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Mortgage lending falls 9 per cent in February

Written by: Samantha Partington
February gross mortgage lending fell back 9% from the previous month to £13.4bn representing the lowest monthly estimate since April 2013 when lending hit £12.4bn, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported.

The estimate is also 9 per cent lower than gross mortgage lending in February 2014 when lenders advanced £14.8bn of mortgages.

The CML’s chief economist Bob Pannell said the subdued lending estimate had not come as a surprise as mortgage approval data issued by a range of market indices showed a year-on-year decline in January.

Statistics from esurv revealed the number of mortgage approvals in January fell to 65,778 from 75,557 in January 2014 while reports from the British Bankers Association revealed a 20 per cent year-on-year decline in the number of mortgages agreed.

“Seasonal factors tend to weigh on activity at the start of the year but looking through these the underlying picture appears to be stabilising,” said Pannell.

“We expect lending to improve in the coming months as employment and earnings continue to pick up and the impact of recent Stamp Duty reforms start to feed through.”

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said the slowdown in lending growth proved newly-introduced legislation was promoting a safe and sustainable mortgage market.

“It’s the story of the tortoise and the hare – the reconfigured market has a wealth of checks and balances to ensure that growth occurs in a measured fashion rather than a dizzy burst. Growth is slower than a year ago, but it is more sustainable.”

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