Gross mortgage lending fell by 19 per cent in April from £12.6bn in March to an estimated £10.2bn according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ latest figures.
The trade body says that the sharp decline in lending is likely to have been down to the stampede of first-time buyers who brought forward their transactions in March to beat the end of the Stamp Duty holiday for properties under £250,000.
It also points out that the £10.2bn in gross lending was still 2 per cent higher than the £10bn completed in April last year. Mortgage lending activity has also been relatively buoyant in recent months, with stronger lending for house purchase underpinning the more upbeat lending picture.
CML chief economist Bob Pannell says: “The underlying picture is likely to be a bit stronger than the April figure suggests, because some first-time buyers are likely to have brought forward their transactions to March to take advantage of the stamp duty concession that was coming to an end.
“Eurozone developments are highly uncertain and have the potential to undermine UK economic prospects and conditions in our housing and mortgage markets. The underlying picture is likely to be one of easing momentum in the housing market, but with potential for a sharper downwards correction on bad eurozone news.”