Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments:
“Mortgage lending continued to slow in February, both in terms of the number of loans advanced and the total value of this lending. This is broadly in line with market expectations given the time of year, although uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the general election appears to have exacerbated this. However, the CML remains confident that lending will pick up as the year progresses.
“The fall in lending to first-time buyers has been broadly in line with general trends in the CML’s figures: however, it is of slightly more concern that the average first time buyers’ loan has fallen by 12.9% over the past 12 months, while the ONS’s latest figures show a 7.2% increase in house prices over the same period. This growth in prices coupled with a fall in loan values means that many would-be borrowers on modest incomes may find it increasingly difficult to get onto the housing ladder.
“In light of this, the Conservative pledge of an extension to the Right to Buy scheme will undoubtedly come as good news to the 1.3 million families living in social housing. However, this is no fix-all solution to Britain’s long-term housing needs. The move will help social housing tenants to get on the housing ladder, but will do little to provide a much needed boost to UK housebuilding or ease the concerns of families looking to buy who are living in private rental accommodation.”