UK lender Alliance & Leicester has claimed that confidence in the housing market is on the increase, with 15% of households currently saying they intend to move this year compared to the 7% who were contemplating the same in January.
The UK’s sixth largest bank said that although not everyone will act on these plans, the change in intentions underscores this year’s much higher activity levels in the housing market. Mortgage lending in the first four months of the year increased by 28.4% compared to the same period last year.
Alliance & Leicester also said that first time buyers are returning to the market, with the proportion of under 30’s planning to get on the housing ladder increasing by a third since January – up from 12% to 16%.
Despite record mortgage lending, affordability also remains good, A&L said. The latest figures from April suggest that by now the total value of mortgage debt in the UK almost certainly exceeds GBP1 trillion for the first time, but affordability remains at similar levels to last year. In the first quarter, interest payments on mortgages on average took up 14% of household income, the lowest it has been since the second quarter of 2004.
Chris Rhodes, managing director of Alliance & Leicester’s retail banking operations, commented: While household incomes have grown modestly, interest rates are lower than a year ago. Overall the cost of servicing a mortgage has therefore fallen slightly, despite gently rising house prices.