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Gross lending falls 14% in April

Gross mortgage lending declined to an estimated £9.8bn in April, down 14 per cent from £11.4bn in March, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The figures are also 5 per cent down from £10.3bn in April last year. The trade body says gross lending was expected to decline over the month due to Easter and the extra bank holiday.

CML chief economist Bob Pannell says: “Statistical noise, associated with extended holidays around Easter and the royal wedding, makes it harder to read the immediate market situation. This represents an unfortunate temporary loss of signal, at a time when it would be useful to gauge the resilience of house purchase demand to economic uncertainties and the pressure on household incomes.
 
“Levels of activity look set to remain broadly flat over the near-term. It now seems unlikely that interest rates will rise much, if at all, this year and this should help keep the market on an even keel.”

Mortgage Advice Bureau head of lending Brian Murphy says: “Before the country packed up and went on an extended break, mortgage activity in the earlier part of April was actually running at February and March levels. But then it went off a cliff.

“In May to date, activity has picked back up and is running at the levels seen in March and the first half of April.”

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