Mortgage Advice Bureau comments on the CML’s gross mortgage lending figures for January

Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments:

“Although gross mortgage lending fell between January and February, it is important to remember this is a common seasonal trend. It is very encouraging to see February’s lending is not only higher than a year ago, but is the highest amount recorded by the CML for the month since 2008. Borrowers and lenders alike clearly have an appetite for business.”

“Rock-bottom mortgage rates have played a key role in driving this increase, giving those who meet affordability criteria a boost onto the property ladder. With the base rate going nowhere fast, consumers should continue to reap the rewards of these low rates for some time. Existing homeowners also stand to benefit, with borrowers on their lenders’ standard variable rate (SVR) able to make significant savings by swapping to a new deal.”

“While it is good to see the mortgage market is able to support more borrowers in spite of rising house prices, policymakers need to ensure the market remains open to those with more modest incomes. Supporting would-be buyers’ aspirations through a lifetime ISA – as announced in yesterday’s Budget – is certainly helpful for those trying to raise a deposit, but the market is desperate for a comprehensive housebuilding programme to address supply-side issues. If the current imbalance is not addressed, property prices will climb out of reach for some borrowers.”