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Gross mortgage lending stagnant in February

Gross mortgage lending remained static in February, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The £9.5bn of gross lending was less than 1 per cent up than the £9.47 reported in January.

The trade body says remortgage activity has increased despite weak lending overall. It also says house purchase demand looks weaker than a year ago.

CML chief economist Bob Pannell says: “There is little in the latest batch of market data that would cause us to revise our market forecasts for 2011 and nothing that alters our underlying view that this is going to be a challenging year for households and the housing market.

“The housing market remains stuck in a rut and, while we do not anticipate much relief in next week’s Budget, it does present an opportunity for the chancellor to address the reform of stamp duty. What we have instead is the introduction of a new 5 per cent band. That is an irrelevance for the majority of home-buyers but another indication of the haphazard and arbitrary nature of this tax, where reform is long overdue.”

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