MORTGAGE figures released by Northern Bank reveal a 39% increase in the level of mortgages it approved in 2011, in spite of ongoing negative sentiment that the mortgage market has come to a standstill.
Over half of the Bank’s new to bank mortgages went to first time buyers in Northern Ireland.
Northern Bank approved over £10 million of mortgage funds to customers in the Coleraine area seeking to build, move home or buy for the first time, including customers switching their mortgage to Northern Bank from another financial institution.
According to Keith Elliott, Branch Manager in Coleraine, the trend is set to continue in 2012.
“We are very much open for mortgage business and, having already seen further growth in the number of mortgage offers we have made this year compared to the same period last year, I am confident that last year’s positive trend will continue this year.
“There is clearly still an appetite for mortgage lending from new and existing customers in the Coleraine area, and our figures for the past year demonstrate our willingness to lend to people who are seeking to buy for the first time, move house or even build, pending affordability and circumstances.
“With over 50 per cent of total new to bank mortgages last year going to first time buyers, we have a very strong proposition for customers looking to buy their first home. And as one of the few mortgage providers to offer first time buyers up to 95% loan to value, we are continuing to support the local housing market.
“We are also experiencing a growth in demand from customers who are seeking to save money by switching their mortgage to Northern Bank from their current mortgage provider. In these difficult economic times it is clear that customers see an opportunity to save money by switching mortgage provider.
“Our new mortgage deal meanwhile will see arrangement fees slashed from £999 to £500 and, for a customer who both mandates their salary to Northern Bank and takes one of our selected current accounts, no arrangement fee will apply.”
Keith said the bank was committed to making the mortgage process straightforward for new and existing customers, saying:
“As consumer habits continue to evolve, so too does the mortgage service that we provide at Northern Bank.
“We believe that banking should fit in around our customers’ lifestyles. Our branch in the Diamond is now open until 4.30pm on Saturdays, providing customers with even greater choice as to when they visit their branch, whether it’s for day to day banking or for an appointment with one of our Mortgage Consultants.
“We have also seen a marked increase last year in the number of people applying for their mortgage at a time that suited them using our telephone service.
“Trained mortgage advisors are available over the phone between 8am and 8pm on weekdays and 9am until 1pm on Saturdays, making it a much more convenient option for those with busy lifestyles.”