The UK mortgage market experienced a slowdown in December, with lending falling significantly from its record level of the month before, figures released by the British Bankers' Association revealed.
The BBA, which published its monthly report on lending by the major British banks yesterday, says that mortgage lending stood at £5.08bn in December, down from £5.8bn in November and £5.6bn in October. CML figures also showed a slight decrease in lending over December.
Steven Pitkeathley, executive director of the BBA, says: “Whether slower mortgage growth in December was because homebuyers were backing away from current property prices or whether equity withdrawal is moderating remains to be seen. One month's figures cannot be viewed reliably as a trend change.”
Elsewhere in the lending figures, borrowing on credit cards during December remained in line with previous months, increasing by £306m. However, other unsecured lending, including personal loans and overdrafts, soared by £851m – although the severity of this rise was mitigated somewhat by the fact that it followed November's rise of just £382m, the smallest since September 2000.
Pitkeathley adds: “It seems that in spite of some predictions, consumer borrowing, particularly on cards, didn't go overboard at Christmas, with people preferring to use cash or deposits for spending.”