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CML: Pace of mortgage lending slows

Nia Williams

July 18, 2014

This is 4% higher than May (£16.8 billion), 17% higher than June last year (£14.9 billion) and the highest monthly figure since October last year (£17.6 billion).

Gross mortgage lending for the second quarter of this year was therefore an estimated £50.8 billion – a 10% increase from the first three months of this year and a 21% increase on the second quarter of 2013 (£41.9 billion).

However the pace of lending appears to be reducing, although it is early days since the MMR came into effect.

Commenting, CML chief economist Bob Pannell, said: “The macro-prudential interventions announced by the Financial Policy Committee in late June are finely calibrated and precautionary, but could nevertheless reinforce April’s Mortgage Market Review in tipping the UK towards a more conservative lending environment.

“It is difficult to gauge the short-term direction for house purchase activity and mortgage lending more generally, given unknown regulatory impacts and uncertainty as to when the first in a series of interest rate increases will take place.”

Henry Woodcock, principle mortgage consultant, IRESS, said: “Faint signs that the rapid growth in the mortgage market is starting to peter out are becoming clearer.

“The market is still readjusting to the combination of tougher affordability checks and increased levels of red tape brought by the MMR. On top of this, while the prospect of rising house prices is attracting many to the benefits of homeownership, it is also making it more difficult for those with the smallest deposits to get their foot on the property ladder.

“That’s not to say lending will fall off a cliff by any means. There is still a strong appetite from buyers, and an impetus from those with large enough deposits to secure mortgage finance before interest rates are hiked.

“This will underpin activity in the short-term while the market acclimatises to post-MMR processes.”

Stephen Smith, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club and Housing, agreed that this acclimatisation is key.

“In the light of the recent regulatory changes and the Bank of England’s cap on lending it is important that the mortgage market is allowed some time to adapt and settle back down,” he said.

“This will ensure that the recovery in the market is not stifled, particularly in areas outside London and the South east.

“Over the next few months, whilst we don’t expect lending to drop, it is likely that we will see a shift in who banks are lending to.

“With interest rate rises firmly on the horizon, now is a good time for homeowners to assess their finances and ensure they have the best deal available to him.

“With that in mind, over the coming months we would expect lending to remortgagers to rise compared to first-time buyer loans.”


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