Bubble fears too high - the housing market is ordinary

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has announced that gross mortgage lending remained steady in August at an estimated £16.6bn. (Release)

In July, the figure was £16.7bn and up 28 per cent from August 2012 (£13bn).

Not unexpectedly, the CML highlighted that:

Prospects for the UK economy continue to brighten, although there is a risk that expectations are running too high. The housing market is in the early stages of what appears to be a relatively benign and broad-based recovery. With little pick-up in net lending to individuals, talk of housing booms is premature, and speaks more about housing supply shortfalls than the current strength of demand.


CML chief economist Bob Pannell commented today:

One tell-tale sign of a recovering housing market is the re-emergence of concerns about a housing boom… But, as we have argued elsewhere, the housing market recovery to date appears fairly unexceptional in nature, at least compared with that of the early-mid 1990s.


Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says:

Surprisingly, given all the talk of an overheating housing market, gross mortgage lending was steady in August compared with July. This is extremely encouraging, suggesting a sustained and considered improvement in the housing market, which is more likely to lead to a measured recovery, rather than a house-price bubble.

The economy is turning a corner but let's not get too carried away: there is still a long way to go. The danger of over-reaction to a house-price bubble is that any confidence in the market is extinguished just as it is establishing itself. Lending volumes and house prices are still well below pre-crisis levels.