The Council of Mortgage Lenders says that gross mortgage lending was £220.3bn last year, up 8.3 per cent from 2014’s £203.3bn.
This makes 2015 the year with the highest annual gross lending since 2008, CML says.
Total mortgage lending for the fourth quarter of 2015 was around £62.3bn, a 23 per cent increase on the fourth quarter of 2014.
CML economist Mohammad Jamei says: “The low inflation environment, along with real wage growth, an improving labour market and competitive mortgage deals have all helped to underpin demand.
“Having said this, the upside potential looks limited over the near-term, as the supply of existing and new properties on the market remains weak, and affordability pressures weigh on activity. There is an added element of uncertainty as we wait to see the impact of tax changes on the buy-to-let sector.”
New Street Mortgages sales director Adrian Whittaker says: “In today’s competitive environment, the mortgage application process can often be a bottleneck, so advisers need to be confident that the lender they choose can deliver the speed of application their client needs.
“It’s crucial that as an industry we look to update systems and processes with the latest advances in technology. That way we can better serve borrowers with the fastest and most consistent approach to lending possible.”
Legal & General Mortgage Club director Jeremy Duncombe says: “2015 has been an exceedingly strong year for mortgage lending, and we expect favourable UK economic conditions to further drive demand in 2016.
“That said, the number of transactions has remained relatively flat throughout the year as a result of the lack of available housing stock for buyers. This is contrary to the increases we are seeing in lending, showing that this strong performance is being driven in part by escalating house prices as people are having to take out larger loans to secure a property.
“To solve this issue, more houses need to be built to create a more fluid and affordable housing market for prospective buyers.”