Weathering a slow start to this year

DAVID FINLAY, INTERMEDIARY BUSINESS DIRECTOR, BARCLAYS
DAVID FINLAY, INTERMEDIARY BUSINESS DIRECTOR, BARCLAYS

The Winter Olympics captured many headlines in recent weeks but this year there was more to the spectacle than winners and fallers.

February invariably equals heavy snow in Vancouver but 2010 was an exception. Snow had to be brought in by helicopter and lorry, while thousands of man-hours had to be spent getting mountain slopes in shape for the events.

The workload was phenomenal but the games showed every sign of proceeding with only minor hiccups.

Compare this with the few inches of snow we had over here. January featured some of the worst weather conditions we have seen for years and this may have had a bearing on gross mortgage lending figures that fell to £9.1bn – the lowest January figure for a decade, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The trade body says that the bigger than average fall between December and January confirms its view that house purchase activity was boosted by borrowers trying to complete purchases ahead of the end of the Stamp Duty holiday.

But surely it also highlights the lack of activity seen in the first half of January due to bad weather. We all did our best to keep working but most were affected in some way.

So while it has been an inauspicious start to the year for lending we should take heart from Vancouver’s valiant efforts and ensure the show goes on. I expect lending figures to get back on track in February.