Property sales in January were hit by the end of the stamp duty holiday, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has reported.
There were 49% fewer house purchase loans in January than in December but only 15% fewer remortgage loans. However, the 32,000 loans for house purchase, worth £4.7 billion, were up from the low of 23,000 (worth £3.1 billion) seen in January 2009.
Conversely, the 24,000 loans for remortgage, worth £3 billion, were down from 45,000 (£6.2 billion) a year ago. This is the lowest monthly level of remortgage activity.
First-time buyers recorded the largest drop among house purchasers, with a 54% drop (55% by value) from December to January.
There were 11,300 first-time buyer loans, worth £1.3 billion, in the month, down from 24,800 (£2.9 billion) in December 2009, but still up from 8,600 (worth £900 million) in January 2009.
Following a 63% increase in the number of first-time buyer transactions for properties in the £125,000-175,000 band in December, the number of equivalent transactions fell by 80% in January – to account for just 19% of all first-time buyer loans, down from a record 42% in December. Compared to a year earlier, the number of first-time buyer loans in this category was down 22%.
A similar picture can be seen amongst home movers. This group saw a 49% increase in transactions in the £125,000-175,000 category in December and a 71% drop in January – while transactions across the other price bands fell by a more modest 36% in the month.
CML director general Michael Coogan said: “It was a quiet start to the year. Lending volumes in January were low