BBA statistics shows healthy mortgage activity

The British Bankers Association has revealed that Mays gross mortgage lending of 18.2bn was the highest on record at 18%.

This was above the outturn for the much shorter working month of April and 27% higher than May last year.

Seasonally adjusted underlying net mortgage lending (gross lending minus
repayments and redemptions) rose by 5.7bn, compared with 5.1bn in April,
4.3bn in May 2005 and an average of 5.1bn over recent months.

There were 201,506 mortgage approvals (for all purposes) in May, with a
total value of 21.2bn.

Comparisons with April are distorted, as approvals data are related to the number of working days in a month and there were 21 working days in May and only 18 in April, but the number of approvals was 8% higher than in May 2005.

The average approval for house purchase fell in May to 139,300, though still some 11% higher than a year earlier.

Net lending on loans and overdrafts rose by 0.7bn in May, compared with an
increase of 0.3bn in April and an average rise over the previous six months
of +0.3bn. In contrast, underlying net lending on credit cards fell by
0.3bn, having been flat on average in recent months.

David Dooks, director of statistics at BBA, says: Although numbers of approvals are still well below the levels of early 2004, the record level of gross lending and stronger net lending in May shows mortgage market activity to be healthy. And whilst Mays consumer credit data show an interchange of borrowing between credit cards and overdrafts, the increase in overall unsecured borrowing was in line with recent trends

New borrowing on credit cards totalled 7,682m in May. This was 16% higher than the previous month, but repayments outstripped spending and after seasonal adjustment, net lending fell by 251m, having been flat on average in recent months.

New lending on personal loans and overdrafts in May was stronger than of
late (overdrafts rising as Aprils end-month payments went through in May)
and after seasonal adjustment, net lending showed a rise by 699m, compared with a recent monthly average of +294m.