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Who Takes the Blame for the Slow Mortgage Market

by Sarah Halloran

The property market as a whole was expected to slow down considerably this summer as the UK headed into a season of celebrations. With the Queen’s Jubilee followed quickly by the Olympics, it was predicted that sales and mortgage enquiries would be subdued, in keeping with the typical reaction to these types of events.

However, as the Jubilee fades and London 2012 approaches, another factor is being blamed for the lack of mortgage enquiries in recent weeks. The wet weather that has blighted much of this summer so far has been cited as the main reason for a significant drop in approved mortgages for home purchases in June.

Figures released this week by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), claim that those approved home loans fell by 11% in June to 26,269 from the previous month. Meanwhile, the met office indicate that this was the wettest June recorded since 1910 so are those two sets of statistics related?

The BBA’s report blames the wet weather along with a host of other factors besides,

“June’s approvals numbers were affected by the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Euro 2012, and the wet weather,” the BBA said.

“Paying off loans or overdrafts and building up deposits is the current consumer ambition,” David Dooks of the BBA added.

Mortgage activity as a whole has been slow since March and gross lending of £7.2 billion in June was also comfortably below the six month average. While no single factor can be held wholly responsible, those major events combined with appalling weather have all been factors and the prognosis for the near future is by no means encouraging.

“The ongoing eurozone crisis, which has stepped up a level in the past week, will continue to undermine consumer confidence and encourage buyers and sellers to sit on their hands until there is significant improvement,” said Mark Harris of SPF Private Clients.

“Any recovery in the housing market remains a long way off.”

As far as the ‘holiday effect’ is concerned, with the Jubilee over and the Olympics about to get underway, could we see an upturn in mortgage lending in the coming months? The wet weather has also abated and although the long range forecast is mixed, it seems unlikely that we will be returning to the torrential downpours seen throughout May and June.

Those events may soon be behind us but as Mark Harris from SPF Private Clients pointed out, there are considerably more factors affecting the mortgage market besides the weather.

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