Growth in mortgage lending slowed during March, in what some analysts believe could be an indication that the housing recovery is beginning to falter.
The figures, published by the Bank of England, suggest that mortgage lending on dwellings increased by £300 million during March – a tiny rise, given that February saw an increase of £1.8 billion.
Although some analysts have expected to see a plateau in lending, many are surprised by the severity of the drop seen in March. Some believe that this shows that the housing recovery is not sustainable in the medium-term.
This could be good news for buy-to-let investors and professional landlords. Many have been concerned that an easing of the property market, combined with government measures to help first-time buyers, would result in reduced demand for rental properties. But, if it remains difficult to get a mortgage, many prospective buyers will be forced to remain in rented accommodation.
The fall is likely to be partly attributable to the rapidly rising property prices seen towards the end of 2009. Depressed supply, combined with a new rush of buyers, saw prices pushed up. But these increases may level off as supply catches up with demand again.
Predicted peaks in unemployment next year are also likely to impact not just on property prices, but on individuals’ ability to secure a mortgage.