A major bank handed out more mortgages in March than in any other month of more than 40 years offering home loans.
In a sign of the recent boom in housing market activity, HSBC UK said March was its strongest ever month for mortgage completions, including deals for more than 3,000 first-time buyers.
The bank declined to give further details about the exact number due to commercial considerations.
A stamp duty holiday had been due to end on March 31, helping to fuel a rush of housing market activity, but it was extended in the recent Budget.
HSBC UK also announced various mortgage rate cuts across its range on Thursday, including on some low-deposit deals.
The reductions include the rate on a 5% deposit two-year fixed-rate deal, with a £999 fee being cut from 3.99% to 3.74%. A similar “feesaver” deal has a rate cut from 4.29% to 3.99%.
HSBC UK is taking part in the Government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme to give people with deposits as low as 5% a better choice of mortgages, after many low-deposit home loans 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% deposit lending bracket in recent weeks.
Other reductions in HSBC UK’s range include a two-year 10% deposit deal at 2.99%, down from 3.09%, with a £999 fee.
Rate cuts have also been made on its 20%, 25% and 40% deposit deals.
The bank said more than 400 broker firms 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.”
TSB said this week that between March 2020 and March 2021, it provided 12,000 mortgages for first-time buyers – a 60% increase on the previous 12-month period.
In the final quarter of 2020, TSB recorded a 102% year-on-year increase in mortgage applications among first-time buyers, and the average application purchase price increased by 9% 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% LTV mortgages, we hope to help those with smaller deposits to buy a house, particularly first-time buyers.”