Bank holidays hit mortgage lending

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The Independent Online

Mortgage lending fell 14 per cent in April as the two bank holiday weekends hit housing market activity.

A total of £9.8bn was advanced during the month, down from £11.4bn in March, but in line with the subdued levels seen during the first two months of the year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said yesterday.

The trade body said it had expected a slight decline because Easter fell in April this year, but the extra bank holiday at the end of the month made it difficult to gauge if the fall was part of an underlying trend.

The figures come after the Halifax said house prices fell 1.4 per cent in April, but Nationwide reported a 0.2 per cent decline. Bob Pannell, of the CML, said: "Levels of activity look set to stay broadly flat in the near-term. It seems unlikely interest rates will rise much, if at all, this year and this should help keep the market on an even keel."