Scottish mortgage lending falls 18% in a quarter

Mortgage lending in Scotland fell 18% in Q3 2008 compared with the previous quarter, data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders Scotland has revealed.

This bad news coincides with the introduction in Scotland of Home Reports – Scotland’s equivalent of Home Information Packs – which include detailed surveys covering the condition, valuation and energy-efficiency of houses.

The scheme aims to cut the cost for buyers, who often have to commission several surveys before bidding successfully for propertiesSome 15,100 house purchase loans were granted in Scotland in Q3 2008.

The CML Scotland data for Q 3 shows that Scottish first-time buyers accounted for loans worth £481m – down from £622m in the previous quarter. The typical first-time buyer put down a 16% deposit.

Kennedy Foster, policy consultant at CML Scotland, said: “The year-on-year decline in house purchase lending has been less pronounced in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.

“As the Crosby report recognises, intervention is needed to restore the availability of mortgages. We hope to see its recommendations implemented swiftly as this would help address supply issues, but consumer demand for loans will continue to fall away.”

Home Reports will cost between £300 and £800 each and mean sellers having to make the single surveys available to anyone interested in buying their homes.

While Scotland’s mortgage market appears to be contracting, the country’s business leaders are staging a fightback against the take-over of HBOS by Lloyds TSB.

The government may be a majority stakeholder in the Royal Bank of Scotland, with taxpayers now owing 57.9% of RBS, but a consortium of Scottish businessmen has formed the Merger Action Group and filed an application with the Competition Appeal Tribunal claiming Lord Mandelson’s decision to ignore the 18% competition issue was unlawful. Finally, the connection is tenuous but the Financial Services Authority has banned Manchester-based London Scottish Bank – which specialises in customers with poor credit histories – from accepting deposits. In the six months to April 2008 the bank lost £7.4m. LSB has around 10,000 depositors.