According to data from UK Finance, new residential mortgage lending across the market was £25.5bn last month, 0.9 per cent lower than in October 2018.
However, Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS, Santander UK, TSB and Virgin Money saw their lending increase seven per cent to £17.1bn, up from £16bn a year earlier.
John Goodall, chief executive and co-founder of Landbay, noted that while the figures were disappointing, they came as no surprise, considering the economic and political pressures.
“The reality is that lenders are, and have been, ready and willing to lend, instead it’s would-be buyers who need that final nudge to make their move,” he said.
“Looking forward, with the election looming, we may finally see the cloud of uncertainty begin to lift – assuming there is a clear parliamentary majority.
“If this does happen, we could see a spike in demand as those who were holding off in recent years consider making their move in 2020. With their genuine appetite to lend, lenders will be gearing up to facilitate any increase in demand.”
However, some commentators were more encouraged that mortgage approvals provided by those same high street banking groups were also up on the same month last year.
Home purchases approvals were three per cent higher and remortgage approvals were 12.7 per cent higher, although agreements for other secured borrowing were 2.1 per cent lower.
Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, noted that there were some “incredible deals on the market to attract borrowers” and there had been an uplift in people taking advantage of these.
Andrews Property Group head of financial services Sam Harhat agreed that while Brexit concerns had increased significantly in October, buyers and homeowners were remaining level-headed.
And he added that first-time buyers were particularly active at present, aware of their window of opportunity.
“Activity levels aren’t off the scale but the property market is ticking over exceptionally well given the political environment we’re in,” he said.
“Remortgage activity remains particularly strong as people seek to lock into a lower rate before we leave the European Union, five-year fixes are proving especially popular as they offer a robust hedge in the medium term.
“Mortgage approvals are also up slightly, as Brexit makes prices more affordable and people, especially first-time buyers, make the most of the competitive rates available,” Harhat added.