Gross lending up 1%

Gross mortgage lending among the major high-street banking groups grew 1 per cent between January and February, according to figures from the British Bankers’ Association.

In January, the six major high street banking groups advanced £7.7bn to borrowers, which increased to £7.8bn in February. The figure is also 1 per cent higher than the previous six month average of £7.7bn.

While gross lending was up slightly, net lending was -£0.1bn in February, a slight improvement on -£0.4bn in January.

The value of mortgage approvals fell over the same period, down 3 per cent from £7.3bn in January to £7.1bn. The six month average for approval figures was £7.8bn.

The number of mortgage approvals was also in decline, down 2 per cent from 56,595 to 55,399 and well below the six month average of 60,958.

Of the 55,399 approvals, 30,506 were for house purchase, 15,980 were for remortgaging and 8,914 were for other secured borrowing, compared with a respective 31,983, 15,184 and 10,628 in January.

Mortgage Advice Bureau head of lending Brian Murphy says: “Offering incentivised funding for banks to draw on, as the Government is doing, is only part of the solution. For the time being there has been little change in lenders’ criteria, and extra lending has largely focused on people who had access in the first place.”