CML gross lending flat in August

Sarah Davidson

September 20, 2012

This represents a fall of 4% from £13.1bn in August 2011.

Bob Pannell, CML chief economist, said house purchase activity continued to be a little higher than levels last year but the housing numbers were far from strong.

He said: “We expect to see stronger take-up of NewBuy over the coming months helped by a concerted marketing effort by builders and the recently launched Funding for Lending Scheme, which has prompted reductions in NewBuy mortgage rates. Both factors should stimulate buyer interest.”

Pannell described the FLS as a “bold move” which could have a great influence on the housing market over the next year.

He added: “While not a panacea for all housing market problems the scheme does offer the potential to improve the lending environment.”

Pannell said any initial assessment of the impact of FLS would not come until the end of the year.

But Ashley Brown, director of independent mortgage broker Moneysprite, was more cynical.

He said: “Who are the Council of Mortgage Lenders trying to kid? The Funding for Lending scheme is bold but there has also been a fair bit of bluster.

“It may have triggered some activity but unfortunately none of it has been in the right areas. It has seen better deals for the people who don’t really need them, and little of note for those that do.”

Brown said the first-time buyer is still woefully underserved.

And he added: “We don’t want a return to reckless lending but we do want a return to sanity. NewBuy is welcome but it’s totally inadequate and has been holed under the water line by high rates. It’s yet more tinkering around the edges.”

David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, said: “Mortgage lending is still bouncing along the bottom, acting as an ongoing brake on purchase activity from those without substantial equity or the ability to buy in cash. The Funding for Lending scheme should make life easier for lenders to provide cheaper finance for those buying their first home, but we’ve yet to see its influence in the monthly lending figures.”

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The launch of the Funding for Lending Scheme last month saw an increase in the number of competitive products being launched. It will have been too soon for this to filter through to the August figures, but I’d expect this will start having more of an impact on activity levels over the remainder of the year.

“However, if there is to be a lasting effect we really need to see more lenders launching high loan to value products. We are encouraged that Aldermore Mortgages have launched into the New Buy market and we need more lenders to engage in this important sector of the housing market both to offer greater choice and drive competition. First-time buyers are the lifeblood of the industry and until we can address this the lending environment will not fully recover.”

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