UK mortgage lending is (almost) at its highest level since April 2008

Emma Haslett
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Mortgage borrowing grew six per cent in August. (Source: Getty)

Mortgage lending rose to its second highest level since April 2008 in August, new figures have shown.

The figures, by UK Finance, showed total gross lending rose to £24.2bn in August, up 6.4 per cent from last month.

The figure is the highest since March 2016, when an impending hike to stamp duty on buy to let homes sent buyers into a frenzy, pushing transaction levels to a record high.

Before that, the last time mortgage lending rose above £24bn was in April 2008, when it hit £25.3bn - before rapidly declining as the financial crisis set in.

Read more: Mortgage approvals jump to 16-month high, Bank of England figures show

The number of mortgages approved for house purchase rose to 41,807 in August, stronger than the monthly average of 41,133 over the past six months and 11 per cent higher than the same time last year, UK Finance said.

Meanwhile, overall borrowing from banks slowed to 1.5 per cent in August, down from 1.9 per cent in July. That should come as good news to the Bank of England, which yesterday told UK lenders to add another £10bn buffer to cover consumer borrowing.

“Housing market activity is in Goldilocks territory, growing only modestly since the start of the year, though the mix of activity has shifted towards first-time buyers, away from buy-to-let and cash," said Mohammad Jamei, the senior economist at UK Finance.

“Despite resilience in consumer spending, annual growth in consumer credit has been slowing over the last few months.

"Across the UK some households have opted to save a little less, whilst others have not increased their borrowing. Meanwhile there has been growth in business deposits as non-financial companies hold cashflow and reserves amidst broader uncertainty in their trading conditions.”

Read more: Should we be worried about the rising popularity of 35-year mortgages?

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