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Mortgage lending improves slightly

Remortgage lending also increased in February, from 23,200 to 24,300 worth £2.9billion, a 5% increase in volume (no change in value) from January and up 3% by volume and down 3% by value from the same month last year.

The Bank of England’s large increase in remortgage approvals in early 2011 has not yet fed though to completions but is expected during the next few months.

Bob Pannell, CML chief economist, said: "The February fall in lending compared to last year was despite the fact that lending in the early months of 2010 was itself depressed following the end of the earlier stamp duty concession. But research suggests cash purchases have remained steady since the credit crunch, indicating that the housing market may be holding up better than the low mortgage lending levels suggest.

"We are likely to see a continuing increase in remortgage activity this year, especially if and when rate rises occur."

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