Mortgage lending climbs 16% in March

Gross mortgage lending was an estimated £11.5bn in March, a 16% rise from £9.9bn in February shows the latest data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

But this figure still represents a 52% decline from £24.2bn in March 2008.

Gross lending for Q1 2009 was an estimated £33bn, a 29% decline from Q4 of 2008 and the lowest quarterly lending total since the first quarter of 2001.

A seasonal fall of 10% is typically experienced between the Q4 and Q1. The CML says the 16% rise is broadly in line with its expectations for £145bn in gross lending this year.

Michael Coogan, director general of the CML, says:“While the market is beginning to show some signs of stabilising, housing transactions and lending are set to remain low for the foreseeable future.

“Today’s Budget does provide the opportunity for action to reinforce the housing market. In particular we would like to see the government extend and simplify low-cost home-ownership, raise the Stamp Duty threshold to £250,000, and expand existing support schemes for borrowers in difficulty.”