Gross mortgage lending was an estimated £17 billion in December, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
This matches November’s gross lending total, however, it is 49% higher than December 2012 (£11.4 billion) and the highest total for a December since 2007. This brings the estimated total for the year to £177 billion, up from £143 billion in 2012.
Gross lending for the fourth quarter of 2013 was therefore an estimated £52 billion. This represents a 5% increase on the third quarter of last year and a 38% increase on the fourth quarter of 2012 (£37 billion). This is the highest lending amount by quarter since quarter three of 2008.
Commenting on market conditions in this month’s Market Commentary, CML chief economist Bob Pannell observes:
“Short-term growth prospects for the housing market and the wider economy look very positive. Mortgage lending was stronger than we expected in the closing months of 2013, but lenders expect little if any boost to borrower demand this quarter.
“While some of these gains reflect government schemes, the rationale for the positive narrative is a much broader one, reflecting such factors as the improving economy and jobs market, consumer confidence and competitive mortgage deals”.
David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services, owners of Your Move and Reeds Rains, comments: “The property market is strengthening in tandem with a rapid rise in lending, in part thanks to growing consumer confidence now the economy has snapped back into shape. It is music to our ears that house purchase lending is up by half over the past year, with the December total reaching the loftiest height since before the crisis took hold. “Borrowing conditions have eased, which combined with a range of attractive mortgage deals, has caused flocks of buyers to dash back to the market. Lenders have been key, and clearly they are more willing to lend to high LTV borrowers, which in turn has led to a substantial rise in first-time buyer activity. “Schemes such as Help to Buy have provided solid foundations for further growth. But the grey cloud hanging above, is the lack of housing supply. Clearly a priority for the Government is house building and this is crucial to make sure the market recovery powers onwards and upwards at a sustainable rate, ensuring budding first-time buyers are not locked out.”
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