CML: Lending was down in August

The data shows that first-time buyer lending declined in August compared to July, with 28,900 first-time buyer loans - 4% fewer than in July but 9% up on August 2013. By value, there was £4.4 billion of lending to first-time buyers - 4% down on July but 22% higher than August last year.

Lending to home movers also declined, with the number of loans advanced to movers totalling 36,500, a 3% fall on the previous month but up 7% on August last year. By value, lending to movers totalled £7 billion, 3% down on July but up 17% on August last year.

Remortgage lending activity saw a decrease month-on-month and also year-on-year in August. The number of remortgages in August was 4% down on July and 11% down on the same month last year. The value of these loans (£3.7 billion) was down 5% on the previous month and down 3% year-on-year.

The figures also show buy-to-let lending fell 13% over the month to £2.1 billion in August, but increased 11% compared to August last year.

Total gross lending in August was £18.1 billion. This was 8% lower than July (£19.7 billion) but 10% higher than August last year (£16.4 billion), according to the Bank of England.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, commented: “The lending climate had a glass half full, glass half empty feel about it in August.

“On the one hand it saw a decline in all lending types month-on-month, which would suggest a levelling off of the market, and remortgaging remained flat. Yet, on the other hand, we saw the highest August house purchase lending levels since 2007, and the recent Bank of England Credit Conditions Survey expects an upward trend in remortgaging in the final months of the year.

"Overall, these figures give no support to any fears of a developing bubble in housing.

"This has been a year of major change, and the market has shown significant resilience and responsiveness to the changing environment, improving the availability of lending without compromising financial stability, as the Bank of England's assessment last week highlighted."

Jeremy Duncombe, director at Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Unsurprisingly, the figures highlight that remortgage lending is still significantly overshadowed by house purchases.

“However, given the context of the wider economy and with a rate rise a matter of when not if, it is paramount that home owners start to consider whether they are on the best deal for them in the long run. Borrowers who are on great rates now, but with products due to come to the end of their term in the next 12 months may find that remortgaging to a longer term fix will save them money in the future.

“These conversations need to be had sooner rather than later, as it is only a matter of time before the attractive, headline deals come to an end.”