Mortgage lending sticks to upward path

Tim Wallace
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MORTGAGE lending has increased for the seventh consecutive month, on a year-on-year basis, new figures showed yesterday.

Gross lending stood at £10.7bn, up slightly from £10.65bn in January and 14 per cent higher than the £9.4bn last February, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) revealed yesterday.

That is lower than the £12.22bn in December and £13.23bn in November, but the CML puts that down to the usual seasonal decline in the New Year, and highlights the continued annual growth.

“Although a seasonal decline is expected over the winter months, our forward estimates suggest that February was the seventh month in a row of higher year-on-year lending,” said the group’s Bob Pannell.

“This indicates that lending for house purchase remains brisk in advance of the ending of the stamp duty concession.

“The launch of the NewBuy scheme is an important addition to lenders’ toolkit in addressing the various needs of would-be borrowers. The scheme has the potential to offset the dip in first-time buyer activity that the end of the stamp duty concession on 24 March may produce.”

Mortgage lending over 2011 stood at £140.72bn, up from £135.34bn in 2010 but well down on the pre-crisis £362.76bn registered by banks and building societies at the end of the boom in 2007.

On a quarterly basis, the highest lending since the crisis came in the three months to December last year, when mortgage lending stood at £39.24bn.