Mortgage lending and consumer credit thriving

30 April 2004
March saw an increase on credit card borrowing, with the total up to £8.3 billion, and a step up in gross mortgage lending, to £15.9 billion.

The new figures come from British Bankers' Association and show March as a strong month, after the seasonal lull of February.

March's mortgage lending represented a 17 per cent increase on February's figure and up by almost £3 billion when compared with March 2003.

David Dooks, BBA director of statistics, noted: "New mortgage lending is returning to the levels seen in the second half of last year and looks likely to remain buoyant in the near term."

March's new borrowing on credit cards was higher than the previous peak of £8.2 billion in December, and new lending on personal loans and overdrafts, picked up from the seasonally low February figure.

Mr Dooks explained: "Though card repayment levels increased, credit card borrowing was strong, whilst lending through personal loans and overdrafts, relatively subdued of late, was also higher."

Additionally, last month's approvals of house purchase loans showed increased activity in the housing market. Figures were considerably higher than the same time last year: 34 per cent higher by number and 71 per cent by value - representing 269,300 loans approved, with a total value of £20.3 billion.