Thinking of remortgaging? You are far from alone, with numbers jumping nearly 13% on last year, according to figures.

The number of people remortgaging has soared to a two-year high as homeowners take advantage of lenders’ end-of-year price war to lock into a good deal.

A total of 37,769 mortgages were approved for people switching to a new deal in October, 12.7% more than in the same month of last year, according to industry body UK Finance.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “As we head towards the end of the year, and lenders jostle for what business there is out there, there are some incredible deals on the market to attract borrowers.”

There was also an increase in the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, with these rising 3% year-on-year to 46,631, despite the uncertainty caused by the General Election.

Why is this happening?

The final quarter is traditionally a busy time for remortgaging as banks and building societies try to entice homeowners with competitive deals in a bid to meet their annual lending targets by the end of the year.

This situation not only encourages people who are sitting on their lenders’ standard variable rate to remortgage, but it also means a higher volume of mortgages tend to expire during this period, due to people previously taking out fixed term deals in the run up to the end of the year.

The surge in remortgaging typically helps to offset a more subdued market for lending to people buying a new home, with house-hunters typically putting moving plans on hold until after Christmas.

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Who does it affect?

End of year competition among lenders is great news for anyone looking to remortgage.

Halifax is currently offering a two-year fixed rate mortgage of 1.08% for people with a 40% deposit, while NatWest is offering a two-year deal of 1.25% for those with a 25% deposit.

Rates ate only slightly higher for homeowners who want to fix for five years, with Virgin Money offering a deal of 1.46% for people borrowing 65% of their home’s value.

Nationwide, Halifax, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland all have five-year fixed rate loans with rates below 1.6%.

What’s the background?

The housing market has shown signs of enjoying a slight autumn bounce, although the lift has been more muted than in previous years.

Subdued transaction levels are partly due to the current uncertainty caused by both Brexit and the General Election.

But high house prices and stretched affordability in many areas are also acting as a drag on the market, particularly in southern regions.

Even once Brexit is finalised, activity levels are not expected to pick up significantly, with house price growth also expected to remain low. 

Top 3 takeaways

  • The number of people remortgaging has soared to a two-year high as homeowners take advantage of lenders’ end of year price war

  • A total of 37,769 mortgages were approved for people switching to a new deal in October, 12.7% more than in the same month of last year

  • There was also an increase in the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, with these rising 3% year-on-year to 46,631

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