Mortgage Lending falls to lowest level in eight years

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has revealed gross mortgage lending declined to an estimated £9.9bn in February, the lowest monthly figure since February 2001.

The figure represents a fall of 15% from £11.7bn in January and 60% from February 2008. The trade body was keen to emphasise that February is typically the weakest month for mortgage completions, and although this is a larger decline than the 3-4% usually experienced between January and February, it is in line with the CML’s forecast of £145bn gross mortgage lending in 2009.

Michael Coogan, director general of the CML, said: “Retail savings are now the predominant source of funding for mortgages. But banks and building societies have seen savings ebb away to National Savings and Investments, which has a negative impact on their ability to lend.