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CML: Mortgage lending 'may have reached a plateau'

Gross mortgage lending remained steady during September and may have reached a plateau, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).The £17.8 billion figure recorded last month was one per cent lower than August's figure of £18 billion but remained ten per cent higher than 12 months previously.In the third quarter of the year, gross mortgage lending was an estimated £55.5 billion. This was an eight per cent increase on the second quarter of this year, and a 13 per cent rise on the third quarter of 2013 (£49.2 billion).According to the CML, short-term economic prospects remain healthy, with nearly 750,000 more people in work than a year ago, bringing headline unemployment below two million and down to six per cent for the first time since 2008.CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: "Uncertainty over when we will see the first increase in UK base rates is exacerbated by weaker growth prospects in several major economies, including the eurozone."Recent indicators and policy actions corroborate our view of a gentle easing in market conditions. There is growing evidence that mortgage lending activity, and the housing market, are sitting on a plateau."The CML does not anticipate that the slowdown being witnessed in the London market will be followed by more subdued growth outside the capital, even though such a "ripple effect" has been seen previously.A number of "unique factors" are said to have propelled the housing market in London, as well as the general support provided by improvements in the wider economy, consumer sentiment and mortgage credit availability. Modest recoveries are therefore expected outside of the capital, according to the CML.The organisation added that HMRC figures for all residential property transactions, including those bought for cash, indicate that activity is on a plateau. 

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