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Gross mortgage lending reaches £20.6bn

Gross mortgage lending reaches 20bn

Gross mortgage lending remained steady at £20.6bn in October, according to data released by the Council of Mortgage lenders (CML).

This represents a 0.5% increase on the figure for September (£20.5bn), but a 5% decline on the £21.8bn recorded in October 2015.

Mohammad Jamei, senior economist at CML, said: “Housing market sentiment is holding up well, with demand still strong.

“This has led to a pick-up in approvals, as expected.

“The more pressing issue is on the supply side, where the lack of private sellers continues to be an obstacle for would-be borrowers.

“For this reason, we expect lending in the months ahead to be driven more by remortgaging activity and less by house purchases.

“Remortgaging will be helped by competitively priced mortgage deals, which are encouraging borrowers to refinance.”

Commenting on the figures, John Eastgate, sales and marketing director at OneSavings Bank, said: “Mortgage activity is in good health, reflecting growing consumer confidence after the EU referendum and impressive resilience in a quite exceptional year.

“However, with the government set to fall short of the 200,000 new homes it had committed to providing annually, the UK’s chronic housing shortage, and resultant rising house prices, are set to remain a major barrier towards lending growth.

“Tax changes on buy-to-let will only make matters worse. 

“The mortgage market needs to be supported by housebuilding of all tenures, which is the only long-term solution that can prevent further deepening of the housing crisis.”

John Goodall, CEO and co-founder of Landbay, added: “The housing market is enjoying a return of buyer confidence following a politically turbulent summer, and many existing homeowners are choosing to take advantage of low interest rates to refinance their mortgage.

“However, this growth in lending volumes belies a much more mixed picture across the sectors.

“Buy-to-let lending levels remain around 24% down on this time last year, as April’s 3% stamp duty hike caused an initial wave of transactions, but left in its wake a much more subdued market.

“The fundamentals of the buy-to-let market are still pointing towards long-term sustainable growth, but landlords have had a white-knuckle ride over the last 12 months, and we hope to see them given some relief [in] next week’s Autumn Statement.”

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