The flow of net mortgage lending by all UK-resident mortgage lenders increased in August to £1.7 billion, though the annual rate of growth in the stock of lending was stable at 1.0%.
According to data from the major UK lenders, net mortgage lending flows fell in September as total gross lending remained broadly unchanged but repayments increased. Gross mortgage lending for house purchase fell slightly in September. Remortgaging activity remained weak.
The slight weakening in gross lending by the major UK lenders for house purchase in recent months has also been reflected in the official data on approvals for house purchase. Data from the major UK lenders indicated that their mortgage approvals for house purchase edged down further in September.
Availability of mortgages remained restricted for first-time buyers. Household demand for secured lending for house purchase was reported to have fallen unexpectedly though demand for buy-to-let investments rose slightly for the first time since 2008 In recent discussions, most major UK lenders indicated that mortgage approval numbers in recent months had been lower than expected, with the shortfall partly reflecting a weakening in confidence among potential homebuyers against the backdrop of some weakening in the outlook for house prices and uncertainty about the effects of government spending cuts. Looking forward, most major UK lenders expected approvals for house purchase to remain broadly unchanged or to fall in the coming months. A small balance of lenders reported that there had been an increase in the amount of new secured credit made available to households, despite some reported tightening in wholesale funding conditions. In the next three months, respondents expected the availability of secured lending to be broadly unchanged, partly reflecting the outlook for the economy.
The major UK lenders expect demand for secured lending to remain subdued over the coming months, partly reflecting weak confidence among potential homebuyers. Most major UK lenders expected house prices to remain little changed or to decline slightly in 2011.