Gross lending remains steady in December
The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that gross mortgage lending reached £16.5 billion in December. This remained unchanged month-on-month compared to November but down 1% compared to December 2013.
This means the gross lending estimate for the fourth quarter of 2014 is £51.6 billion, down 8% on quarter three but up 1% on the fourth quarter of 2013. Overall, for 2014 the gross lending estimate is £205.6 billion, up 17% on 2013's £176 billion gross lending figure.
Commenting on market conditions, CML chief economist Bob Pannell observes:
"Housing market activity has been cooling and house price growth slowing in recent months, but 2014 was still the strongest year for mortgage lending since 2008. First-time buyers were a key driver, helped by government initiatives such as Help to Buy. As a result, the number of first-time buyers topped the 300,000 mark. While a far cry from the half million that we might regard as 'normal', this was the highest number of first-time buyers since 2007.
"Although lending remained muted in December, the previous monthly pace of decline in approvals appeared to moderate. So, alongside the big picture of a softer market, we are beginning to detect signs that underlying market conditions may be stabilising."