By Jonathan Davies

The Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) has become the latest organisation to suggest that the housing market is cooling off.

Nationwide, Halifax and the Land Registry have all released separate figures which suggest prices and demand for houses is slowing down. Now, the CML has said there has been a dip in lending to first-time buyers, which suggests a dip in confidence.

The number of mortgages approved to first-time buyers was 26,800 in September, a 3% drop compared with August.

"This reflects the market generally, suggesting a growing lack of confidence among buyers," said Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris.

But the figures still highlight how strong growth has been over the past 12 months. September's figures were still 16% higher than in the same month last year.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “After a turbulent few months, the mortgage market is starting to stabilise. Regulation has been tightened up, and the market has matured into a healthy, sustainable lending environment. The changes from MMR are now fully integrated, and shouldn’t impact lending volumes further.

“However, scratching beneath the surface reveals demand at the bottom of the market is starting to fall away. The combination of a dwindling stock of homes, drooping economic confidence and further regulation in the form of loan-to-income caps, is putting off many buyers from moving. Purchase approvals have dipped on a monthly basis, but lenders are competing for business by lowering rates to attract borrowers. The processes are all in place; now it is a case of waiting for demand to recover.”

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