Gross lending of £145bn and 500,000 arrears in 2009

The Council of Mortgage Lenders predicts that there will gross mortgage lending of just £145bn and that arrears will hit a whopping 500,000 in 2009.

It also backs up Sir James Crosby’s prediction that net lending is likely to be zero and that as consumers repay existing mortgage debt it could be minus as much as £25bn.

Housing market activity it says will be “extremely” subdued with just 700,000 housing transactions in 2009, down from 900,000 in 2008 and 1.6m in 2007.

By the end of 2008 it says some 210,000 households will be more than three months in arrears and warns that this figure is likely to grow to 500,000 by the end of 2009.

Of the 75,000 repossessions it anticipates it says a significant number of these will be where the property has been abandoned or there has been property fraud.

A large amount are also expected to be from buy-to-let mortgages.

For 2008 the CML predicted 45,000 repossessions which represented 0.38% of all mortgages. If its 2009 prediction of 75,000 comes true then this will represent 0.66% of all mortgages.

But the CML says that forecasting in the current environment is challenging.

It’s annual report says: “These figures represent a best estimate of direction of travel, rather than a precise analysis. They remain subject to a wide range of market and policy uncertainties.