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|IRESS warns of cooling signs ahead for gross mortgage lending|
|Friday, 22 April 2016|
Following the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) figures, released this morning, estimating that gross mortgage lending reached £25.7 billion in March (the highest figure since 2007), Henry Woodcock, principal mortgage consultant at IRESS warns of signs that could have a dampening effect on lending over the coming months.
Responding to the CML release, Henry Woodcock at IRESS, said: “February’s gross mortgage lending figures were lower than January’s, so it’s very encouraging to see such a big pick-up in March. A month-on-month decline would have been concerning given the extremely favourable borrowing conditions.
“The buy-to-let charge to beat George Osborne’s increases in stamp duty has certainly boosted figures in March which are up 43% from February and 59% from March last year. These are the highest March figures in the last nine years. The demand for mortgages has also been driven by continued low borrowing costs, with rates on two and three year fixed deals at all-time lows.
"Significant rate rises are unlikely to materialise any time soon, so we'll continue to see more low interest rate deals delivered to the market in the coming weeks and months, which is great news for mortgage customers.
“We may we see a further uptick in April, however, looking to the next few months, there are a few factors I think will have a levelling-off effect on gross mortgage lending. The looming EU referendum may mean borrowers will wait and see the result before proceeding. The newly introduced stamp duty land tax surcharge, targeted at prospective private landlords and the Bank of England’s proposed new tighter lending rules to make it harder for landlords to get a mortgage, is bound to have a dampening effect on the buy-to-let market. Lastly, while remortgaging appears to be on the rise, I’d caution that increases may be limited for many interest only borrowers, as lenders now require credible repayment vehicles to be in place first.”
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