Northern Rock profits climb 18%

Northern Rock has reported record pre-tax profits of £326m for 2002, an 18% increase on 2001.

Gross lending reached £14.1bn, an increase of 60% over 2001. Net lending was a record £8.2bn – an increase of 61%.

Northern Rock&#39s total share of UK net mortgage lending came to 9.2%.

The mortgage lender forecasts a quieter housing market for 2003, but does not expect any major downturn.

It says: “The economic fundamentals of low interest rates, low inflation, low unemployment and a very limited increase in the supply of new housing stock will continue to underpin the market.”