By Daniel Hunter

Gross mortgage lending declined to an estimated £10.2 billion in April. Lending fell by 19% from £12.6 billion in March but was 2% higher than the total of £10.0 billion in April 2011, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

"Mortgage lending activity has been relatively buoyant in recent months, with stronger lending for house purchase underpinning the more upbeat lending picture," CML chief economist Bob Pannell commented.

"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."

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