CML: Lending falls by 11% in April

Ryan Bembridge

May 25, 2017

Gross mortgage lending fell by 11% in April to £18.4bn, Council of Mortgage Lenders figures show.

This still amounted to 4% more gross lending than the £17.7bn recorded in April last year.

Henry Woodcock, principal mortgage consultant at IRESS, wasn’t surprised by the slowdown.

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He said: “House prices appear to have hit a peak, growing at the slowest pace for several years.

“Price increases may stall altogether as RICS predicts a quiet summer ahead with the number of sales and enquiries both flat.

“Lending in the buy-to-let market is down 80% over the year since the stamp duty hike in March 2016 as landlords have viewed the tax changes imposed under the new rules as ‘penalties’.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, drew parallels to the April lending slowdown signalled by the HMRC earlier in the week.

He said: “We would have expected the market to be kicking on at this time of year in response to seasonal factors but it is not and making steady rather than spectacular process, probably more influenced by concerns about what the election and Brexit will do to market prospects in the future.”

John Goodall (pictured), chief executive of buy-to-let lender Landbay, reckoned the results were merely a ‘blip’.

He said: “Mortgage lending activity faced a rocky period in April, despite a number of record low mortgage rates and loan-to-value deals.

“However, with cheap finance helping many first-time buyers to step on the ladder, and encouraging homeowners to remortgage, the dip in activity is likely to be a blip.”

Shaun Church, director at independent mortgage broker Private Finance, reckoned there is a twin mortgage market with subdued homemover activity.

He said: “Activity among first-time buyers and remortgagers remains strong, buoyed by rock bottom mortgage rates.

“Yet home movers are opting to stay put, creating a lack of new properties coming onto the market.

“Lending levels are therefore being maintained, but are struggling to kick up a gear.”

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