Mortgage lending in January hits nine-year high despite weak home-move demand

Monthly gross mortgage lending hit a nine-year high in January despite falling since December, lenders say.

Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show banks lent £18.9bn in the first month of 2017, down from £20bn in December but up 2% year-on-year.

This is the highest lending total for a January since the £25.2bn recorded in 2008.

Mohammad Jamei, economist for the CML, said: “Overall mortgage lending continues to hold up pretty well, but we seem to have a twin-track market. Weakness in buy-to-let and home movers has been offset by an increase in first-time buyers and remortgage lending.

“A continuing acute shortage of homes being offered for sale is one aspect of a broken housing market, that looks unlikely to resolve in the near term.”

Andrew McPhillips, chief economist at Yorkshire Building Society, was less impressed with the data. He said: “This annual growth in mortgage lending was most likely driven by an increase in the number of people remortgaging to better rates, offsetting the impact of a fall in property transactions.

“Affordability constraints caused by increasing house prices, the cost of Stamp Duty and rising inflation, are still hindering the market by limiting the number of people who can afford a property.

“These increasing costs are making home ownership a more distant dream for many.

“In order to make homes more affordable, the Government should implement measures to ease pressures for potential buyers and build enough affordable housing and infrastructure to tackle the supply crisis.

“The Government should also consider introducing measures to ease affordability pressures in the short term, such as by changing Stamp Duty to a seller’s tax rather than a buyer’s tax.”

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One Comment

  1. Will

    Well yet another bright comment changing  stamp duty to a sellers tax.  Do you need more discouragement to get properties to the market? Fools; why not remove stamp duty to help both?

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