A run of bank holidays in April helped push mortgage lending down 14 per cent on March and 5 per cent on a year ago, according to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
The CML argued that, taken at face value, the underlying picture is one of considerable weakness. Lending was back to levels last seen in early 2010, when the stamp duty holiday had just ended.
Gross lending for the month was worth £9.8 billion, compared to £11.4 billion in March and £10.3 billion in April 2010.
However, the CML added that a slight seasonal decline was to be expected because Easter fell in April and there was an extra bank holiday for the Royal Wedding.
“Statistical noise, associated with extended holidays around Easter and the royal wedding, makes it harder to read the immediate market situation,” said its chief economist Bob Pannell.
“This represents an unfortunate temporary loss of signal, at a time when it would be useful to gauge the resilience of house purchase demand to economic uncertainties and the pressure on household incomes.
"Levels of activity look set to remain broadly flat over the near-term. It now seems unlikely that interest rates will rise much, if at all, this year and this should help keep the market on an even keel."
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