CML: Mortgage lending grew in March
This is 21% higher than February (£13.6bn), and 7% higher than March last year (£15.4bn).
The growth comes after a slow start to the year. Gross mortgage lending for the first quarter was an estimated £44.9bn – a 12% decrease from the last three months of 2014 and a 3% decrease on the first quarter of 2014.
Commenting on market conditions, CML chief economist Bob Pannell observed: “The underlying lending picture is stabilising. Sentiment and activity are showing early signs of improvement, and should be further supported by the effects of stamp duty reform.
“We expect to see lending strengthen over the next few months, albeit from a relatively sluggish start in 2015.”
Jeremy Duncombe, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “It is encouraging to see that gross lending has climbed by 7% in the year to March, as the market begins to pick up after a slow start to the year.
“We expect lending to increase further as the year progresses where the combination of low interest rates, low inflation and the reduction in stamp duty should stimulate demand for new homes, particularly once uncertainty around the General Election is resolved.
“Our own lending figures are up by 12% on last year. This is due to the success of the brokers and lenders we work with, who have adapted well to new regulation. Consumers are benefiting from proper advice and greater choice, enabling them to find a deal that best suits their needs.”
Henry Woodcock, principal mortgage consultant, IRESS, said: “Despite the ongoing political uncertainty in the lead up to the General Election, and the ongoing drag of tightening criteria for many borrowers, the market has weathered the storm.
“Mortgage rates on decent length fixes are at unprecedented lows, stimulating demand. Furthermore, the fall in oil prices has helped reduce the rate of inflation, boost real incomes and delay an increase in base rates, meaning more money in buyers’ back pockets.
“However, the Election does remain a fly in the ointment, and as we move closer to May 7, we can expect the waters to muddy somewhat. With housing a key pillar of parties’ manifestos, we may see the effect of a wait-and-see approach in April and May’s lending figures.”