Scotland

Home loans to Scots fall by 33% in first quarter

Two people look in an estate agent's window
More than £1bn in home loans were issued in the first qaurter of this year

The number of loans issued to homebuyers in Scotland fell by a third in the first three months of this year.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said 9,700 mortgages were issued between January and March.

That was a drop on the previous quarter but a 28% increase on the same period in 2009.

The council said the latest fall was mostly caused by the rush to buy at the end of 2009 before the end of the stamp duty holiday.

Many people who would have bought in the first quarter brought forward their purchases to take advantage of no stamp duty on properties valued at under £175,000 before it ended in December last year.

More than £1bn was lent to homebuyers in Scotland in the first three months of 2010, down from £1.6bn on the previous quarter.

First-time buyers

There were 3,900 loans to first-time buyers in the first quarter, worth £326m.

First-time buyers accounted for 40% of all house purchases in Scotland during this time.

Commenting on the data, the council's policy consultant in Scotland, Kennedy Foster said: "The pace of recovery in Scotland at first sight appears slower than in the rest of the UK, but in fact throughout the current housing cycle, market activity in Scotland has followed that of the whole of the UK very closely, but with a lag of around one quarter."

Meanwhile, the number of new houses built in Scotland last year fell by 20%, according to latest government figures.

The biggest decline was in the private sector, which saw the number of houses built drop by a third compared with 2008.

Ministers said the number of government-funded affordable homes built in the latest financial year increased to more than 5,500, up about 1,000 from the previous 12 months.

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