Eight-year low for mortgage lending

The level of mortgage lending in February dropped to an eight-year low, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

While the organisation acknowledged that February, being the shortest month of the year, is traditionally a low-value month for mortgages, the £9.9 billion lent last month was the lowest monthly total since 2001.

The figure represents a fall of £1.6 billion from Januarys total of £11.7 billion and a 60 per cent year-on-year drop.

"There are now fewer active lenders in the market, but the government wants them to lend more," he explained CML boss Michael Coogan.

He said that a lack of available funding was making it difficult for mortgage lenders to do their job.

The comments echo those he made earlier in the month following the Bank of Englands decision to reduce the base rate of interest to 0.5 per cent.

Mr Coogan said the move was counter-productive as it would reduce mortgage lenders income from their savers.

The news may see some homeowners renew their interest in improvements such as roof lights and loft conversions as the figures suggest it may be difficult to command a fair price when selling a property.