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Mortgage lending rises to highest level in a year

Mortgage lending rises to highest level in a year

LONDON: Underlying mortgage lending recorded a 5.1 billion-pound increase in November, the highest in more than a year, according to the British Bankers’ Association, emphasising that housing market is very much on its stabilisation path.

The increase is in line with details outlined in a report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which showed that house prices rose for the first time since July 2004 in the three months to November. It said its members saw the first overall rise in U.K. house prices in 15 months.

It said 4 per cent more members reported a rise than a fall in November. This is based on inquiries from buyers, which has risen for the sixth month in a row. RICS described this as the longest spell of rising inquiries since 2001.

BBA said the increase, highest since July 2004, compared with the growth of 4.3 billion pounds in October and the average 4.4 billion pounds over the last 6 months. The latest lending number too showed stronger mortgage approvals — the number of loans agreed but not yet made — which is an indicator of house prices.

BBA’s director of statistics, David Dooks felt the above average rise in mortgage lending rates is proof enough that the mortgage market was at its lowest in the summer and it is now on an climb-back.

The International Monetary Fund, which came out with data in its annual health check of the British industry, said risk of a sudden adjustment has lessened. IMF had earlier warned of the dangers posed by the static housing market.

The Building Societies Association, which carried out a study on the value of mortgage approvals, said approvals in November had gone up to 4.051 billion pounds compared with 4.148 billion in October. A year-earlier figure stood at 3.055 billion pounds.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders too came out with data saying the gross mortgage lending was 28.45 billion pounds in November, up from 26.99 billion pounds in October. The November figure indicated a 31 per cent increase over the year.

The council’s director-general, Michael Coogan, said the housing and mortgage markets have clearly strengthened from the lows of a year ago.

Earlier, Halifax too said house price inflation had gone up to nearly 5 per cent.

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