By Daniel Hunter

Gross mortgage lending held steady in February and was an estimated £10.7 billion, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

This is almost identical to January’s gross lending total of £10.65 billion and 14% higher than February last year (£9.4 billion).

"Although a seasonal decline is expected over the winter months, our forward estimates suggest that February was the seventh month in a row of higher year-on-year lending," CML chief economist Bob Pannell commented.

"This indicates that lending for house purchase remains brisk in advance of the ending of the Stamp Duty concession.

"The launch of the NewBuy scheme is an important addition to lenders’ toolkit in addressing the various needs of would-be borrowers. The scheme has the potential to offset the dip in first-time buyer activity that the end of the stamp duty concession on 24 March may produce."

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