BBA: Gross mortgage lending rises 1% in February

Gross mortgage lending was up 1 per cent in February, up from £7.7bn in January to £7.8bn, according to figures from the British Bankers’ Association today.

The latest figure for February is also 1 per cent higher the recent monthly average of £7.7bn, which is measured over the previous six months.

BBA statistics director David Dooks says: “Bank continue to support household borrowers, providing almost £8bn of mortgage lending in February. But low interest rates allow homeowners more scope to increase payments on their mortgages and reduce the outstanding amount.”

The value of mortgage approvals fell over the same period, down 3 per cent from £7.3bn in January to £7.1bn. The six month average for approval figures was £7.8bn.

The number of mortgage approvals was also in decline, down 2 per cent from 56,595 to 55,399 and well below the six month average of 60,958.

The average approval value for house purchase rose 4 per cent from £144,600 to £150,500. Approvals for remortgage fell 9 per cent, from £142,500 to £129,200. The six month averages for both were £153,000 and £139,00, respectively.

Mortgage Advice Bureau head of lending Brian Murphy says: “It comes as no surprise that today’s BBA figures show remortgaging is propping up the total number and value of mortgage lending by the main High Street banks.  We saw 17 per cent more remortgaging applications in our network in February, compared with January, with borrowers also enjoying the highest remortgage LTV – 62.1 per cent – in over four years.

“But with 800 extra remortgage applications approved compared to the previous month, it is a worry that the total number of purchase mortgage approvals fell by nearly twice as much.  Offering incentivised funding for banks to draw on, as the Government is doing, is only part of the solution. For the time being there has been little change in lenders’ criteria, and extra lending has largely focused on people who had access in the first place.”