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CML may still be over-optimistic on lending figures

Experts have warned that the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ downgraded forecast for gross lending of £140bn for 2010 may still be over-optimistic.

The CML last week reduced its forecast for gross lending by £10bn from the £150bn it predicted in November. It also lowered its net lending forecast to £12bn from £15bn.

One lender, which did not want to be named, says gross lending for the year could be as low as £130bn, well below the £143bn total gross lending rec-orded for 2009.

Barclays director of intermediaries David Finlay would not forecast a figure but says: “Our view would be that given current volumes, pipelines and market activity, we too see a downturn in the second half of this year.

“We can all hope that September and October will see a further surge in the market but early indications would be that we are unlikely to see that.”

A spokesman for HSBC says: “There is little doubt that the housing market is more subdued due to uncertainty on the future direction of prices and the impact of public sector cuts.”

Hometrack strategy, risk and economics director Gary Styles agrees broadly with the CML’s gross lending forecast but says: “Gross lending may come in just a little lower than £140bn.”

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