Bank of England: Mortgage lending hits 2008 heights

Nia Williams

October 29, 2013

This is according to the latest figures from the Bank of England which show there were 66,735 mortgage approvals in September, the largest number since February 2008. This was up almost 34% on last year’s figures for the month.

Peter Williams, executive director of the IMLA, said: “The latest figures from the Bank of England reflect a strengthening market with mortgage lending increasing by £1billion in September and the number of mortgage approvals rising by 14.1%.

“It is interesting to note that remortgage loans have outpaced the growth in other sectors over the past month, with the number of approvals for remortgaging climbing from 35,178 to 33,023 in September. This shows that it is not just first-time buyers who are taking advantage of the current competitive rates.

“This continuing upward trend bodes well for the future, but lenders and brokers alike believe there is plenty still to come. The thirst to lend has been quenched with the return of consumer confidence. The Funding for Lending Scheme has played a significant part in this by improving the availability of mortgage credit and keeping mortgage rates consistently low.

“Help to Buy should help to sustain this momentum, but it is important to recognise that we are unlikely to see a return to what might be deemed a ‘normal market’ for another two to three years due to the extent of the downturn.

“The government and industry both need to keep this in mind and work together as we move towards the formation of a sustainable market.”

CML director general Paul Smee is also positive about the future: “Today’s Bank of England figures show the housing market recovery continued in September, with the strongest level of gross lending since October 2008. While house purchase approvals are still only running at half their peak level, the figures suggest market recovery will continue as we move towards the final months of 2013.”

Paul Hunt, managing director of Phoebus Software, agrees: “The economy is gaining strength and momentum is building as banks lower rates and reach out to help new buyers and home-movers.

“The growing strength supporting house prices means that the property market is on the road to recovery.”

However Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, does make the point that there are regional differences in the recovery. “While home approvals – and house prices – are racing ahead,” he said, “the recovery in lending is yet to spread nationwide.

“It is still being pegged back in many areas outside of London and the South East, where the job market is slowly recovering, and the cost of living is still high.

“Many buyers are yet to feel the benefits of the lending recovery and are still struggling to re-build their household finances.

“The government must focus on giving these buyers a helping hand, by helping their local economies recover, rather than get carried away with headline recovery statistics.”

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