First-time buyer numbers highest since 2007 This was also an increase of 19% over the same period last year by volume. By value, the figures were up 11% on May’s figure and 27% up on June last year. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), which represents 95% of all residential mortgage lenders, reported that the typical loan size for these borrowers was £123,865 and that, given a typical gross annual income of approximately £37,000 in June; this represents an average of 3.47 times their income. The average age of these borrowers also fell from 30 to 29 years . With interest rates remaining at their historic low of 0.5% the Bank of England (BoE) appears sanguine about the affordability of these mortgages moving forward, as it calculates that 19.3% of their gross income will be spent on servicing the capital and interest payments on such mortgages. On the wider front, overall gross mortgage lending across the market in June grew by 6% from the May figures and by 20% on the year to £17.9 billion. There were 66,279 house purchase approvals in July, against 61,651 in the same month last year. This represents a 7.5% increase year-on-year and is the highest monthly figure since 2007. Whilst the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) had slowed the approval process initially, as there was a slight dip in lending volumes seen in April and May, it appears that the bottleneck in those approvals has now been cleared and the mortgage lending recovery is now in place. Markets (August) (Data supplied by the Outsourced Marketing Department) Given the continuing geopolitical and military unrest in the Ukraine, Gaza, Syria and Iraq, the equity markets remained remarkably sanguine in August, with most indices managing modest gains.
Here in the UK the FTSE100, benefiting from confirmation of economic progress, saw a gain of 1.33% on the month to close August at 6,819.8 and the wider FTSE250 moving up 2.52% to 15,885.72. The junior AIM market followed suit closing at 778.97 to record a gain of 1.35%. Across the pond the Dow Jones index continued to power ahead, closing the month out at 17,098.45, a rise in the month of 3.23%, with the Nasdaq likewise gaining 4.82% to finish at 4,580.27. Confounding many market analysts, the broader S&P500 index closed at 2,003.37; above the important 2,000 level for the first time ever. The eurozone also saw gains, despite reports that GDP has fallen again in Germany and France and with the whole zone teetering on a deflationary spiral. All eyes are therefore on the European Central Bank as to how they will address the crisis. However, the Eurostoxx50 index still managed to gain 1.82% in August, to close at 3,172.11. Unfortunately, Japan spoilt the party as the Nikkei 225 lost 196 points (or 1.26%) closing out at 15,424.59 Foreign Exchange dealers followed the deliberations of Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England carefully, trying to gauge the timing of any UK interest rate rise and deciding it will be later than previously expected, and therefore Sterling fell against the US Dollar by 1.19% to $1.66, but still managed to gain a little against the Euro to €1.27. The greenback itself also improved against the Euro, to finish August at $1.31 As last month, despite the global unrest, the price of oil remained subdued; with the benchmark Brent Crude price falling 3.36% lower to $102.46 a barrel. Likewise gold, the usual safe-haven asset in times of unrest, remained pretty flat, gaining only a modest 0.55% to $1,292.9 a troy ounce. Download full report here

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