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Mortgage lending remains stable following launch of tougher ‘stress tests’

Adam Williams
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Adam Williams

Mortgage lending held steady in the month following the introduction of tougher affordability criteria, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders have shown.

The new Mortgage Market Review (MMR) regulations hit the market on 26 April, sparking fears of a slowdown from lenders, but mortgage volumes remained flat during May.

Gross mortgage lending reached £16.5bn in May, idenitical to the level recorded during the previous month.

May’s total also compares favourably to the same month last year, when £14.8bn of lending was completed.

CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: “Implementation of the new regulatory regime is likely to have disrupted the normal patterns of activity, creating statistical “fog” around the published figures. As this lifts over the coming months, a clearer picture as to any lasting impact of the MMR rules on lending activity should emerge.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said it would take until later in the year before a true assessment of the MMR’s impact could be made.

“It is still not clear how much of an impact the Mortgage Market Review rules are having on the market and how much of the slowdown is to do with buyers questioning the prices some vendors are demanding.”