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Fears of rapid decline for mortgage market

Home Funding chief executive Tony Ward warns that the mortgage market is going to quickly fall further if the Treasury’s mortgage finance working group does not come up with a solution.

He says net lending this year could be even lower than the £55bn predicted by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, which is already half of last year’s £108bn.

Ward says: “A couple of months ago, I said the market will get bad or really bad. It looks like it is going to accelerate downwards now. When you look at all the statistics, the data is not giving much hope.”

Ward says all eyes are on Sir James Crosby’s Treasury taskforce which is expected to make a statement this month. He says: “Frankly, we are going to have to wait for the taskforce. The special liquidity scheme has really done nothing for the mortgage market but then it was not meant to.

“I do not see any green shoots of recovery and I am looking really hard for them. The world fuel problems are adding to the problem and further destabilising the economy.”

CML head of external and member relations Sue Anderson says it is waiting keenly for the Crosby review.

She says: “There is a growing sense of opinion that more needs to be done. It is well known in the market that the special liquidity scheme has not had an effect on pricing in the UK mortgage market. The evidence is in the daily Libor figures which are not seeing any reaction to it.

“There are other things that can be done. Although the working group does not need to report back until the pre-Budget report, it is widely being floated that a progress report will be given this month.”

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