BBA reveals steady mortgage market

Amanda Jarvis

March 28, 2006

Following last week’s release of MBBG net lending figures for February, further information now available on lending to individuals shows that:

* February’s gross lending of £14.0bn was the highest February total on record, 18% above the February 2005 figure and 4% above the total in February two years ago.
* Seasonally adjusted net mortgage lending (gross lending minus repayments and redemptions) rose by £4.4bn, compared with £4.6bn in January, £4.8bn in February 2005 and an average of £4.8bn over recent months.
* There were 166,526 mortgage approvals (for all purposes) in February, with a total value of £15.8bn. The number of approvals was 19% higher than in January, and 5% higher than in February 2005. The average approval for house purchase rose in February, to £132,300.
* Net lending on loans and overdrafts rose by £0.5bn in February compared with £0.6bn in January, above the average of the previous six months (+£0.4bn), whilst net lending on credit cards rose by £0.2bn, in line with the average increase.

David Dooks, BBA director of statistics, said:
“The comparative weakness of the mortgage market in the first half of last year means that current indicators of activity, ie gross lending and approvals, are much stronger than they were twelve months earlier when the housing market was somewhat subdued, but they are by no means yet approaching the levels of activity seen in 2004.

Within consumer credit, card borrowing continues to be modest by historical standards, in line with current sentiment in the High Street, though there is moderate, stable demand for personal loans and overdrafts.”

Mortgage Lending

* February’s gross lending of £14,028mn was 3% lower than January’s total of £14,515mn. However this was 18% higher than the low £11,938mn in February 2005, and also above the £13,538mn in February 2004.
* Seasonally adjusted net mortgage lending rose by £4,416mn, compared with £4,580mn in January. The increase in February was slightly weaker than the average of +£4,802mn in the previous six months, the annual growth rate is just over 12%.
* Compared to the same month a year earlier, February’s approvals of house purchase loans were 22% higher by number and 31% higher by value; remortgaging loans were 5% higher by number and 16% higher by value; however equity withdrawal loans were 10% lower by number and 6% lower by value.

Consumer Credit

* New borrowing on credit cards totalled £6,723mn in February. This was 14% lower than the previous month and after seasonal adjustment, the increase in net lending of £183mn compared with a recent average increase of +£173mn.
* New lending on personal loans and overdrafts was lower than the average for the previous six months (+£2,975mn), at £2,609mn and after seasonal adjustment, net lending showed an increase of £498mn compared with a recent average of £384mn.

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