn.

At the same time, remortgage approvals fell from 48,700 to 47,800 but grew in value from £10.1bn to £10.2bn.

Dashly founder Ross Boyd says: “The fall in mortgage approvals likely reflects deteriorating buyer sentiment and tightening affordability checks. Buying a new home right now or upsizing is something a lot of people have marked as low priority.

“The drop-off in remortgaging doesn’t tally with the significant remortgage activity that is taking place and will leave a lot of brokers scratching their heads.

“The major challenges facing the market right now are a scandalous lack of stock, interest rate rises and what has rapidly become a brutal cost of living crisis. Affordability, or the lack of it, is set to be the defining narrative of 2022. The mortgage and property markets are now almost certainly past their peak and the health of the jobs market will be crucial in determining what happens next.”

And Knight Frank Finance partner Hina Bhudia comments: “Activity among purchasers is ebbing as the cost of living squeeze shrinks the pool of buyers. Rates on certain products have doubled in the past twelve months and t. is a real sense of urgency among many borrowers who sense they must act soon or reassess what they can afford.

She continues: “Demand to remortgage remains very strong as borrowers seek to beat rising interest rates. Certain lenders allow you to book rates up to nine months in advance, so thousands of borrowers are bringing forward decisions that in normal circumstances would have been put off. Lenders are struggling to stay on top of the flow of new applications and are withdrawing and repricing product lines to maintain service levels.”

“T. are still signs of strong activity in the market even though some of the heat has come out of it, and mortgage brokers remain exceptionally busy as borrowers worry about rising rates,” adds SPF Private Clients chief executive Mark Harris.

“It doesn’t help that lenders continue to pull products at short notice. Mortgage pricing by smaller lenders and building societies is not as volatile as the bigger lenders as the ‘big six’ try to avoid being top of the ‘best buy’ tables due to the volume of business this attracts.

“Borrowers continue to favour longer-term fixes in order to protect themselves as much as possible, particularly as five-year products are so favourably priced compared with their two-year equivalents,” Harris concludes.