Financial News

  • 20 June 2014, 11:23

Home Loan 'Slowdown' As New Rules Take Effect

There has been a "slowdown" in new home loan advances because of increased lender scrutiny, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

It said gross mortgage lending held steady in May at an estimated £16.5bn - identical to April's lending figure.

It was, however, 12% up on the figure recorded in May last year.

Tighter rules governing mortgages were initiated in late April, known as the Mortgage Market Review (MMR).

The new rules were designed to make sure borrowers had the capability to meet repayments if interest rates rise in the future.

CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: "Market indicators point to a slowdown in activity levels, in part associated with new mortgage rules, but it is unclear how lasting this will be.

"Implementation of the new regulatory regime is likely to have disrupted the normal patterns of activity, creating statistical 'fog' around the published figures.

"As this lifts over the coming months, a clearer picture as to any lasting impact of the MMR rules on lending activity should emerge."

MMR guidelines have seen prospective borrowers quizzed by lenders over their monthly outgoing expenditure.

Questions have covered gym membership fees, how much is spent monthly on toiletries, and the ratio of fresh produce to non-perishable food items.

Some applicants have spent more than seven hours on the telephone answering questions as part of the process.

The CML covers around 95% of lenders operating in Britain and it records mortgage advances.

A mortgage approval is the firm offer to a customer of a specific amount of credit secured against a particular property, whereas  mortgage advances are the total amount of a loan actually provided to the buyer, by the lender.

Expectations have risen recently that the Bank of England will raise the base rate, currently at an historic low of 0.5%, gradually this year.

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