Mortgage market remains healthy
The positive figures, which showed a 22 per cent rise in lending compared with February 2005, were backed up by solid figures from the Building Societies Association (BSA) and also the British Banker’s Association (BBA).
The perspective of the three organisations was encouraging as February is often seen as the slowest month for the market.
The BBA reinforced the CML figures with its own data, stating net mortgage lending rose by £4.4bn during February.
Michael Coogan, director-general of the CML, commented: “The gross mortgage lending figure is the fourth record in consecutive months. Confidence in the housing market is strong and demand has returned to the levels we witnessed two years ago.”
However, one note of concern drawn from the data was the slight decline in the number of approvals, with the BSA noting that while February 2006 saw a rise on February 2005, with £3,646m compared to £3,394m, the figures were slightly down on January.
Brian Morris, head of savings at the BSA, commented: “While the market remains strong, indeed out-stripping some commentators expectations, a slowing number of loans agreed but not yet made could signal a slight moderation after a relatively buoyant Winter.”
David Jervis, general manager of business services at Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, concurred with the positive outlook.
“We’ve had a good start to the year and our gross lending is actually up by a third. We always tend to be busier over the first few months of the year but much of it is down to an attractive product range, especially our buy-to-let products. This has contributed to increased business levels and an overall positive start to the year.”