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March mortgage lending up 16%

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has revealed that gross mortgage lending for March rocketed 16 per cent on February’s numbers.

The CML calculated that gross mortgage lending was at an estimated £11.5bn in March, a 16 per cent rise from £9.9bn in February.

Although this is a significant rise, the CML points out that this is still a 52 per cent decline from £24.2bn in March 2008.

Gross lending for the first quarter of 2009 was an estimated £33bn, a 29 per cent decline from the fourth quarter of 2008 and the lowest quarterly lending total since the first quarter of 2001. The CML says these figures are still broadly in line with our expectations for £145bn in gross lending this year.

CML director general Michael Coogan says: “While the market is beginning to show some signs of stabilising, housing transactions and lending are set to remain low for the foreseeable future.

“Today’s Budget does provide the opportunity for action to reinforce the housing market. In particular we would like to see the government extend and simplify low-cost home-ownership, raise the stamp duty threshold to £250,000, and expand existing support schemes for borrowers in difficulty.”


Two-way tug

With the Budget known by the time you read this, I feel making any predictions on the short-term direction of markets risky. What does seem likely is that the two-way pull that has characterised the influences on investor psychology will continue for some while yet.

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