Bank Holidays Take the Focus off the Housing Market in April; THE NUMBER OF MORTGAGES APPROVED FELL BY 4%

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 2, 2011 | Go to article overview

Bank Holidays Take the Focus off the Housing Market in April; THE NUMBER OF MORTGAGES APPROVED FELL BY 4%


Byline: HELEN TURNER

ACTIVITY in the mortgage market slumped during April as the extended bank holiday weekends distracted people from their moving and re-mortgaging plans, figures showed yesterday.

The number of mortgages approved for house purchase dropped by 4% to the lowest level since December, when the market was hit by bad weather, according to the Bank of England.

Despite the poor figures, trade body the Council for Mortgage Lenders predicted that over the course of the year mortgage lending would rise for the first time since the credit crunch struck.

Tony Filice, director of Kelvin Francis estate agents and spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Wales, said the housing market in April had been predictably similar to December, given the strong influence of holidays and weather.

"Having the back-to-back bank holidays, we lost another two weeks of an active business period," he said.

"There were also holidays before and after which effectively restricted buyers looking at properties, which is no different from last year with the snow."

"Last year's restrictive mortgages of 20-25% mean many first-time buyers are still consequently tied up in six or 12-month rent leases because they were not able to buy - although this is about to change," he said.

"What we were finding from spring time activity, is it was quite strong with people looking. We are also noticing more products available from banks and building societies coming out. Two weeks ago we had the Monmouthshire Building Society introduce 95% mortgages.

"The next three months will be more active in the housing market because of the fact that funding is more available to the first-time buyers."

In West Wales, Nigel Jones, director of John Francis, was more optimistic, saying their offices were "quite busy" during the bank holidays, with an increase in mortgage activity since the same time last year. …

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