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Fall in gross mortgage lending in April

"Mortgage lending activity has been relatively buoyant in recent months, with stronger lending for house purchase underpinning the more upbeat lending picture.

"The underlying picture is likely to be a bit stronger than the April figure suggests, because some first-time buyers are likely to have brought forward their transactions to March to take advantage of the stamp duty concession that was coming to an end.

"Eurozone developments are highly uncertain and have the potential to undermine UK economic prospects and conditions in our housing and mortgage markets. The underlying picture is likely to be one of easing momentum in the housing market, but with potential for a sharper downwards correction on bad eurozone news."

David Whittaker, managing director of Mortgage for business said, “The rush of first-time buyers bringing transactions forward to avoid the reinstatement of stamp duty may have skewed the numbers in April but monthly lending will continue to fluctuate between growth and decline over the remainder of the year. Events such as the Jubilee and Olympics will cause a slow down in activity over the summer and mounting concerns over the financial tragedy playing out in Greece will increase nervousness among both lenders and borrowers should contagion spread. Fortunately, new funding is still being brought into the lending market to supply the demand for buy to let borrowing. Funding that will be vital over the remainder of the year as demand for private rental accommodation continues to soar.”

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