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Leading agent "disappointed" over slowing mortgage lending

A prominent agent admits to being “disappointed” at what appears to be slowing mortgage figures at a time of year when lending should be booming.

Jeremy Leaf, London estate agent and former RICS chairman, says new Council of Mortgage Lenders figures mirror other market measures indicating a slowdown in activity.

“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” he says.

The CML estimates that gross mortgage lending reached £18.4 billion in April - although higher than in the same mont last year, the figure is actually 11 per cent below the March 2017 lending total of £20.7 billion.

“First-time buyers and remortgage customers appear to be buoying the market, as low mortgage rates are encouraging borrowers to remortgage and attractive government schemes are helping first-time buyers. We expect this trend to continue over the coming months” explains CML senior economist Mohammad Jamei.

“Home movers are having less luck. Their activity has been subdued for some time now and the low number of movers means fewer properties for sale. This supply and demand imbalance will continue to underpin house price values, even as the rate of price rises slows” he adds.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: “Home movers are less able to take advantage of low mortgage rates with a lack of stock on the market meaning many can’t find a home to move to. First time buyer numbers remain strong as government schemes and the Bank of Mum and Dad combine to help them on the housing ladder. It is further up the ladder where things have slowed to a sluggish pace.”

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