By Marcus Leach

Gross mortgage lending was an estimated £13.1 billion in October, a 4% decrease from £13.7 billion in September and a 13% increase from £11.6 billion in October 2010, according to data published today (Friday) by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

"The underlying picture in the housing and mortgage markets has not changed dramatically over recent weeks," CML chief economist Bob Pannell observed.

"The immediate direction of house purchase activity is a little unclear, although the story for remortgages, with strong year-on-year increases in activity this year, is for the time being more straightforward.

"With the government's housing strategy and autumn statement due shortly, the housing market, with subdued levels of new build and demand, offers a tried and tested means of providing a timely stimulus to the wider economy."

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