Scots home buyers borrowed £1.8bn in first quarter

Home buyers in Scotland borrowed £1.8 billion for house purchases in the first quarter of 2017, down 15% on the previous quarter but up 5% on the first quarter 2016, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

Scottish borrowers took out 14,300 loans, down 14% on the previous quarter but up 6% on the first quarter 2016.

Remortgage activity totalled £940 million, up 9% on the fourth quarter and up 21% on the same quarter last year. This came to 7,900 loans, up 11% quarter-on-quarter and up 23% compared to a year ago.

First-time buyers borrowed £810 million, down 10% on the fourth quarter but up 25% on the first quarter last year. This totalled 7,600 loans, down 8% quarter-on-quarter but up 23% year-on-year.

Home movers borrowed £1 billion, down 19% quarter-on-quarter and down 6% compared to a year ago. This totalled 6,700 loans, down 19% quarter-on-quarter and down 8% compared to the same quarter in 2016.

CML Scotland chair Carol Anderson said: “There tends to be a seasonal lull in lending in the first quarter of the year, and this year is no exception.

“Even so, competitive mortgage rates have spurred on a resurgence in remortgage activity which was at a five year quarterly high in Scotland.

“First-time buyer lending also showed an increase on the first quarter of last year.

“The decline in home mover activity is not unexpected given the surge in activity last year to avoid the changes in Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, but we expect home buying activity to gain momentum into the summer months.”

First-time buyers in Scotland typically borrowed £98,000, down from £99,800 in the previous quarter and below the £133,000 average for the UK.

The average household income for first-time buyers was £33,600 (£40,000 in the UK overall), unchanged from the previous quarter, and the typical income multiple of 3.01 (3.03 in the previous quarter) compared favourably to the UK average of 3.53.

For home movers in Scotland, the typical amount borrowed in the first quarter was £139,500, down from £140,000 the previous quarter, and below the £175,000 for the UK overall.

The average household income of a home mover was £50,000 (£54,600 in the UK overall), down from £50,800.

This meant the typical home mover income multiple in Scotland was 2.83, up from 2.80 the previous quarter, but below the UK average of 3.34.