Mortgage lending rises by 5%

Gross mortgage lending rose by 5% to an estimated 28.5bn in November show the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

This was the second highest monthly lending figure on record, 1% lower than the 28.9bn of lending in July 2004, and 30% more than the 21.7bn of lending last November.

Lending activity usually slows down towards the end of the year, so November’s increase indicates a robust underlying picture. The strength in lending continues to reflect the recovery in housing market activity over the past year, supported by high levels of remortgaging.

Bank of England approvals figures show remortgaging activity to have been at record levels in recent months, driven by rising numbers of fixed-rate deals maturing and consumers therefore looking for a new deal.

Michael Coogan, director general at the CML, says: “The housing and mortgage markets have clearly strengthened significantly from the lows of a year ago. There have been upward trends in gross mortgage lending and approvals, and more stable house prices in recent months.

“While it could be tempting to assume this strengthening will continue, our expectation for the coming year is of relatively subdued transactions levels, mortgage lending moderating a little from recent levels, and house prices rising by about 2%. Affordability pressures will persist for first-time buyers and aspirational house-moving is likely to appear unattractive compared to home improvement.”