As we come to the end of 2016, all eyes are looking forward to next year and to the possibility that mortgage lending may experience a drop. That’s what the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has estimated will happen, per its most recent forecast for the year.

Expectations put forth a year ago have now been revised downwards, and in doing so, they estimate the market will see gross lending figures reaching £248 billion in 2017. This is gauged to go slightly higher, to £252 billion, in 2018.

Why have figures been adjusted down?

The main reason is said to be due to Brexit. More specifically, until it is known how the UK will leave the European Union and when this will take place, uncertainty is likely to be the keyword we will all hear more of. Last year at around this time, the CML predicted 2017 would see mortgage lending of around £261 next year. The figure has therefore been reduced by around £13 billion since that estimate was first given.

How could the housing market be affected by Brexit?

The director-general of the CML, Paul Smee, pointed out the housing market was ‘resilient’. He also said the market was ‘well-insulated’ from any effects stemming from the Brexit vote and the move to leave the European Union. However, it is not immune from general uncertainty regarding the economy. Some people may hesitate about moving depending on how things proceed with the economy next year.

What about house prices?

There isn’t expected to be a huge change in the level of house prices next year. there may be some conservative movement, but nothing significant either up or down. Indeed, Knight Frank has estimated house prices will continue the recent slowdown that has been seen, and that this will extend out across many regions.

Buy-to-let market also slowing down

The buy-to-let market is said to be muted next year too, owing to changes made by the government regarding the tax situation previously enjoyed by landlords. This has seen changes in the number of landlords buying new properties, as well as landlords ditching some of the properties they currently hold. The outcome of the governmental changes made is expected to continue through until 2018.

Therefore, any jump in the amount of lending granted to private homeowners and first-time buyers is likely to be tempered by the slowing down seen in the buy-to-let market.

Will Brexit have a huge effect on the housing market next year?

It is unlikely to have a major effect, since all properties looked at in the figures are in the UK anyway. However, the condition of the economy will have a far greater role to play, and may therefore have a knock-on effect on the estimates given above. For now, as 2016 comes to a close and people are thinking of things other than the housing market, it is time to reflect on what has been this year – and what is to come in 2017.

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