The British Bankers Association has revealed that December’s gross mortgage lending was £18.1bn, 7% more than the £16.9bn in December 2005.
In line with seasonal patterns, this total was well down on November’s record of £21.4bn.
There were 123,518 mortgage approvals for all purposes in December, with an aggregate value of £13.4bn.
The average loan approved for house purchase was £146,400, some 9% higher than a year earlier.
Underlying net mortgage lending (gross lending minus repayments and redemptions) rose by £5.8bn, in line with the recent average, compared with November’s record increase of £6.7bn.
The outstanding level of mortgage lending grew by around 14% in 2006.
Credit card borrowing fell by £0.3bn in the month and over the year overall consumer credit grew by only 2%.
David Dooks, director of statistics at the BBA, says: “The final quarter of last year, despite seasonally lower activity in December, showed the mortgage market to be stronger than at the same time a year earlier and lending still growing significantly at a time of rising interest rates.
“The annual growth in consumer credit, at only 2%, is low by historical comparison and, although strong Christmas sales have been reported, our December figures suggest that spending was not fuelled by more borrowing on credit cards.”