Mortgage lending hit a nine-month high in December

 
Helen Cahill
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Central London House Prices Set To Fall Post-Brexit
The housing market remained healthy last year, despite property tax changes and the Brexit vote (Source: Getty)

Mortgage approvals hit a nine-month high in December, and overall in 2016, gross mortgage lending increased 12 per cent.

Figures from the British Bankers Association show that gross mortgage borrowing increased by 3.6 per cent year-on-year in December, reaching £12.6bn, with remortgaging approvals jumping 30 per cent to their highest level since October 2008.

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And, over the year as a whole, gross mortgage lending climbed 12 per cent year-on-year to £246bn, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), the highest figure for any year since 2008.

CML senior economist Mohammad Jamei said the housing market had ended the year "on a positive note" but that the shortage of housing stock remained a threat to mortgage lenders.

"Approvals for house purchases have recovered strongly of late, and this should feed through to lending figures in the early months of 2017," Jamei said. "The current availability of mortgage credit is benign, and the real issue continues to be a dearth of properties on the market, which adds to the challenges facing would-be buyers."

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The news comes after figures from HM Revenue and Customs showed that home sales remained resilient throughout 2016, despite uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the EU referendum, and higher taxes on buy to let properties.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist for IHS, said:

Housing market activity has been helped off the lows seen around August by the resilience of the economy since June's Brexit vote and the Bank of England cutting interest rates in August ...We suspect housing market activity and prices will come under increasing pressure in 2017.

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