Gross lending falls 8% to £10.5bn in February

Gross mortgage lending fell 8 per cent to £10.5bn in February, according to figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders last week.

Although the latest figure is 1 per cent higher than the £10.4bn recorded for February 2012, gross lending was down on the £11.4bn recorded in January.

In fact, February’s gross lending figure was the lowest monthly total since April 2012 when it stood at £9.9bn. The CML’s figures represent the lending of 80 per cent of the market. The trade body then scales up the figures as an estimated of the market’s total lending.

CML chief economist Bob Pannell says: “There continue to be signs of improvement in activity and sentiment in the housing and mortgage market sector, despite headwinds from a challenging economic backdrop. With relatively strong house purchase numbers and subdued remortgage activity, the underlying position does not appear to have changed much over recent months.”

E.surv director Richard Sexton says: “Despite improving market sentiment, tight credit conditions are having a debilitating effect on the mortgage market. They have damaged lending levels – particularly to first-time buyers – and impaired banks’ ability to increase lending with any real significance.”