Gross mortgage lending holds up, while new build completions fall

Gross mortgage lending reached £18.9 billion in January new estimates suggest, while the latest Government house building figures show that although new build starts are on the rise, monthly and annual completion figures have fallen slightly.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders’ (CML) gross mortgage lending estimate of £18.9 billion for January comes in at 6% lower than December’s lending total of £20 billion.  However, the figure is 2% higher that the £18.6 billion lent in January 2015, making the January 2016 figure the highest lending total since January 2008 (£25.2 billion).

Mohammad Jamei, senior economist for the CML explained:

“Overall mortgage lending continues to hold up pretty well, but we seem to have a twin-track market. Weakness in buy-to-let and home movers has been offset by an increase in first-time buyers and remortgage lending.

A continuing acute shortage of homes being offered for sale is one aspect of a broken housing market, that looks unlikely to resolve in the near term.”

As reported in the Government’s Housing Statistical Release, published today, while new build starts are on the rise, completion figures have fallen slightly.

Figures for December 2016 show that on a quarterly basis, new build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 41,620 (seasonally adjusted); a 5% rise on the third quarter 2016 and 13% up on an annual basis. Completions, however, were estimated at 35,980 (seasonally adjusted), dropping 4% on the previous quarter and 2% on an annual basis.

In the year to December 2016, annual new build dwelling starts came to 153,370, representing a 5% rise compared to the year to December 2015. Completions, meanwhile, totaled 140,660 over the same period, dropping 1% on the year before.

Private enterprise new build dwelling starts (seasonally adjusted) were up 4% in the December quarter 2016 compared to the previous quarter, and completions were 5% lower. Starts by housing associations were 4% higher compared to the last quarter and completions also higher by 1%.

The Government’s overview of all starts, reveal that they are 143% higher than the dip experienced in March quarter 2009, but still 15% below the March quarter peak of 2007.

As for an overview of all completions, they have been recorded as being 43% above the dip in March quarter 2013 but 26% below their March quarter 2007 peak.


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