Skipton Building Society sees record mortgage applications in H1

Skipton Building Society received a record number of mortgage applications in the first half of 2022.

The Skipton, the UK’s fourth largest building society and parent organisation of the Connells group, the UK’s largest estate agency, generated pre-tax profits for first six months of the year of £160.0m (six months ended 30 June 2021: £159.2m).

The Mortgages and Savings division generated pre-tax profits of £128.3m (six months ended 30 June 2021: £86.9m) – an increase of £41.4m compared with the first half of 2021, due principally to increases in net interest income and improved interest margins.

Skipton’s focus on mortgages for homebuyers saw the Society’s records repeatedly broken – May 2022 was the Society’s highest ever month for mortgage applications, totalling £1.1bn.

This robust performance saw the Group’s mortgage portfolio grow 3.1% in the period to reach £24.0bn – its net lending accounted for 2.2% of growth in the UK residential mortgage market, compared to the Society’s 1.4% share of UK residential mortgage balances.

The Society enabled over 6,200 first-time buyers to get their first home with a Skipton mortgage.

The Bank of England increased bank base rate four times in the period, from 0.25% at the start of the year to 1.25% by June. Given the immediate cost of living crisis for households, the Society took decisions to protect its mortgage variable rate borrowers from these base rate increases – only 0.1% of the total 1.0% increase was passed on to the Society’s variable rate borrowers.

Connells, the Group’s estate agency division, delivered underlying pre-tax profits of £29.0m (six months ended 30 June 2021: £50.0m); the higher profits in 2021 benefitted from exceptional housing market demand, fuelled by stamp duty reliefs and people’s changing housing needs following the pandemic.

Ian Cornelius, Skipton’s interim group chief executive, said: “I’m acutely conscious our strong performance comes at a time when household finances are under significant strain. The current economic environment for our members and colleagues is understandably causing concern. Our role at Skipton is to help people navigate these challenging times, and it’s very pleasing to see our competitive offering and first-rate service have enabled us in recent months to help more people than ever before.

“As a mutual, we’re accountable to our members, not shareholders. Our priority will always be the long-term sustainability of our business, not short-term profit maximisation. So it is a relatively straightforward decision that we take to reinvest profits into the business for the benefit of everyone – our customers, our colleagues and our communities.

“We seek to invest purposefully, from strengthening our IT, digital and data platforms, through to reimagining how we attract and retain talent, to ensure we are fit for the future. And that goes for our green ambitions too, with increased investment to deliver our transition to net zero and support our customers to live in greener and more efficient homes.

“These results for the first half of 2022, including the excellent growth achieved in both mortgages and savings, are the result of the great work by colleagues across the Society and their unwavering focus on helping our members at every life stage by offering great value, great service and a strong proposition that meets their needs.

“Public and personal finances have rarely been under such pressure as they are today. Whilst faced with significant uncertainties, Skipton is in a robust position to meet the challenges ahead. The trust our customers and colleagues place in us to do the right thing by them will never be taken for granted. We will continue to do everything we can to support them and their families in these extraordinary times.”

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