The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that gross mortgage lending reached £18.4 billion in April.
This is 11% lower than March’s lending total of £20.7 billion, but 4% higher than the £17.7 billion lent in April last year.
Commenting on market conditions in this month’s market commentary, CML senior economist Mohammad Jamei said:
"First-time buyers and remortgage customers appear to be buoying the market, as low mortgage rates are encouraging borrowers to remortgage and attractive government schemes are helping first-time buyers. We expect this trend to continue over the coming months.
"Home movers are having less luck. Their activity has been subdued for some time now and the low number of movers means fewer properties for sale. This supply and demand imbalance will continue to underpin house price values, even as the rate of price rises slows."
Jeff Knight, Marketing Director, Foundation Home Loans, commented:
“Although we’ve seen a slight dip in mortgage lending levels today, the housing market seems to be enjoying a return in buyer confidence. First time buyers and remortaging activity continued to drive lending volumes throughout April, as low interest rates have, and will continue to, support demand.
“A clearer economic picture after June 8 should help, and we’ll all be watching expectantly to see if the spotlight on the housing agenda is maintained. As ever, chronic under-supply is the thorn in the side of the purchase market, driving up prices and making it harder for existing home-owners to move, let alone first-time buyers. On the side of the rental market, landlords have had to navigate their own set of challenges and tighter regulation lies ahead. In the time the property available lags behind demand, however, tenants will be relying on a solid rental market to tide them over.”
John Goodall, CEO and co-founder of buy-to-let specialist Landbay comments:
“Mortgage lending activity faced a rocky period in April, despite a number of record low mortgage rates and loan-to-value deals. However, with cheap finance helping many first-time buyers to step on the ladder, and encouraging homeowners to remortgage, the dip in activity is likely to be a blip.
“It’s unlikely that the snap election will have a large or immediate impact on the housing market, especially given that last week’s General Election manifestos were disappointingly light on housing promises to tackle the UK’s supply shortage or improve the availability of rental accommodation. Tenants that are renting as a stepping stone on the way to home ownership rely on a well-served buy-to-let market to ensure rental growth doesn’t dampen their purchasing power. If we are truly going to address the wider issues of the housing market, the party leading the country after 8th June needs to make some cast iron commitments for further investment in the private rental sector, especially as rising inflation begins to hit people’s pockets”