Mortgage availability increases, but house sales fall. Confused?


New figures from Moneyfacts and HMRC show that whilst mortgage availability is rising, property sales actually fell in August.


In August a total of 78,000 properties were sold, 6,000 fewer than the previous month of July.

August generally sees less property sales, so the fall is not unexpected, perhaps more worryingly the figure is 3,000 lower than the same time last year giving cause for concern that the housing market is slowing down.

At the peak of the property boom in July 2007 151,000 homes were sold.

Mortgage lending

Despite the drop in sales, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have also released figures this week showing that mortgage lending rose in August, rising 6% compared to July.

Gross mortgage lending stood at £13.4bn, up 10% on August 2010, the CML said that mortgage lending continued to be subdued but stable.

This week the financial information site Moneyfacts showed that the number of mortgages available to mainstream borrowers had hit the highest level since February 2008 at 3,035; at the height of the credit crunch the number plummeted to just 1,209.

However, despite the number of loans available the mortgage market is very different to three years ago. The size of deposits required is far larger than it was before the credit crunch, for example those people with a 10% deposit have seen the number of mortgages they have to choose from fall fourfold.

Michelle Slade, spokesperson for Moneyfacts, said: “Rising product numbers bring more competition, which has brought more keenly priced mortgage deals to the market. Lenders are becoming more accommodating with their lending criteria, which bodes well for increasing the competitiveness in the mortgage market.”

She continued: “Average mortgage rates have fallen to all-time lows, while at the same time deposit requirements are easing.”

“Affordability remains a key factor, so lenders continue to target remortgagers with sizable deposits who already have a proven payment history.”