By Jonathan Davies
The UK's housing market is "sitting on a plateau" despite greater competition between mortgage lenders, according to the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML).
The CML said £17.8bn was lent in September, 1% lower than in August, but 10% higher than September last year.
The Bank of England has previously expressed concerns over a 'housing bubble' developing, especially in London. But the CML suggested that those concerns were starting to dissipate, with growth of house prices in London slowing down.
"Recent indicators and policy actions corroborate our view of a gentle easing in market conditions. There is growing evidence that mortgage lending activity, and the housing market, are sitting on a plateau," said the CML's chief economist, Bob Pannell.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “The pedal may be slightly off the gas in the mortgage market at the moment, but it is still moving in the right direction. Nearly half a year on from the introduction of MMR, the transformed market that has emerged out of the tunnel of regulation is much healthier. Borrowers are given more advice about the future of the market, stress testing is much more thorough, and there are far more safeguards in place to prevent a future roadblock in the recovery of the market.
“There are still a host of first-time buyers chomping at the bit of the property market, eager to own their own homes. Help to Buy is of particular importance in areas where the labour market has been slower to pick up, where borrowers are seeing their finances recover much more slowly. These areas are still in a delicate balance of recovery. They need the scheme to spur confidence among first-time buyers, as much as to provide access to the housing market to borrowers who can’t afford to put together a deposit. These regions are only just waking up from the coma of the crisis and need continued support to become fully rehabilitated.”
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