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Mortgage prospects still look bleak

The Council of Mortgage Lenders sees no sign of a mortgage revival with January lending figures slipping to the lowest levels since April 2001.

The CML says gross mortgage lending fell to an estimated £12.4bn in January, an 8 per cent fall from £13.5bn in December and a 52 per cent fall from January 2008.

It says a slight decline is typically experienced between December and January but these figures are still subdued and are evidence that there is no revival on the cards.

Head of research Bob Pannell says: “Mortgage lending activity continues to be very weak and while people are searching eagerly for some signs of recovery, it would be unrealistic to expect a meaningful revival in lending in coming months.

“Even when conditions do improve, gross lending will be one of the later measures to recover.”

Conservative Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Philip Hammond, says: “This is yet more grim news. The mortgage famine is causing a downward spiral in house prices, and this is sapping consumer confidence and undermining the economy, yet Gordon Brown has no solutions for getting Britain’s flagging housing market back on its feet.”

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