UK Finance has published its latest Mortgage Trends Update for October 2018  which reveals that remortgaging is at its highest level since 2008.

The figures show that there were 50,500 new homeowner remortgages completed in the month, some 23.2 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier. The £9.2bn of remortgaging in the month was 22.7 per cent more year-on-year.

There were 33,400 new homemover mortgages completed in the month, some 4 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier.  The £7.4bn of new lending in the month was 8.8 per cent more year-on-year. The average homemover is 39 and has a gross household income of £56,000.

There were 6,100 new buy-to-let home purchase mortgages completed in the month, some 9 per cent fewer than in the same month a year earlier. By value this was £0.8bn of lending in the month, 20 per cent down year-on-year.

There were 15,700 new buy-to-let remortgages completed in the month, some 5.4 per cent more than in the same month a year earlier. By value this was £2.5bn of lending in the month, 4.2 per cent more year-on-year.

Commenting on the data, Jackie Bennett, Director of Mortgages at UK Finance said “Remortgaging has reached its highest level in almost a decade, as homeowners take advantage of a competitive market and lock into attractive deals. This also reflects the large number of fixed rate mortgages coming to an end, which is expected to continue into 2019.”

“There has been relatively strong growth in the number of first-time buyers, with schemes such as Help to Buy providing vital support to those getting a foot on the housing ladder.”

“Meanwhile the buy-to-let market has seen a continued increase in remortgaging and a softening in home purchase activity, in line with ongoing trends in recent months.”

John Phillips, group Operations Director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart said “Today’s UK’s Finance Mortgage Trends Report reveals the highest rate of remortgaging in a decade with a rise of 23.2% on last year confirming that remortgaging is the clear driving force in the mortgage market at the moment. Last month’s estimate showed a downturn in remortgaging and I was quite surprised as it was not what we have been seeing at Just Mortgages. These figures are much more of a reflection of what we are seeing in the market.”

“We can also see that home mover mortgages are up too, perhaps signalling that, now the initial reluctance to move amidst Brexit uncertainty is straight to waive slightly. There will probably be another dip in home mover activity as we go into 2019, but I think remortgaging will remain strong. There are lots of fixed-rate deals coming to an end, and people are keen to lock in good fixed rate deals now, before potential rate rises.”

“Also in tougher times, when purchasing is down, lots of brokers start to focus more on their remortgaging business, which they should be doing anyway, and that has almost certainly impacted on the rise.”

Richard Pike, Phoebus Software Sales and marketing director, said “The number of remortgages in October is indicative of the upward trend we have seen over the last few months.  As we know many deals were coming to an end and the cautiousness around Brexit is making people look closely at their finances to see where they can find longer-term stability.  The number of long-term fixes has increased throughout the year, and there are plenty of great deals across the market.  Until we have some sort of a resolution regarding our exit from the EU this trend for remortgaging, rather than moving up the ladder, is likely to continue.”

“However, once we know what is happening after the first quarter next year I am sure the market will start moving as people come to the realisation that we just have to get on with it, no matter what.  There will be no more reason for the caution we have seen this year.”