Commenting on the figures Niall Harkin, Head of Mortgage Intermediary Business at Danske Bank, said:
“This survey shows a generally positive trend, with mortgage activity in Northern Ireland increasing compared with the same quarter last year, albeit at a relatively modest rate. Within the overall increase in mortgage volume there are significant variations across different borrower types.
“The first time buyer and remortgage markets continue to demonstrate strong and sustained growth. Rates and deals in the remortgage market are very competitive as we are still in a very low interest rate environment, so clearly people see this as a good time to remortgage.
“The first time buyer market is still being driven by pent up demand, supported by increased competition from lenders in this segment. The combination of relatively robust consumer confidence, an excellent choice of mortgage products for first time buyers and improved availability of housing stock, in particular from new build activity, have contributed to what we are seeing in that market.
“The overall mortgage market shows a dip in first time buyer activity from the fourth quarter 2016 to the first quarter of 2017 but at Danske we have actually seen a rise in activity quarter on quarter, demonstrating the strength of our first time buyer offering.
“The figures show that across Northern Ireland, the home mover market is more subdued, which is perhaps due to a more limited supply of housing stock for people who are looking to make the move to their second next home.
“Overall, the CML’s Q1 figures suggest the market in Northern Ireland is healthy and with affordability measures comparing favourably to the UK average, there is capacity for further sustainable growth this year. At Danske Bank we will continue to support consumers in all segments of the market.
“The ongoing low interest environment continues to support competitive mortgage rates, and while rising inflation will put some pressure on household incomes, we expect continued strong mortgage demand, with the possibility of an interest rate rise due to higher inflation perhaps driving more people to look for a good deal in the near term.”
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