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This July was the busiest for remortgaging in a decade, as there were 46,900 residential transactions worth £8.7bn that completed, UK Finance figures show.

This means that volumes were 23.1% higher than the same month in 2017 and by value there was a 26.1% increase year-on-year.

There was a similar trend in buy-to-let remortgaging, where 14,700 loans worth £2.4bn were completed, increases of 7.3% by volume and 9.1% by value year-on-year.

Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said: “The residential remortgaging market saw its strongest July in over a decade, as homeowners pre-empted the latest Bank of England rate rise by locking into attractive fixed-rate deals.

“There was also considerable growth in remortgaging in the buy-to-let sector, showing that while recent tax and regulatory changes are impacting on new purchases, many existing landlords remain in the market.”

The number of buy-to-let purchase mortgages completed fell by 14.1% year-on-year, with just 14,700 being completed.

Richard Pike, sales and marketing director of Phoebus Software, said: “While July is traditionally a busy month, it is clear that a number of people were kicked into action by the anticipation of the base rate rise.

“It was not such a rosy picture for purchases however. It is clear that consumer confidence is starting to take a hit, undoubtedly by all the talk of a no deal Brexit.

“Whenever there is uncertainty, people tend to put off making big decisions such as buying a new home. I expect to see more and more caution over the next six months as people wait to see what the outcome will be and what effect it will have on them personally.

“If ultimately, the result is better than expected, this could turn out to be pent up demand with a surge in house moves afterwards, but it could be many months before we see this come to fruition.”

Shaun Church, director at Private Finance, said: “Remortgage activity appears to be the main thing keeping the buy-to-let market afloat.

“Though punitive regulatory changes have dissuaded new entrants to the market, today’s data suggests many existing landlords are staying put.

“With mortgage costs often being one of landlords’ biggest expenses, swapping to a lower-rate deal is a sensible strategy for making a rental property more profitable.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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