Market weighs in on April mortgage lending figures

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Mortgage experts have analysed the news from the Council of Mortgage Lenders that gross mortgage lending was £18.4bn in April, down 11 per cent on March and up 4 per cent year-on-year.

The latest CML market commentary says it has no detailed breakdown of the figure yet, but that it thinks the main drivers will be first-time buyers and remortgage customers.

Chronic under-supply

Foundation Home Loans marketing director Jeff Knight says: “Although we’ve seen a slight dip in mortgage lending levels today, the housing market seems to be enjoying a return in buyer confidence.

“As ever, chronic under-supply is the thorn in the side of the purchase market, driving up prices and making it harder for existing home-owners to move, let alone first-time buyers.”

Rocky period

Landbay chief executive John Goodall says: “Mortgage lending activity faced a rocky period in April, despite a number of record low mortgage rates and loan-to-value deals. However, with cheap finance helping many first-time buyers to step on the ladder, and encouraging homeowners to remortgage, the dip in activity is likely to be a blip.”

Temporary dip

OneSavings Bank sales and marketing director John Eastgate says: “This isn’t a great surprise, as we have seen a general reduction in consumer confidence coinciding with an increase in inflation.

“This is likely to be only temporary however and  I don’t see any long term trend being established by these figures.  Inflationary pressures will pass and low rates will continue, and the mortgage market will remain robust.”

Steady progress

Former RICS residential chairman and London estate agent Jeremy Leaf says: “The change in gross lending is almost mirroring what we saw from the HMRC transaction numbers earlier this week – in other words a slowdown, but not a disastrous fall compared with March.

“It is disappointing given that we would have expected the market to be kicking on at this time of year in response to seasonal factors but it is not and making steady rather than spectacular process, probably more influenced by concerns about what the election and Brexit will do to market prospects in the future.”

Slim pickings for buyers

Edinburgh Mortgage Advice director Mark Dyason says: “There’s a clean split in the mortgage market right now. First time buyers are firing on all cylinders, while landlords and home movers have almost ground to a halt.

“The lack of homes for sale has certainly resulted in many people shelving the idea of looking altogether. Rarely have stock levels been as low as they are at present.

“For many would-be buyers, there’s nothing on the market that excites them. What pickings there are, are slim.”