United Kingdom

HSBC handed out more mortgages in March than any other month in its history

A major bank handed out more mortgages in March than in any other month in its 40-year history of offering home loans, it revealed today. 

In a sign of the recent boom in housing market activity, HSBC UK said March was its strongest ever month for mortgage completions. 

This included providing mortgages for more than 3,000 first-time buyers.

Record lending: HSBC handed out more mortgages in March than any month in its history

The bank declined to give details about the exact number of mortgages provided due to commercial considerations.

Factors fuelling the housing market boom include the Government's stamp duty holiday, and people's desire for more space following the recurring lockdowns. 

The average house price surged by nearly £16,000 over the year to April to hit a new record high, according to Nationwide.

The stamp duty break, which allows home buyers to save up to £15,000 in tax by removing stamp duty on the portion of any property purchase under £500,000, had been due to end on March 31 but was extended in the Budget earlier that month. 

HSBC has also announced various mortgage rate cuts across its range, including on some low-deposit deals.

The rate on a 5 per cent deposit, two-year fixed-rate deal with a £999 fee has been cut from 3.99 per cent to 3.74 per cent, and the equivalent fee-free deal has seen its rate cut from 4.29 per cent to 3.99 per cent.

Boom time: House prices have rocketed amid record levels of demand during the pandemic

HSBC is taking part in the Government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme, which aims to help those with smaller deposits access loans after many low-deposit options were pulled from sale earlier in the coronavirus crisis.

It is one of a string of major mortgage providers to have returned to the 5 per cent deposit lending bracket in recent weeks.

Other reductions in HSBC UK's range include a two-year 10 per cent deposit deal at 2.99 per cent, down from 3.09 per cent, with a £999 fee.

Rate cuts have also been made on HSBC's  20 per cent, 25 per cent and 40 per cent deposit deals.

The bank said more than 400 broker firms now have access to its mortgages, an increase of more than 100 in just over eight weeks.

Michelle Andrews, HSBC UK's head of buying a home, said: 'The Government's stamp duty relief scheme gave a welcome boost to the mortgage and property markets and the resilience of home buyers has really shone through.

'We completed more mortgages in March than any month in the 40-plus years we have offered home loans, including those for over 3,000 first-time buyers.

'It has been an incredibly busy time for us.'

Rival lender TSB said this week that between March 2020 and March 2021, it provided 12,000 mortgages for first-time buyers - a 60 per cent increase on the previous 12-month period.

In the final quarter of 2020, TSB recorded a 102 per cent year-on-year increase in mortgage applications among first-time buyers, and the average application purchase price increased by 9 per cent to £223,146.

The average age of first-time buyers remained at 30, TSB said.

Nick Smith, head of mortgages at TSB, said: 'The market is showing no signs of slowing down, and by reintroducing our 95 per cent LTV mortgages, we hope to help those with smaller deposits to buy a house, particularly first-time buyers.'

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