Property experts share reactions to recent CML lending figures

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have recently reported gross mortgage lending figures that represent a slowing in the market, yet a 10% boost since the same period last year.

Reported estimates of gross mortgage lending reached £17.8 billion in September 2014. Though this is a slight dip from August, this is actually a 10% increase compared to the previous year, when the figure stood at £16.2 billion.

Andy Knee, Chief Executive of LMS, the UK leading conveyancing panel management company, commented:

"The overall picture of the housing market shows that lending is still up from last year, but stricter lending criteria and increasing apprehension surrounding affordability has led to a slight slowing of the market with lending down by 1% from last month.

"This further evidence of a cooling in the market should provide some much needed relief for first-time buyers who could experience reduced competition in purchasing a home and a slower ascension of house prices as a result. Lender appetite also remains healthy, as long as hopeful buyers meet their lending criteria.

"However, buying a house remains no mean feat and for more people to stand a chance of entering the market place, schemes such as Help to Buy are critical in offering a helping hand to get more young people onto the property ladder. Assistance to aspirational first-time buyers has therefore improved their chances of buying a home but should not be curtailed too soon.

"The situation for home owners hoping to secure a new mortgage has also improved, as with house price rises, fewer are trapped by the burden of negative equity. Many previously limited by their current deals have seen their options improve no end. Remortgagors should consider taking advantage of the lower rates available to them now as uncertainty ahead of the election and the prospect of a base rate rise early next year may reduce the competitive offers and limit lender appetite."

It seems that estimates for the third quarter of 2014 are looking positive. The CML figures show the quarter’s gross mortgage lending figure is estimated at £55.5 billion — an 8% surge from the previous quarter and 13% increase compared to the same period in 2013.

Director of e.surv chartered surveyors, Richard Sexton, feels the property market is moving in the right direction, saying:

"The pedal may be slightly off the gas in the mortgage market at the moment, but it is still moving in the right direction. Nearly half a year on from the introduction of MMR, the transformed market that has emerged out of the tunnel of regulation is much healthier. Borrowers are given more advice about the future of the market, stress testing is much more thorough, and there are far more safeguards in place to prevent a future roadblock in the recovery of the market.

"There are still a host of first-time buyers chomping at the bit of the property market, eager to own their own homes. Help to Buy is of particular importance in areas where the labour market has been slower to pick up, where borrowers are seeing their finances recover much more slowly. These areas are still in a delicate balance of recovery. They need the scheme to spur confidence among first-time buyers, as much as to provide access to the housing market to borrowers who can’t afford to put together a deposit. These regions are only just waking up from the coma of the crisis and need continued support to become fully rehabilitated."

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