The latest figures from the Council Of Mortgage Lenders reveal a stable position for those handing out the cash but conceal wider supply issues in the property market. Its research shows gross mortgage lending held steady in October at an estimated £20.6billion – about a £0.1billion rise on the figure for September – but 5% lower than at the same time in 2015 and remortgaging becoming increasingly key.
CML senior economist Mohammad Jamei said: ”Housing market sentiment is holding up well, with demand still strong.
“This has led to a pick up in approvals, as expected. The more pressing issue is on the supply side, where the lack of private sellers continues to be an obstacle for would-be borrowers.
“For this reason, we expect lending in the months ahead to be driven more by remortgaging activity and less by house purchases. Remortgaging will be helped by competitively priced mortgage deals, which are encouraging borrowers to refinance.”
Haart estate agency CEO Paul Smith said: “Despite mortgage rates reaching historic lows since the Bank Of England’s decision to cut base rates in August, lending remains subdued this month.
“This comes as transaction rates continue to suffer on the month and on the year, due to a lack of housing stock coming onto the market, as sellers and housebuilders continue to move with caution in the volatile market and unpredictable socioeconomic environment.
“Philip Hammond must listen to the choir of calls from the industry to ease market conditions and take action in the Autumn Statement.
“A cut in Stamp Duty would make a huge difference to first-time buyers and abandoning the surcharge would also get landlords to start buying again.”
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