January figures likely to show slowdown
The gross lending total of £13.4 billion in December 2009 was in line with the CML’s estimate (£13.5 billion) and seems to confirm the CML’s view that much activity was “rushed through” to beat the stamp duty deadline. Gross lending totalled £143.5 billion in 2009.
Net lending remains up from the near stagnation in the middle of the year. For 2009 as a whole net lending totalled £11.5 billion. This was the lowest level on record (back to 1987), but higher than the CML forecast of £8 billion. It was largely driven by the relative strength of house purchase activity, which picked up over the latter part of the year, and weak levels of repayments. The CML sees little if any evidence that households, in aggregate, are using low interest rates to pay down mortgage debt more quickly.
CML economist Paul Samter said: “These figures confirm that the mortgage market ended 2009 in much better shape than it started, but it still looks like a slow haul back to meaningful levels of activity. It should be no surprise if January and February this year appear particularly slow, if we are correct in our view that many buyers rushed to beat the stamp duty concession deadline in December.”