New data suggests that property prices have remained steady in recent months, rising 0.1 per cent month on month in November. According Nationwide’s latest house price index, the average property price now sits at £204,947.
Nationwide’s figures also reveal a rise in first-time buyers’ interest in fixed-rate mortgages – which have accounted for 95 per cent of all mortgage lending to new homeowners over the past 12 months.
Separate data released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) in recent weeks revealed that gross mortgage lending hit £20.6billion in October, up from £20.5bn in September.
Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, suggested that an increasing number of borrowers were turning towards fixed-rate deals to benefit from “historically low interest rates”.
He also said that the past few months had given way to an upward trend in both mortgage approvals and new buyer enquiries.
“There are some signs that, despite the uncertain economic outlook, demand conditions have strengthened a little in recent months, reflecting the impact of solid labour market conditions and historically low borrowing costs,” he said.
“Mortgage approvals increased in October, and surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have increased modestly.
“The relatively low number of homes on the market and modest rates of housing construction are likely to keep the demand/supply balance fairly tight in the quarters ahead, even if economic conditions weaken, as most forecasters expect”.