Doubts on mortgage revival

Figures claiming to show a resurgence in mortgage lending have been met with caution by conveyancing lawyers.

The figures, released by the Building Society's Association last week, reveal an upturn in the total value of mortgage loans advanced by building soc- ieties in March this year. Gross advances were £3,242 million, compared to £2,531 million in February, with net advances to borrowers reaching their highest level since June 1995.

Gerald Funnell, chair of the Solicitors Property Group, said it was difficult to draw any sensible conclusion on the state of the market from the perspective of conveyancers.

He said: “The current position varies from one geographical area to another – there is no real logic. Some members of the group report an upturn in work whilst others still find work fairly short on the ground. The general market is a bit better than last year, but it would be difficult to conclude there is a general upturn.”

Funnell's caution was echoed by Brian Marson, senior partner at Bromley firm Marsons. He commented: “I am very cautious about a general improvement in the market. Any improvement must be viewed in the light of a very low start point and seasonal factors together with the fact that we currently have the lowest interest rates for 30 years.

“In my opinion there is still a great deal of uncertainty in the market.”