Mortgage lending falls again

The number of mortgages approved in March fell to 67,135, down from 69,592 in February as approvals dipped by 11.9% in just two months.

However the value of lending rose during March and was up £0.5bn compared to the previous six month average.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said: “The government’s Help to Buy scheme successfully set the wheels in motion for higher loan to value lending, and consumers are now increasingly able to access mortgage finance without needing a hefty deposit.

“However, mortgage approvals dropped 5% in March compared to the previous six months, possibly a sign of lenders beginning to act in anticipation of the Mortgage Market Review.

“A number of lenders edged up their rates in advance of MMR to temper demand and to ensure that any changes to their systems were functioning properly while providing continuity of service as they adjust to the new requirements.

“However, this preparation means any technical glitches were fixed well in advance of the 26 April deadline, and both lenders and mortgage brokers are now in a good position to get up to speed.

“While applications are likely to take slightly longer initially, under the new rules consumers can be confident that they are purchasing a mortgage that they can afford not only now but also in the future. This sets the foundation for mortgage growth which is both sustainable and affordable.”