MS leader: Shaky market for lending

The Financial Services Authority’s latest mortgage lending statistics for Q2 2012 were out last week and while they were hardly positive, it seems that in the current market, static gross lending is about the best we’re going to get.

Gross advances for regulated business in Q1 2012 was £32bn rising to £32.4bn in Q2 2012.

When you look at the first two quarters of 2011 it was a similar pattern there as well – £29.6bn in Q1 2011 and £32.7bn in Q2.

Then in Q3 2011 there was £39.1bn before dropping down to £35.6bn in Q4 2011.

Could we a similar pattern in 2012? Combined with the Olympics and a lack of appetite from lenders it seems pretty unlikely that we’ll see a similar result for Q3 2012 and Q4 2012.

For example, in June and July in 2011 Abbey for Intermediaries was pumping out repeated seven-day deals, and there was generally a better appetite for lending, which isn’t the case now.

But as tight as lenders’ grip round mortgage finance is, there are some genuinely positive signs at least.

First has been Abbey’s announcement last Friday that it had seen a 33 per cent boost in lending in one week was great to hear and hopefully is a sign that it’s reignited its appetite for lending, especially via brokers.

In its half year results in July, Santander UK revealed it was in the middle of a managed reduction in its mortgage stock and a lower market share.

It also said that the proportion of mortgage applications made through the branch network increased, with an associated reduction in the intermediary channel.

Another good sign was that Scotland last week launched its own version of the mortgage indemnity guarantee scheme.

Lack of a deposit continues to be the big barrier to many getting on the housing ladder and the more of these types of schemes that hit the market the better.