The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has revealed that home-owners borrowed £9.4bn for house purchase, up 15% month-on-month and 8% year-on-year.
They took out 53,800 loans, up 13% on April and 5% on May 2015.
First-time buyers borrowed £4.3bn, up 10% on April and 23% on May last year. This equated to 27,500 loans, up 9% month-on-month and 16% year-on-year.
Meanwhile, home movers borrowed £5.1bn, up 19% on April but down 2% compared to a year ago. This represented 26,300 loans, up 18% month-on-month but down 5% on May 2015.
Remortgage activity totalled £5.2bn, down 15% on April but up 30% compared to a year ago. This came to 30,900 loans, down 12% month-on-month but up 25% compared to a year ago.
In addition, landlords borrowed £2.6bn, up 4% month-on-month but down 4% year-on-year. This came to 16,600 loans in total, up 3% compared to April but down 8% compared to May 2015.
Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “There was a sense of the market regaining some equilibrium in May, following the stamp duty driven spike in March and the subsequent dip in April. For the second month running, first-time buyers borrowed more than home movers, the first time in 20 years that this has been the case. Buy-to-let continues at lower levels as expected, after the change to stamp duty.
“Brexit, and its likely effect on the market, is a question to which the answer will not immediately be forthcoming. Lenders will continue to be open for business as usual, but lending volumes may be affected by uncertain consumer sentiment.”
Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS, added: “The mortgage market in May appeared confident, with the value of borrowing up year-on-year for home-owners, first-time buyers and remortgagors.* Just buy-to-let lending was down when compared to May 2015, hampered by the change to Stamp Duty.
“The surprise result in the UK vote to leave the EU does mean a certain volatility in the housing market will ensue in the coming months and it is not yet clear exactly how this will play out, but we’re seeing little evidence anecdotally of purchases or transactions falling through.
“The Bank of England looks likely to lower the base rate to a new historic low of 0.25%, which could ensure competitive mortgage rates continue to be offered, presenting an opportunity for existing homeowners to remortgage and reduce their outgoings. However, this is not all good news as lender appetite for risk will be lower in the current economic climate, which could hamper chances for some first-time buyers.”